Some of the most important business in Houston gets done at the city’s best restaurants. First, there’s the business of business: high finance of the banking, energy and real-estate kind. Then the business of socializing: Houston likes to be seen puttin’ on the ritz. And finally, the business of food: As one of the nation’s hottest culinary cities, the our food scene is on fire.
These are top stages where the city’s aspirations and ambitions play out almost every night of the week.
ARTHUR AVE ITALIAN AMERICAN 1111 Studewood
Top table: The Wine Room
Why: Comfortably accommodating six guests, this exclusive table is tucked away on the side of the restaurant behind glass doors that allow you to see out into the hustle and bustle of the main dining room while maintaining a level of privacy. It’s the most requested table (at least among those who know it exists).
Who sits: As the restaurant’s most intimate spot, it’s requested by diners who want a certain level of serene comfort. It’s also perfect for birthday dinners, special occasions and small business meetings. And wine enthusiasts, naturally. After all, you’re surrounded by some of Italy’s best wines.
The turkey burger with tomato jam, green goddess dressing and arugula at The Company Burger. Eating and drinking along New Orleans’ new restaurant row Saks Fifth Avenue showcased gala-ready gowns for Mardi Gras in Galveston. Five fashion trends to try for a glam Mardi Gras this year Cajun accordionist Ryan Brunet and other musicians dressed in traditional costumes play for a Courir de Mardi Gras. For genuine Mardi Gras experience, consider heading to Acadiana Reflective palm plunge swimsuit, $60 at asos.com. Fabulous finds with palm prints for an early spring Left: Murry Penner’s clothing store M Penner celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. it was founded by his father, Morris Penner.
Below: Tailor Javier Aceves trims fabric. Aceves has worked at M Penner for nearly 30 years. Uptown Park fashion boutique celebrates 40 years
What to order: It’s hard to go wrong with a wine recommendation from consulting sommelier Shepard Ross, or a cocktail offering from beverage director Lainey Collum, or any of the throwback red-sauce entrées from chef William Wright. There’s New York-style pizza, too. Mangia!
BRENNAN’S OF HOUSTON 3300 Smith
Top table: Table 45 in the Main Dining Room and Table 2 in the “Terms of Endearment” Room
Why: Table 45 is by a window and considered one of the more private tables because it’s in a corner and has highback chairs. The “Terms of Endearment” Room is named after the Academy Award-winning movie. Every Houstonian knows that the scene in which Aurora (Shirley MacLaine) and Garrett (Jack Nicholson) have lunch was filmed at Brennan’s. Table 2 is that very table – a wonderful spot in this first-floor dining room, bathed in sunlight from floor-to-ceiling windows opening onto the French Quarter Courtyard.
Who sits: It’s a table preferred by Brennan’s regulars. “The majority of our customers prefer not to be named in the press, and we honor that,” said a Brennan’s representative.
What to order: This is Brennan’s. That means iced seafood platters and freshly shucked Gulf oysters; beignets and café au lait dipping sauce; turtle soup splashed with sherry; pecan-crusted fish; and Bananas Foster.
CAFE ANNIE1800 Post Oak
Top table: No. 10, the “Gunslinger Table”
Why: In 1981 at the original location of Cafe Annie, there was a small alcove that housed the famous Table 10, called the “gunslinger” because a diner’s back was to the wall with a full view of the dining room. After the restaurant’s move, Table 10 was out of sequence, but people who hadn’t seen the new space continued to request it. “Table 10” still has an aura of secrecy – you can see but are unseen; you can hear but are unheard. It’s a world within a world. It is a private public space. Table 10 is where “not all the rules apply.”
Who sits: Devotees include Lyle Lovett and his partner, April Kimble; Richard and Nancy Kinder; Ray and Kara Childress; Jeff and Rachel Bagwell; Paul and Janet Hobby; and Roger and Debbie Clemens
What to order: Robert Del Grande’s iconic rabbit enchiladas, Cafe Annie nachos, black bean terrine and crab tostada.
CARACOL 2200 Post Oak
Top table: Table 72 in the main dining room or Table 13 in the Calamar Room
Why: Table 72 is right in the middle of the action with a view of the bar, the oyster bar, the wood-burning oven and the other dining rooms. It’s the primo spot. In the Calamar Room, the most popular table is next to the squid painting and front window. It offers a full view of the restaurant while maintaining some privacy.
Who sits: Julián Castro, Michelle Kwan, Dominique Sachse and Johnny Manziel prefer Table 72. George and Barbara Bush, Mario Lopez, Bo Jackson, chef Robert Irvine, chef Daniela Soto-Innes and Craig Biggio like Table 13.
What to order: Wood-roasted oysters with chipotle butter is a must. For dessert, the famous El Coco.
COLTIVARE3320 White Oak
Top table: Table 33
Why: It’s round – the only round table in the house – and tucked in a corner. It’s by far the most popular table. Diners feel like the king of the room – the table looks over the dining room and into the kitchen. And guests don’t mind waiting longer to sit there.
Who sits: The versatile table can be a two-top for a romantic dinner or seat as many as six for a special occasion. It has the most legroom, so it can accommodate NBA players who happen to come in.
What to order: Table 33 is perfect for sharing via the Lazy Susan: “Pass the Black Pepper Spaghetti, please.”
LA TABLE1800 Post Oak
Top table: Window tables and banquettes in the second-floor dining room, Chateau, are the most requested.
Why: The three booths by the window, each seating up to eight, offer impressive views of Post Oak Boulevard. They also allow diners to see everyone’s entrance. The booths are perfect for a dinner à deux or lively ladies lunches. The sumptuous fabrics and curvy lines add to the appeal.
Who sits: You will always see boldface names from the social columns dining at lunch and dinner. The society set enjoys the pampered service – and the purse stools that display their gorgeous handbags. But what you may not notice is the number of discreet business deals that are done at Chateau.
What to order: Any of the table-carved items such as roasted chicken, rack of lamb or 32-ounce rib-eye. And don’t forget dessert: Chocolate soufflé is a must.