A soufflé is not heavy. In fact, it is impossibly light. The dish’s primary ingredient, a simple base of egg whites that have been whipped to a soft peak, belies the actual knowledge and exactitude involved in creating these little masterpieces, says Jack Giegerich, general manager of Rise Soufflé in The Woodlands. Ingredients must be combined at the correct temperature, says Jack, and the ramekins in which the soufflés are baked and served are another crucial component. The ones used at Rise are custom-made, as are the ovens, which are imported from France.
The precision of the entire soufflé-baking endeavor is on display every day in the restaurant’s “kitchen theater” which gives patrons a full view. Under the keen eye of Executive Chef Cameron Achee, the action is fluid and seamless, as bevies of individual soufflés go into and out of the ovens, then head to the tables of eagerly waiting guests.
Savory soufflé options at Rise offer something for every taste. Among them, a delicate crab soufflé, hearty ham and Gruyère, and an escargot soufflé, whose rich, garlicky broth mingles with the billowy, eggy exterior in tantalizing ways. Other creative takes include southwestern chicken, herb and spicy sausage, and corn and serrano iterations. Outside of the soufflé realm, the menu includes French bistro classics like house-smoked salmon, salad Nicoise with seared Ahi tuna, and steak with roasted fingerling potatoes and haricot vert.
The wine menu features domestic favorites and a well-curated selection of French offerings that will lure the uninitiated to experiment. Flights of French red, white, and sparkling wines serve as a gateway to choosing just the right bottle.
For dessert, a seasonal fruit soufflé is an excellent choice, as is a classic chocolate or Grand Marnier. The bread pudding soufflé gives the version served at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans a run for its money. Or try the crème brulée—its crisp outer shell and creamy interior pair well with a freshly pulled espresso.
The restaurant’s interior is filled with pieces imported from Europe, thoughtfully curated down to the cloth napkins and antique silverware. Dimly lit with softly twinkling lights, the rounded walls and bar are intentionally designed with no sharp edges. The spacious, enclosed patio looks out onto a dense thicket of trees, an “oh-so-Woodlands-y” view that convinced Rise CEO Chris Florczak the location in Creekside Park West was just the spot. “We want our guests to stay awhile, to experience the atmosphere of a leisurely French bistro, not stuffy or formal.”
And as to the big soufflé question: Spoon or fork? Either, says Jack. “Whatever is most effective for you in picking up every bit of flavor!”
“We want our guests to stay awhile, to experience the atmosphere of a leisurely French bistro, not stuffy or formal.”