Black Walnut Cafe is a very popular dining spot in The Woodlands and we arrived just before the after-work dinner rush. The atmosphere was calm when we arrived but had become quite busy before we left with a steady flow of patrons lining up at the counter eager to place their order(s). If you have not yet eaten at Black Walnut, be sure to put them on your list. Grab a menu by the front door and head past the bar and you will find the service counter where you can order breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
The Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad ($12) was the perfect blend of every flavor I was looking for in my dinner that night. Starting with the grilled, marinated chicken breast, which had nice blackened areas from the grill - yet was still moist and tender. The tomatoes, cucumbers, and sweet bell peppers were crisp and fresh, lending a colorful palette for my palate. The julienne green apples were about the only let-down, as I'd wished they'd been crisp as well and not softened and saturated by the balsamic pesto dressing. But the balsamic pesto dressing had a wonderful rich blend of flavors that complemented everything in the salad and it was enhanced by the Marie cheese and goat cheese. I even felt the toasted almonds went along perfect in the bowtie pasta salad, and I'm not usually one for nuts in my food. The portion was easily enough for two meals, and I kept the leftovers for lunch the next day.
Anderson’s ’Bout Time ($9.50) is a tasty sandwich comprised of a grilled chicken breast, swiss cheese, avocado slices, tomatoes, red onions, alfalfa sprouts and cucumbers served open face on a wheat bun. It was little on the dry side, but not so much that you need a drink after every bite, though a light perky dressing would likely do it no harm at all. The bun was toasted (no mention of that on the menu) and was actually a bit crisper than I would have preferred; come to think of it, not toasted at all might be nice. All of that aside, the chicken breast was moist and tender with just enough spice to blend with natural flavors of the meat and vegetables. The fries were nothing special, thick cut, skin-on, fluffy potatoes with a dash of seasoned salt. The only thing I would ask to be different would be to have the veggies served cold rather than warm from what I suppose was due to the plate sitting under a heat lamp before being ready for pick up. For example, cold crisp lettuce and tomato can result in an explosion of flavors when added to a hot juicy burger.
For dessert, Scott offered us our choice of several cakes and a variety of gelato flavors; but keeping with trying things we hadn't tried before, we went with the Hummingbird Cake.
If you've never had hummingbird cake, you do not know what you're missing. The hummingbird cake served by The Black Walnut is this fantastic cross between light and fluffy banana bread and hints of spice cake, infused with small chunks of pineapple, all perfectly held together under a rich but not-too-rich coating of cream cheese frosting and topped with a single pecan. Oh, and there were pecan bits in the cake, too. Not that I minded. Again.
What do you think? Did we get it wrong or did we get it right? Let us know in the comments below. And remember, you don't have to take our word for it - give Black Walnut Cafe a try and decide for yourself! Maybe we will see you there as we plan to return to Black Walnut Cafe.
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