HOUSTON’S WAY-HOT RESTAURANT SCENE IS ALWAYS CHANGING AND SUPER-FRESH. THIS YEAR IS NO DIFFERENT – HERE’S A RUNDOWN ON WHAT’S NEW, WHAT’S NOW AND WHAT’S ON THE MENU THIS FALL.
HAVE YOU EATEN HERE?
Better Luck Tomorrow (BLT) & Tongue Cut Sparrow (TCS): Anything from Bobby Heugel usually makes any foodie’s list; this year we’ve got not one, but two contenders. For BLT, Heugel teamed up with James Beard Award winner Justin Yu, and while TCS does not have a food menu, we put it on the list since the cocktails are worth the trip alone.
85C Bakery Café: Lovingly referred to as the “Starbucks of Taiwan,” Houstonians got their first taste of the popular chain’s sweet breads, cakes and macaroons this summer. If you have a sweet tooth, get yourself over to their Bellaire location.
South Bank Seafood: Located on the edge of Downtown with a great view, South Bank opened this July amidst a flurry of happy seafood and craft beer lovers. While their Monday night oyster happy hour is a must, regular menu items like the clam chowder fries and lobster rolls are creating quite a buzz.
Hughie’s Heights: Located in the former Foreign Correspondents space, Hughie’s Tavern & Vietnamese Grille just opened their doors this August, offering patrons a dining and bar experience with One Armed Scissor in the old Canard space. In addition to their Vietnamese BBQ wings, we look forward to getting our pho fix at the new Heights location.
2nd Locations: Two local favorites – Pepper Twins and Mia Bella – both successful in other locations, just recently opened in the Greenway Plaza area. If you love their original spots, what are you waiting for? And if you haven’t tried them yet, their new spaces are well worth the trip. Plus, don’t miss Mia Bella’s Wednesday night special: $20 for a bottle of wine and two small plates.
Pizza Lovers Rejoice: Based on this list, Houstonians love pizza and thanks to new hot spots MidiCi and Inferno Pizza, we’ve got you covered. MidiCi, with locations in Katy and Pearland, opened their Kirby Grove location this summer with a focus on traditional Neapolitan cuisine. Inferno Pizza, located on the first floor of SkyHouse over in River Oaks, offers diners a plethora of sauces and cheeses in addition to gelato and Nutella options for dessert.
EAT HERE NOW
One-Fifth Romance Languages: The 2nd entry in the ambitious plan of launching a new restaurant concept every year in the same space from Chris Shepherd and team welcomes diners on September 1. With a menu heavily influenced by French, Spanish and Italian cuisines, word has it we can expect dishes like cast iron paella, cassoulet and one heck of a carbonara from Shepherd.
Emmaline: Debuting in late August, Emmaline is poised to offer Houstonians a blending of American and European cultures in both cuisine and décor. Owner and seasoned restaurant operator Sam Governable has put together an experienced team with backgrounds from New York, Greece, France and Louisiana, with Executive Chef Dimitri Voutsinas and designer Ashley Putman. To accompany the craft beer list, rotating seasonal cocktails and 200+ wine list, diners can look forward to Fontina Fondue and Charbroiled Oysters & Pearls.
a’Bouzy: Champagne lovers rejoiced when Shawn Virene’s first solo venture opened this August. With a heavy emphasis on the bubbly, an extensive selection of raw delights and prime meats, a’Bouzy boasts over 250 bottles of champagne (and other sparklings) ranging from $12 to $2k and over 50 wines by the glass.
Lucienne: Currently planned to launch this October inside Hotel Alessandra (from the folks behind the Valencia Group), Lucienne is set to be an upscale 65-seat restaurant helmed by famed Chef Jose Hernandez. The menu will draw on influences from Portugal, Greece, France and Spain, incorporating locally sourced ingredients, in-house butchering and on-site baked goods.
Night Market Thai: After Night Market closed earlier this year to work on their menu, people have been stalking owner Mike Tran’s (Tiger Den, Mein, Ohn Korean Eatery) Instagram to see what’s in store once this popular Indian curry spot reopened. While details are few and far between, word on the street is that as the new name suggests, Night Market will have a new heavily Thai-inspired menu as well as new design when it opens in September.
Aqui: Famed Austin chef and “Top Chef” alum Paul Qui softly opened his Filipino-based restaurant this summer. While Qui himself has had his fair share of problems lately, sneak peeks at the small plate focused menu from Aqui’s Instagram and Twitter hint at delights like maiz con yelo with uni and bulalo steak.
Maison Pucha Bistro: Chef Manuel Pucha of La Table strikes out on his own in the old Black & White space over on Studewood. Billed as a casual but upscale French restaurant blending Ecuadorian and South American tastes, Pucha joined forces with his two brothers to open this family venture.
Kukuri: Operating in stealth mode, Kukuri’s website was only a countdown till its opening on the night of August 10, when the website suddenly went live. Located over on Washington next to Tacodeli, much about Kukuri, run by Shimao Ishikawa from NYC’s Jewel Bako, has been hush-hush up until now so we’re intrigued.
Even more locations: Krisp Bird & Batter and Michael‘s Cookie Jar are both opening second locations for your chicken and cookie fixes.
EAT HERE SOON…
Theodore Rex: When Justin Yu closed the doors to our beloved Oxheart earlier this year, it was a sad day. Luckily for us, Yu is set to open his new spot in the same building. Details have been few and far between for this heavily anticipated opening as well, but we can’t wait.
Goodnight Charlie’s: David Keck’s heavily anticipated “Houston Honky-Tonk” is set to open in the fall of 2017 in Montrose. A Master Sommelier, Keck is no stranger to a great drink menu, and Goodnight Charlie’s has tapped Houston’s very own “Master Chef“ contestant Alvin Schultz to consult on the Mexican-inspired menu.
Agricole takes over EADO with Vinny‘s, Indianola and Miss Carousel: With three new concepts set to open in late 2017 at 1201 St. Emanuel, Ryan Pera and Morgan Weber are on the move. Indianola plans to offer patrons a convergent experience taking its namesake from the main port of entry for European immigrants in Texas during the mid-1800s. Miss Carousel will be a 5,000sf bar attached to Indianola, built to resemble a living room with a secluded courtyard and an impressive number of cocktails. Vinny’s, the smallest of the three new concepts, will offer diners a chance to grab a slice of their favorite pizza at the counter or grab a seat inside/on the patio.
SusieCakes: Sweets are on the rise this season, and the California-based chain with stakes in Dallas and Plano is rumored to be opening a Houston-based location.
Edison & Patton: The team behind this popular eatery is about to stake a second claim over on 11th Street in The Heights. The Mexican-inspired concept has no name yet, but plans to showcase a strong agave and cocktail program with an open kitchen and plenty of outdoor space is slated to open in late 2017.
Lua Viet Kitchen: Located at Mandell and West Alabama, owners Nick Nguyen and Nardi Do plan to open a casual fast-paced Vietnamese kitchen.
BBQ LOVERS REJOICE:
Blood Bros. BBQ and Truth BBQ, two legends in the BBQ world, are solidifying their plans to feed hungry Houstonians. Pitmaster Leonard Botello IV and his business partner Johnny Carrabba have plans to bring their famed Truth BBQ (ranked 10th by Texas Monthly Magazine this year) to the former J. Black’s space over on Washington. Another Houston favorite, Blood Bros. BBQ (pitmaster Quy Hoang, along with Robin and Terry Wong), has plans to open their first brick and mortar location with partners Felix Flores and Ryn Echiverri over on Bellaire Boulevard. Known for garnering rave reviews at their pop-ups, we can’t wait to see what they do at a permanent spot.