Friends, Houston Restaurant Weeks’ website is officially live! This time of year is always so exciting. Houston offers an array of dining experiences that will satisfy your inner foodie…but where do you start? We are so fortunate to live in such a large city where the options are endless.
Houston Restaurant Weeks is the perfect way to experience all that this amazing city has to offer in the culinary arts. The best part of it all? You can try out unique fixed menus while benefiting an amazing cause…Houston Restaurant Weeks (HRW).
Organized by TV and radio host Cleverley Stone, the month-long dining event, which runs from August 1 until September 30th, features over 250 participating restaurants that run special two and three-course menus at set price points of $20 (lunch), $22 (brunch), and either $35 or $45 (dinner). Each meal contributes a set donation of between $3 and $7 to the Houston Food Bank.
All those meals add up. Last year’s event raised just over $2 million to feed [the hungry] in the Houston area, and the event has raised over $9.6 million since 2003. The event is a win for restaurants that have turned one of the year’s slowest months into one of their busiest, a win for diners who get to try some of the city’s most popular establishments at a discount, and a win for the Food Bank.
Here are a few of our top picks!
Neighborhood Hot Spot:
Coltivare, 3320 White Oak
The Italian-inspired restaurant that took home both Restaurant of the Year and Chef of the Year in the CultureMap Tastemaker Awards makes it HRW debut with a compelling, three-course, $35 menu. To start, choose from either two small snack/salumi plates (arancini, eggplant dip, pork terrine, etc.) or a more substantial appetizer or salad (chicken wings, fried cauliflower, grilled figs with prosciutto, etc.).
Entree options include six different pizzas, five pastas — including the signature black pepper spaghetti — and three dishes (mussels, eggplant parmesan, or roast chicken). Finish with one of three desserts. Since Coltivare doesn’t take reservations, diners should plan to arrive either early or late to minimize their wait times.
Xochi, 1777 Walker
Hugo Ortega’s Oaxacan restaurant in downtown’s Marriot Marquis hotel may not be the concept that won him a James Beard Award in May, but it has emerged as this year’s consensus best new restaurant. Xochi is serving a $20 three-course lunch menu, three different $45 dinner menus (four courses each, wine or spirit pairings available for an additional $28), and a four course $35 vegetarian dinner menu (plus $27 optional wine pairing).
While all of the dinner menus look compelling, the menu de mezcal, which celebrates Oaxaca’s signature spirit with dishes that include both a peach tamal and dry-rubbed pork shank (along with a $27 spirit pairing).
B&B Butchers, 1814 Washington
Numerous options abound to build your own dinner at this stylish destination for steak, with indulgent items that include brisket ravioli, meatballs, a chicken fried pork chop, New York cheesecake, and, oh yeah, red meat. You can go totally conventional, starting the meal off with a Caesar or wedge and moving into a ten-ounce Roquefort-crusted filet in au poivre sauce and then some chocolate cake. Or go for broke with supplements including an 18-ounce Prime bone-in NY Strip (with a $25 upcharge) that you can lather in truffle butter for $4 extra or order up "carpetbagger" style with a fried oyster and blue cheese crumbles on top for $12 more.
Unique and New to HRW:
Sushi King, 3401 Kirby
Four courses, $35
Japanese options are few and far between among the Restaurant Week menus, so we’re stoked for the selection in Upper Kirby. Not only that, among the salmon poké and sushi and sashimi, there’s a vegetarian option for every course, including broiled peanut-and-sesame tofu. Dessert brings... churros?
Brunchin at its Best:
Harold's in the Heights, 350 West 19th
When you see Big Nasty Biscuit and Lost Bread (that's old-school French toast) on the brunch menu, you know you're in for a treat. Chef Antoine Ware, a New Orleans native, definitely brings the Big Easy flavors to this menu with Creole starters, including chicken and sausage gumbo and beignets. While The Big Nasty Biscuit, fried chicken on a cheddar biscuit topped with sausage gravy, sounds almost too good to pass up, you can go just a tad lighter with the Big Damn Breakfast — two eggs cooked your way, roasted potatoes, bacon and a biscuit with jam.
Eat your Veggies:
La Table, 6 BLVD Place, 1800 Post Oak
This is actually a really great brunch spot for vegetarians and vegans seeking a little HRW love. The ritzy French destination in the Galleria area is a great spot to head to when you're dressed up and ready to indulge in a lovely weekend brunch. Go light with a gazpacho, egg white frittata and raspberry choux, or live it up with caramelized cheese soufflé, French toast and vanilla crème brûlée. Just make sure to save a little room and hit up the bakery counter on your way out.
Lunches You'll Love:
Brennan's of Houston, 3300 Smith
Seeing as it's near impossible to find a lunch of sandwich, iced tea and tip for less than $15 in town, the thought of getting Brennan's world-famous turtle soup and the luxe Steak Diane (beef tenderloin with smashed Yukon Golds in a Bordeaux and mushroom sauce) for $20 in the lap of luxury, is one of the best dining steals ever. The hospitality alone is worth it, and with executive chef Joe Cervantez — most recently of Killen's Steakhouse— stepping in to run the kitchen, now is as good a time as ever to give this landmark a try. Plus, you can nab a praline on the way out.
Osso & Kristalla, 1515 Texas
Potente’s more casual sister restaurant is serving all three HRW meals. Choices on the two-course $20 lunch menu include fried calamari, tomato soup, pulled pork pizzetta, and a cheeseburger made with a pork and beef patty. Brunch starts with a prosecco cocktail, continues with a small starter, and finishes with entrees like a blueberry bacon malted waffle, eggs pomodoro, and smoked salmon rillette toast.
Dinner starts with an amuse bouche of artichoke hummus. The three-course $35 menu starts with classic dishes like fried calamari, prosciutto and melon, or burrata caprese salad. Entree options include a mozzarella-stuffed meatball with rigatoni, Sicilian barbecue shrimp, and four cheese tortellini. Keep dessert classic with Italian cake, tiramisu, ricotta cheesecake, or berries with mascarpone cream.