The place isn't taking reservations right now. We showed up at 6:00 and put our name on the list and were told there was an hour wait. They use an app that texts you when your table is ready and where you can track how many groups are ahead of you to be seated. There were 24 groups ahead of us; the restaurant, I later learned, only seats 56. So we were in for a long wait.
We made the most of our wait time for the first hour by sitting in the car and entertaining ourselves with smartphones. At 7:00, we joined those waiting outside, most of whom had been waiting longer than we had. They started asking the hostesses what was going on and were told that people were lingering over their tables and not moving out as fast as they expected. I think there were 16 tables in front of us. A lot of people left in a hurry, even though everyone walking out of the restaurant said it was awesome. I think the owners could have cultivated a ton of goodwill by bringing out coffee, pizza samples, something for those waiting longer than the estimated wait time. It was cold and there was no room in the tiny restaurant for everyone to stand. They have yet to get their liquor license, so it was currently BYOB and most people finished their wine before they were seated.
Outside the restaurant
We got more and more agitated but kept moving up the line and were seated at 7:45. When we were seated, the waiter said that there was a liquor store three blocks up if we wanted to go buy wine.... ummm, that would have been great for the hostesses to share with us when we first got on the list, and in my subsequent check on our status. We were not going to wait to eat any longer. So, FYI Houston friends who may try it out, go three blocks farther down White Oak and you can get some wine... I also learned that there is a bar in that same direction that is perfect for waiting at. The things I wish I had known going in.
So then it was time for food. I thought the portions were great for the price! The plates are meant for sharing, which seems to be a newer trend in food that I'm a huge fan of. Andrew and I aren't shy about germs and we normally end up sharing most meals, so to be in a place where that's encouraged just makes it easier. There are snack options to start off with. We got picked vegetables, including broccoli, celery (the best part), carrots, and jalapeños, which we both really liked. The (raw) radishes with housemade butter and Galveston sea salt was highly recommended, so we got that, too. I think I just don't care for whole raw radishes because I didn't get this at all. Andrew loved it. The butter was pretty amazing, though - I ended up spreading it on my pizza crust because I loved it so much. So Cultivare, if you're listening, please make a bread plate to go with that fantastic butter.
One cool thing about Revival Market that has spread to Coltivare is the use of local ingredients. Coltivare has its own garden where it will grow much of its produce and sources things that are local and in-season. We had a shaved fennel citrus salad which was huge and one of our favorite parts of the night. It had avocado, oranges, and grapefruit, the perfect amount of dressing, and some spice from chili peppers. Andrew said it was his favorite of the night.
The sea salt and butter that went with the radishes (no pic of those) and the pickled veggies | the fennel salad - yum.
The heavier part of our meal came from a meyer lemon, goat cheese, and olive pizza. I picked off the olives, but I still liked the pizza. Lemon on a pizza was a new thing, but I liked the tartness and the thin lemon slices that you could eat, rind and all. A lot of people, my husband included, think that the crust is too thick, but I really liked it. However, it might have been better suited for a more traditionally topped pizza. The toppings on this were high-quality and therefore more sparse than what you get at Pizza Hut. We also got ricotta gnocchi, which combines two of my favorite things (cheese and potatoes), so I loved it. Perfect texture, just enough cheese. A little goes a long way, though, and I was happy to be able to share it. It was really rich and filling. Not to ignore our veggies, we did order some sautéed greens. To me, the greens were a little grassy and tasted like vegetables. I like it when my vegetables taste good and not healthy. Andrew liked them, though, so it was probably just me.
The pizza | Yummy Gnocchi | The Greens (the lighting was great for atmosphere, not the best for iPhone pics)
Overall, I would go back to Coltivare. The place is very small, casual, and good for a group of four or less. I don't think I would recommend waiting over an hour for it; it wasn't life-changing, but at least it was good and I didn't feel like our time was wasted. My advice? Wait until the hype dies down. If they still aren't taking reservations, go somewhere nearby for a drink (or two). Definitely check it out, but be smarter than I was and have a plan!