Nestled among the posh surroundings of The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa is an often overlooked culinary find. We like it because executive chef Jeffrey Everts rarely disappoints. Unlike so many chefs who throw ingredients together, Everts' compositions are pitch perfect. There’s always a soft note to go with the high note. The menu changes with the season. Such appetizers as braised veal ravioli, spicy tuna tartare with lemon confit and harrissa, and roasted crab cake with avocado and grapefruit make a meal in themselves. Everts is a master at cooking fish. His pork and beef dishes are always reliable bets. The New York strip steak with herbed frites is a ode to beef.
Save room for dessert. Often, old-fashioned desserts are given a modern, light twist. At times, they’re almost too pretty to eat. But eat them we shall. Otherwise, we’ll wish later that we had forked into that lemon olive oil cake with lavender honey or that strawberry-and-almond shortcake with crème fraiche. And the only thing that can be said about the chocolate pudding cake with fudge sauce and hazelnut ice cream is “Oh my!”
Everts' predecessor, Jim Mills, a talented chef in his own right who traded in his toque for a business suit, created the restaurant’s signature southwest Caesar salad. Mills now serves as the Houstonian’s general manager. But Mills still takes his food seriously. It took nearly a year to find the right candidate for his beloved Olivette.