It’s the annual lament that befalls Houston foodies during the run of Houston Restaurant Weeks, now through Sept. 5. What to eat. Where to schedule lunches, dinners and brunches. Which menus entice. How to get the most from the dizzying variety offered by the city’s prolonged dining extravaganza.
It’s a lot to take in: More than 250 restaurants offering pre-set, value-oriented, fixed-price meals. But it’s a culinary overload that Houstonians are happy to negotiate. After all, Houston Restaurant Weeks, founded in 2003 by radio and television personality Cleverley Stone, is a mammoth fundraiser for the Houston Food Bank. Participating restaurants donate a set amount from every HRW meal sold, directly benefitting the food bank and, in turn, the food-insecure of Greater Houston. The first restaurant week featured 16 restaurants raising $5,000. Last year a record-breaking $1.9 million was raised, enabling the food bank to create and distribute 5.7 million meals.
This year the event hopes to top that amount. And with your help, it will. You can go online at houstonrestaurantweeks.com to plan your $20 lunches and brunches, and dinners priced at $25, $35 and $45. But we’ve combed the list of participating restaurants and their menus and came up with these categories that hopefully will entice you – and help you with those dining decisions – to make the most of Houston Restaurant Weeks.
When you only have time for one Restaurant Weeks meal, make it count with any of these five menus. All offer excellent value, impeccable service and delectable food.
Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House: For many years running, Del Frisco’s has been the largest single donor to the Houston Food Bank thanks in large part to its winning combination of flawless service and stellar menu. From traditional Caesar salad to 8-ounce broiled filet mignon (with options to upgrade to better, larger cuts), and sublime desserts like warm banana bread pudding, a table at Del Frico’s is a must. 5061 Westheimer, 713-355-2600; delfriscos.com; $45
Américas River Oaks: Food & Wine Magazine Hall of Famer Michael Cordúa’s family of restaurants (Américas River Oaks, Churrascos and Artista) offer one of the best HRW meals. The $35 menu includes starters such as empanadas or ceviche, a choice of their award-winning 6-ounce butterflied tenderloin churrasco steak and the legendary tres leches cake. 2040 W. Gray, 832-200-1492; americasrestaurant.com; $35
Tony’s: The king of Italian fine dining in Houston for more than 50 years, a night at Tony’s is one to remember. Book a table to experience chef de cuisine Kate McLean’s talents while indulging in Italian summer truffles (with $19 supplemental fee), fire-roasted hen, tiramisu or Grand Marnier or chocolate soufflé. 3755 Richmond, 713-622-6778; tonyshouston.com; $45
La Table: A stunning makeover has turned the former Philippe into one of the finest French dining destinations in Houston. Sumptuous choices include a colossal lump crab appetizer, Hudson Valley duck breast and the unforgettable Valrhona chocolate souffle with house-made vanilla ice cream. 1800 Post Oak, 713-439-1000; latablehouston.com; $45
Eddie V’s: The steakhouse staple serves up a formidable steak-centric HRW menu, including Maine lobster and shrimp bisque to start, choice of 8-ounce filet mignon or 9-ounce filet medallions, choice of side such as au gratin potatoes, with sweet finish of Bananas Foster butter cake. At West Ave, 2800 Kirby, 713-874-1800; at CityCentre, 12848 Queensbury, 832-200-2380, eddiev.com; $45
Complex flavors and authenticity, a preference for all things locavore, grass-fed, organic and chef-driven are just a few of the qualities that millennials seek out. That generation knows what it wants and will find it at these Houston eateries.
Down House: At Down House, HRW diners will find Korean fried cauliflower tossed in spicy gochujang sauce, Vietnamese-style marinated skewers, a corn-dog-style braised and grilled pork belly, vegetarian ricotta stuffed ravioli with carrot butter and bread pudding with bourbon caramel. 1801 Yale, 713-864-3696; treadsack.com/downhouse; $35
Ritual: Highlights at this Southern-infused, meat-centric new restaurant include crispy boudin with house remoulade, chicken lollipops with creamed dirty rice and a dessert of Fat Cat Creamery peach ice cream with house-made sugar cookie. 602 Studewood, 832-203-5180; ritualhouston.com; $35
True Food Kitchen: How about edamame dumplings with Asian herbs and truffle oil? Or organic Tuscan kale with sustainable steelhead fish? Or perhaps a grass-fed burger and chia seed pudding? Here you’ll find healthy options without sacrificing flavor. 1700 Post Oak, 281-605-2505; truefoodkitchen.com; $35
Benjy’s: Both Benjy’s locations will offer heirloom tomato toast with smashed avocado, crispy harissa-spiced catfish and Mom’s Chocolate Cake for the win. Upper Washington at 5922 Washington, 713-868-1131, and Rice Village at 2424 Dunstan, 713-522-7602; benjys.com; $35
Hunky Dory: For British pub fare that spans country ham and summer melons, chicken tikka masala (vegetarian option available), braised and grilled short ribs with heirloom tomatoes and sticky toffee pudding, no one in Houston does it better than chef Richard Knight. 1801 N. Shepherd, 713-864-2450; treadsack.com/hunkydory; $35