Pâtisserie meets Bay Area-style bakery in Montrose’s Common Bond, which is not, as I initially thought, some sort of dentist collective. The brainchild of superstar chef Roy Shvartzapel of famed elBulli restaurant, this very recently opened sweet confections and savory comestibles shop and café brings new life to a part of Westheimer thus far dominated by garish antique shops.

Walking into Common Bond one is immediately dazzled by the luminous cases filled with carefully arranged pastries, cakes, and cookies. This bold lighting makes the set-up seem more like a museum exhibit, but remember, you can eat what’s on display. (Not for sale, unfortunately, are the 99+ ceramic milk bottles lining the walls.) Equally bright is the airy eating space illuminated almost entirely by sunshine that pours through the floor-to-ceiling windows and reflects off the sparkling juice press and espresso machines.

Brunch and lunch are already bringing in very large crowds to Common Bond, so don’t be surprised if the line stretches out the door even when it’s raining. What’s the draw? So, so much. First, their voluminous flaky croissants whose buttery strata only improve with a smear of house-made jams for sale by the jar in varieties such as caramelized banana, blood orange, and blackberry thyme. Not to be missed are also the delicate macarons, whose playful flavors include passion fruit, pistachio, and peanut butter and jelly, or the hefty chocolate chunk cookies, arguably the best in Houston. Early risers will appreciate the breakfast/brunch selections, such as the biscuits and gravy, pesto scrambled eggs, and artful coffee drinks. Post matutinal offerings, lunch plates, like the sweet-briny battered soft shell crab po’boy dressed with pickles and remoulade and served on a buttered bun or the fontina and mozzarella grilled cheese on thick cut sourdough toast, are also delicious and dazzlingly executed.

Freshly squeezed juice and wine on offer to pair with your meal and those libations, in combination with the feel-good food and sweets, means Common Bond can just verge on raucous in the early afternoon hours when the dining room is flooded by families and employees on lunch break. So, skip Common Bond, at least for now, if you desire quiet solitude or a clandestine tête-a-tête.

Every time I’ve visited Common Bond, I’ve noticed that many patrons pick up an assortment of baked goods to go but then linger at the counters or communal tables over their lunch or breakfast offerings. If your pockets are deep enough, for indeed, Common Bond, is not inexpensive, I suggest you follow their lead.

Common Bond
1706 Westheimer Rd Houston, TX 77098

Joanna O'Leary


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