Something Different in the Woodlands - Ambience International Grill

April 27, 2009

We'd observed a new place going in along I-45 across from the the Woodlands Mall. It was named Ambience... and we had no idea what it was. One Saturday we ventured in, and discovered a new, family-run restaurant and lounge.

Upon entering, we found a lovely setting. Dark yet inviting, the interior was totally redone from the location's previous incarnation. As you enter, on the right is a large lounge area, with lots of leather seating and a full-service bar.

Further back is the dining room. We were seated promptly, and soaked up the vibe of the place. It feels more like a nightclub than a restaurant; there's a second bar on one side of the room, and the blacked out roof, sound system, and mood lighting add to that, um, ambience.

Our server appeared with the menu, and we were surprised... in a good way. A nice selection of international sandwiches and wraps, as well as an eclectic set of entrees - Asian, South American, Mexican, Italian, and American. Prices were good: Entrees are in the $9-11 range, and lighter dishes like sandwiches ranged from $6 to $8.

We tried the Argentinean Chimmichurri Mini Burgers. Instead of the traditional ground beef slider, ours featured marinated and grilled fajita meat, swiss cheese, grilled onions, a bit of lettuce, and housemade chimmichurri sauce. The result was delicious; a multicultural kaleidoscope of flavor. We opted for the yucca fries, a light and healthy alternative to the traditional french fries, and used them to sop up every drop of the chimmichurri sauce.

Our companion tried the empanadas. Ground beef, delicately seasoned and wrapped in a pastry shell, these were among the best we've tried. The side of housemade onion rings were a good accompanyment; the batter was light, crisp, and slightly sweet.

Service was prompt, professional and friendly.

We didn't partake (since it was lunchtime) but Ambience offers live music or a DJ on weekends, and they rearrange the tables to allow for dancing. Dinner and dancing is a tradition that we miss, and we think they've got a great concept for the Woodlands area.

Combine the excellent and varied cuisine, great service, a nice room, and very reasonable prices, and Ambience is a winner. We're looking forward to returning soon.

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