I recently had the good fortune of joining a group of Houston food bloggers on a trip to The Inn at Dos Brisas, a resort and restaurant in Washington County near Brenham. Our hosts were the owners, Doug and Jennifer Bosch.
Dos Brisas (“two breezes”) is distinguished by both a Mobil Five-Star rating and an admittance into the Relais & Chateaux association of luxury resorts. In addition to the accommodations (“casitas”) on the property, the dining room — helmed by Chef Jason Robinson — is known for dishes created with ingredients from the property’s own extensive produce gardens. The folks at Dos Brisas like to say they are not just a farm-to-table operation, they are literally a table-on-farm experience.
We were invited to a complimentary lunch on a weekday that showcased the produce grown on the farm. Except for one protein course (halibut), all of the dishes were made from fruits and vegetables from the Dos Brisas farm and garden. Wine/drink pairings were included. We also took a tour of the property and were tutored on the craft of cheesemaking (they make their own cheese too) by property manager Christopher Bates.
Below you will find a review of my experiences during our visit to Dos Brisas.
Upon arrival at Dos Brisas, the most overwhelming sensation you get is that of an attention to detail in everything around you — the grounds, the buildings, the service. The staff is imminently professional and experienced. This commitment to uncompromising detail and service is a credit to the owners who are obviously passionate about Dos Brisas. That passion comes through from the time you enter the gates of the property to the time you leave. For someone like myself who has been both an emplyee and a guest of some of the best resorts in the world, that passion and attention to detail is greatly appreciated.
After a meet-and-greet in the bar area, complete with Canapés and one of the best Bloody Marys I have ever had, we went on a tour of the grounds. Ranch manager and horticulturist Johnnie Boyd Baker provided an extensive overview of the farm and garden operations. Back in the main pavilion, we settled in for a multi-course lunch experience.
The first course was a garden tomato salad with micro arugula, housemade goat’s milk ricotta, and lemon essence. It was paired with a 2002 Lucien Crochet Sancerre wine. This dish proves the axiom that less is more — the perfectly fresh flavors of the sweet tomatoes combined with the slight bitterness of the arugula and the earthiness of the cheese was inspired.
The second course was organic risotto and corn balls, sweet basil purée, and remoulade. It was paired with a champagne: Krug NM, Brut, “Grande Cuvée.” Preparation was perfect on all levels, with a bit more complexity added with both the basil purée and the remoulade.
The third course was a roasted day boat halibut with poached rhubarb in a cucumber broth. It was paired with a specially concocted “Dos Brisas Cucumber Cocktail.” The cucumber broth itself was wonderfully restrained — not overseasoned — and worked well with the salty crust of the halibut. The sweet, mellow cucumber cocktail paired perfectly with the cucumber broth.
The fourth course was a summer squash tian and garden ratatouille with a balsamic dressing and elephant garlic emulsion. It was paired with a 1990 Joseph Biffar Riesling. Until this dish, I never knew a “vegetarian” dish could have such an incredible depth and complexity of flavor. If more “vegetarian” dishes tasted like this, there would be alot more vegetarians in the world. The wine, too, matched the dish in complexity. I had never tasted a riesling of this age, and it was a revelation.
I’ll make a brief aside and relate a discussion I had with Jennifer Bosch at about this time in the lunch. After I had commented on the complexity of the flavors, Jennifer mentioned a philosophy that she and Doug (as well as many of the best restaurants) aspire to. And that is within a given dining experience, the goal is to create a sense of increasing complexity and interest so that towards the end of the meal there is a sense of building intensity and climax. The lunch we had a Dos Brisas captured this idea perfectly, and was one more example of the attention to detail practiced here.
The dessert course was a dish of eggplant beignets, eggplant cardamom ice cream, caramel, and lavender foam. It was paired with a 2005 Kerpen Riesling. Again the execution was suberb. It was a light, refreshing end to the meal.
After lunch we got a cheesemaking tutorial (including a tasting), a tour of the world-class wine vault, and finally a visit to one of the casitas.
A stay at The Inn at Dos Brisas is not inexpensive — averaging about $600 a night. You can, of course, just come for dinner. Even with the cost in mind, I can wholeheartedly recommend a stay at Dos Brisas. The uncompromising quality of the food and the service, the attention to detail, not to mention the beautiful countryside around Brenham, make Dos Brisas a great destination for a special getaway weekend or a special event.
The Inn at Dos Brisas
10000 Champion Drive
Washington, Texas 77880