The 88-year-old former president, wife Barbara, son Neil and daughter-in-law Maria shared a table at the Galleria restaurant Saturday night, where other patrons complimented him on his robust appearance.
Bush had spent more than two months at Methodist, where he was treated for a persistent bronchitis-related cough. At one point his condition worsened to the extent that he was admitted to the hospital's intensive care unit.
Even though he was in the hospital on Christmas Day, Bush continued a tradition of holiday dining on fare from Gigi's, when take-out was delivered to the hospital.
Bush's low-key evening became worldwide news after publicist Mark Sullivan, who was dining at the restaurant and is a Bush family friend, innocently posted a photo on his Facebook page.
Janet Shamlian, a Houston-based reporter for NBC News, saw the photo and posted it on Instagram, where it was picked by the Daily Mail in London and The Huffington Post among other global websites. And Brian Williams detailed Bush's night out on the NBC Nightly News Monday night.