Jump to content


Photo

Where to Dine Now in Houston


  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 Evelyn

Evelyn

    Advanced Member

  • Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 5,987 posts

Posted 17 April 2016 - 11:52 PM

Since there doesn't seem to be a consolidated Where to Dine Now in Houston thread like there is for other cities, I thought I'd start one so it would be easier to see what's new (or established and still worth a visit) in one place. 

 

I spent a week in Houston for the Shell Open and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Meetings and Final Four which conveniently occurred the same week. There were a number of places I wanted to try. But between my schedule, the location of our hotel (near the golf course-at best about a 25 minute drive to downtown) and the large volume of ‘visitors’ my options were somewhat limited. Overall I still ate quite well. I won’t bother with the ‘grab a bite anywhere to avoid starvation’ meals,

 

The Pass & Provisions-I dined in the Provisions (more casual) portion of the restaurant. Started with an excellent cocktail. The Jean Lafite- aged rum/ PX sherry/allspice dram/lime. Followed with 6 raw Beausoliel oysters (excellent). An oven roasted octopus salad, which was gorgeously plated. But unfortunately the octopus had been overcooked to the point of being dry and tough. Followed by an excellent pasta dish-Cresta de Gallo, Hen of the Woods Mushrooms, Roasted Yeast and Parmesan. A very large portion of perfectly cooked pasta, lots of mushrooms and a load of umami.

 

State of Grace-Another good cocktail to start. The La Parilla- reposado tequila/blistered serrano infusion/triple sec/grilled lime/smoked salt, mescal float on the rocks. The restaurant has an oyster bar with a large selection of oysters and seafood in addition to the main dining area. I would have loved to give their oyster happy hour a go. I settled for 6 excellent Southern Pearl oysters (Bayou La Batre, AL) served with fresh grated horseradish. Followed by an order of light and fluffy Crawfish Hushpuppies sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with cane syrup butter. I wish I could’ve finished them all. But I succumbed to the siren call of the crawfish tail and spring pea risotto. An excellent rendition.

 

Caracol-Best Mexican food I’ve had in ages. They specialize in Mexican Coastal cuisine. Two meals here because it was convenient to the NCAA meetings. One brunch and one dinner. Excellent cocktails. An Ocean Between rye/reposado mescal/XTA anise liqueur/bitters/grapefruit peel. Past the Heather tequila anejo/Balcones rumble/Drambuie/orange bitters/preserved fig. This one was a tad sweet for me. But still a good cocktail. Dinner-Started with wood roasted Gulf oysters with chipotle butter and bread crumbs. They arrived in atop rock salt in a gorgeous pewter dish. We were warned the dish was VERY hot. It was. I hit a knuckle on it and was rewarded with a nice blister. The oysters were plump, perfectly cooked and very tasty. I could’ve eaten a dozen all by myself. But there were plenty of other items on the menu that tempted me. Next up Pulpo Almendrado Spanish octopus, almonds, purslane-herb salad, heart of palm, tomatoes, fish cracklings. Stellar presentation. Perfectly cooked octopus nestled in the lightly dressed salad. Next, Ceviche Caracol-conch, pineapple, ginger, jalapeno. Another gorgeous plated presentation. The ceviche perfectly balanced and tender. Excellent. And for dessert-Plantanitos Flameados- rum flambéed Dominican baby bananas, crème fraiche, rompope, Mexican vanilla ice cream. Outstanding. I finished the whole thing. Something I very rarely do when it comes to desserts. On to brunch. Another order of oysters. Excellent again. Campechana Estilo DF- shrimp, crab, octopus, tomato, serrano chile, cilantro, Mexico City style. Excellent seafood “cocktail”. Ensalada de Pulpo- Spanish octopus salad, roasted potato, carrot, celery leaves, pumpkin seed dressing. Again, perfectly cooked octopus. Beautiful greens and vegetables with a well-balanced, flavorful dressing lightly applied. They brought us an alcohol coffee drink for ‘dessert’ which was outstanding. Unfortunately, I didn’t get all the details as I had to step away from the table to answer a call as the drinks were delivered. I do know it was espresso based with condensed milk and a Mexican liqueur. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the service was outstanding even though the restaurant was packed during both visits.

 

 

One more to come....



#2 Peter Creasey

Peter Creasey

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,913 posts

Posted 18 April 2016 - 12:59 AM

You hit some of the "hot" venues.  Otherwise, several world-class venues in The City and a wide diversity of excellent other offerings also!


_________________
. . . . . . . . . . . . . Pete/Houston
SOAC . . .
. . "for the discreet and refined enjoyment of uncommon wine . .
. . . . and victuals and the companionship accruing thereto" . . . .

#3 Suzanne F

Suzanne F

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 21,903 posts

Posted 18 April 2016 - 01:15 AM

Jealous of all the oysters. sigh.


I don't actually know what a handbasket is -- but whatever they are, singer-songwriters are in the first ones going to hell. -- Sneakeater, 29 March 2018 - 12:06 AM

 

notorious stickler -- NY Times
deeply annoying and nitpicking -- Molly O'Neill, One Big Table


#4 Peter Creasey

Peter Creasey

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,913 posts

Posted 18 April 2016 - 01:48 AM

Oysters from local sources are now out of season.  Reportedly, the oyster beds near Louisiana are closed due to red tide.  Otherwise, local oysters are not up to par due to the now warmer weather.

 

Local oysters will not be really viable until Fall when the weather turns colder again.


_________________
. . . . . . . . . . . . . Pete/Houston
SOAC . . .
. . "for the discreet and refined enjoyment of uncommon wine . .
. . . . and victuals and the companionship accruing thereto" . . . .

#5 Steven Dilley

Steven Dilley

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,015 posts

Posted 19 April 2016 - 02:27 AM

Glad to hear you ate well!  I've only had lunch at Caracol but hope to return soon.  I think you'd enjoy Oxheart, though I know it didn't fit in with the trip.


Say what you will about the ten commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them.

--H.L.Mencken


.............................
Sissies and wastoids

#6 Evelyn

Evelyn

    Advanced Member

  • Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 5,987 posts

Posted 19 April 2016 - 02:36 AM

Thank you for your guidance  :) . I would like to have gone to Oxheart. I also wanted to try the Houston Uchi. But this trip was intense with having to deal with both golf and basketball obligations (and with Houston traffic  :angry:) . I was worn out by the time the week was over.



#7 Sneakeater

Sneakeater

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 60,637 posts

Posted 19 April 2016 - 05:08 AM

Oysters from local sources are now out of season.  Reportedly, the oyster beds near Louisiana are closed due to red tide.  Otherwise, local oysters are not up to par due to the now warmer weather.

 

Local oysters will not be really viable until Fall when the weather turns colder again.

 

It really upsets me that people here in NYC have lost all sense of seasons for oysters.  If anything, oysters are MORE popular here during the summer.

 

But they're detectably worse.  And no one seems to care.


Bar Loser

MF Old

#8 Sneakeater

Sneakeater

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 60,637 posts

Posted 19 April 2016 - 05:12 AM

I went to a "visiting chef" dinner that Justin Yu of Oxheart did in New York once, and some of the food was just stunning.


Bar Loser

MF Old

#9 Steven Dilley

Steven Dilley

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,015 posts

Posted 19 April 2016 - 05:58 AM

It's an easy trip, as you know.  Menil, Rothko Chapel, bunch of cool bars, Oxheart, and you're home the next day.

 

Also worth checking out: Public Services (wine, sherry, spirits), Mala (Justin Vann of Public Services--also buys for Oxheart--runs the fun list), Blacksmith, Camerata, Killen's BBQ (not been but I trust the hype), Pastry War, Pappas Steak (for the ridiculous wine list), and a handful of new things I haven't had a chance to check out.


Say what you will about the ten commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them.

--H.L.Mencken


.............................
Sissies and wastoids

#10 Peter Creasey

Peter Creasey

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,913 posts

Posted 19 April 2016 - 02:17 PM

Some that come to mind are Kiran (click for link to dinner report), Tony's, DaMarco, Artisan, Mark's, Reef (but it's noisy), RDG, Pasha, and others.
 


_________________
. . . . . . . . . . . . . Pete/Houston
SOAC . . .
. . "for the discreet and refined enjoyment of uncommon wine . .
. . . . and victuals and the companionship accruing thereto" . . . .

#11 Nathan

Nathan

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 6,962 posts

Posted 19 April 2016 - 03:23 PM

Anvil.


Blatantly Obvious Disclaimer:

My opinions are obviously my personal opinions. Not yours. Not universal.


#12 Evelyn

Evelyn

    Advanced Member

  • Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 5,987 posts

Posted 07 April 2017 - 01:06 AM

Another week in Houston for the Shell Houston Open.

 

Great meals at:

Caracol

B & B Butcher

State of Grace

Bosscat Kitchen (excellent cocktails and bourbon list)

 

Not so great:

Kitchen 713



#13 SLBunge

SLBunge

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 4,167 posts

Posted 24 April 2018 - 03:30 PM

Really great Viet-Cajun meal at Crawfish and Noodles at essentially Bellaire and the Beltway. Expertly fried shrimp and blue crab. And very good crawfish.

 

Previous trip two weeks ago had us at Kiran's which was sort of underwhelming for all of the pomp and circumstance. I have very fond memories of meals when she was cooking at Ashiana and I think her cooking was quite a bit more creative and satisfying. I think that appealing to the high-end neighborhood and the prices on the wine list tie must tie her down too much.


Suffocating under a pile of cheese curds.