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Several new restaurants have opened across the Houston area. The time has come to get out and eat now that the storm has passed . . . . at least until the heat becomes so oppressive no one wants to leave home. So let’s get to it.
B&B Butchers and Restaurant: Locally owned steakhouse on Washington Avenue. Start with the in house dry aging program and retail butcher shop where would be grill masters can purchase high quality steaks to make at home. It continues on the menu; all the standard cuts of USDA Prime beef are available, but so is Texas waygu from Gearhart Ranch and old school steak entrees like prime rib, chateaubriand and Beef Wellington. Even the decor, with its exposed wooden plank ceiling and a large window that looks into the kitchen, breaks the mold from the all leather all the time steakhouse vibe.
Karbach Brewing Co.: Houston’s fastest growing brewery opened that’s part of its expansion. It’s a stylish, spacious room with a generous patio that’s the most complete dining experience at any Houston brewery. They service dishes that are made with some of the ingredients used to brew beer, like malt in the sauce for gnocchi and spent grain in the pizza crusts. The dishes are also designed to pair well with the beers, which are conveniently available on tap at the restaurant, including some one-offs that aren’t available anywhere else. At lunch, the menu features salads and sandwiches, while dinners offer a few more entrees like a half chicken and butcher’s cut steak.
La Grange: A Mexican coastal cantina from the folks behind Liberty Station and Cottonwood. The interior features lamps found by owners Sara and Rob Cromie during their trips to Mexico and lots of custom ironwork, but it’s the large interior courtyard that’s already making it a summertime destination. It’s a 2 story affair that encourages lingering over a craft beer or an agave-based cocktail. On the cocktail side, don’t miss the watermelon fresca and a frozen margarita with plenty of bite.
Mala Sichuan Bistro: No one can argue that their arrival in Montrose has been greeted with anything other than rabid enthusiasm. Hour long waits for a table not uncommon on Friday and Saturday nights, and the valet for the lot it shares with El Real has been totally overwhelmed (park on the street and walk to avoid the mess). Despite these hassles, it’s every bit as good as the original on Bellaire Blvd. In addition to Mala favorites like na po tofu, water boiled fish and spicy and aromatic chicken, the new location features dishes made with an incredibly aromatic green peppercorn sauce that can’t be missed.
Revival Market: A market-turned-restaurant really delivers on the newly introduced dinner service. Those familiar with Cotivare will not be surprised to find out that Ryan Pera’s salads, including a smoked bycatch with cantaloupe and another of pickled shrimp with peaches, are a particular highlight. The best entry may be a straightforward take on classic beef stroganoff with house made pasta. It’s a comforting throwback that hits all the right notes. Revival is BYOB for now, but look for it to receive a club license and introduce cocktails and wine soon.
Fluff Bake Bar: Located in Midtown just a couple of doors down from Kata Robata’s eagerly anticipated Izakaya, Fluff Bake Bar gives fans a dedicated retail outlet to get their Fluffernutter fix. In addition to unicorn cookies and Veruca Salt Cup Cakes, Fluff ups the ante with coffee, charcuterie plates and plated desserts. Those with a dedicated sweet tooth will want to schedule a dessert tasting, which offers 3 plates for $21. Late night hours (open until midnight Thursday through Saturday) and access to the spacious courtyard should mean that Fluff functions as a can’t-miss date spot between dinner and a nightcap.
Bonjour Creperie: This new food truck features and unlikely story of culinary inspiration and long-distance love. Czarek Brylski was born in Poland but learned to make crepes in Spain, After opening 5 creperies in Barcelona, he moved to Texas to be with his American wife, Pamela, who he met when she was a student studying abroad. Now he can be found serving sweet and savory crepes from a van at spots like West Alabama Ice House. Obviously, diners can’t go wrong with a classic like banana nutella, but savory options like prosciutto with arugula and melon, which use a gluten-free batter, make for a light, satisfying meal.
BuffBurger: This recently opened restaurant in Spring Branch applies the farm-to-table ethos to a fast casual burger joint. That means the patties are made with locally sourced beef from 44 Farms and various toppings come from local farms and suppliers like the Houston Dairymaids. BuffBurger further broadens its appeal with vegetarian, tuna and chicken patties, as well as a selection of salads.
Gumbo Jeaux’s: Fast casual seafood restaurant near Bush Intercontinental Airport recently opened a second location at the southern end of the Heights. The menu is a straightforward affair of fried options as well as composed seafood dishes like broiled catfish in a variety of sauces. A bowl of namesake gumbo has plenty of meat, and a selection of hot sauces can perk up the spice level.
Rustic Oak: Wendell Price’s restaurant is located in a renovated Montrose bungalow near Brooklyn Athletic Club and only open for brunch on the weekends, but the buffet offers enough choices that it merits a shot in anyone’s brunch rotation. For $30, diners can choose from all the usual items like scrambled eggs, bacon, breads and fresh fruit. Price also offers made-to-order items like red velvet pancakes and crab cakes that elevate the experience. Lunch and dinner should follow soon, at which point we’ll get more of an idea of the cuisine that once earned celebrity fans like Kevin Costner and Denzel Washington.