Hello, February! Need a lunch or dinner recommendation? Here’s where you should eat right now in Houston.
Yay! Coffee kids David Buehrer and Ecky Probanto have opened their new shop, Blacksmith, in Montrose. For the coffee geeks among you, Blacksmith offers the Enthusiast Bar, which allows patrons to get up close with the baristas.
But even if you’re not a coffee nerd, you’ll want to stop in to indulge in chef Erin Smith’s food menu, a smart collection of fun favorites: Vietnamese steak and eggs, biscuits with marmalade and whipped crème fraîche, plus more.
Moon Tower Inn
Hotdog fans rejoice! Moon Tower Inn reopened after a 17-month closure. It’s an entirely new building, but with the same tried-and-true look.
Stop by to take advantage of the massive tap wall or the redesigned kitchen. Prices — and the atmosphere in general — are as casual and friendly as ever. Get your wild game fix just in time for summer.
Special occasion or not, you owe it to yourself to make a reservation at The Pass. The new tasting-menu-only offering from chefs Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan promises to provide not only a unforgettable meal, but conversation fodder that lasts for weeks.
Recent dishes include the famed vegetable Dippin’ Dots, a poached egg with truffles and nori bucatini topped with uni and other raw delights.
OKRA Charity Saloon
Houston’s bar scene is garnering some rosy national attention thanks to the OKRA Charity Saloon, a unique concept in which the bar uses its proceeds to cover costs (like rent, utilities, labor and supplies), and then any profits are donated to a cause voted on monthly by its patrons.
Stop by to support this month’s charities — and sample the small menu of paninis, waffle fries and other snack bites.
While Houston is commonly considered a Tex-Mex town, interior Mexican food has been making quite a push to take over as a fan favorite. Newcomer Cuchara features a beautiful menu of moles, nopales, barbacoa, shrimp and the like.
Stop by the lovely light-filled restaurant to take advantage of a delicious menu and lively bar scene.
El Tiempo – Navigation
But if Tex-Mex truly is your thing, you’ll want to hit the latest El Tiempo, this one on Navigation Boulevard, right down the street from its founding father, the Original Ninfa’s (read the history here). El Tiempo is commonly mentioned as one of Houston’s top Tex-Mexerias for its flaming fajitas, combination plates and powerfully addictive margaritas.
We were sad to see the critically-acclaimed Sabetta close, but the good news is that chef Riccardo Palazzo-Giorgio is doing similarly great things at his new place, Hawthorn. Try the delicate housemade pastas served with simple sauces.
Fish dishes — like the grilled calamari — shine as well. If you’re a fan of savory-sweet, try the Rosemary Panna Cotta for dessert.
New to the “old Little Saigon” (aka: Midtown) is Simply Pho, a decent option for a Vietnamese fix on Milam at Anita. While the broth in the pho is not my favorite, the accompanying meats are cooked well, helping to resurrect the flavor. Noodles dishes (like the ever popular Bùn Thit Nuong) are a solid option.
Eatsie Boys Cafe
The Eatsie Boys Cafe continues to rock for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can't go wrong with bacon pancakes, spectacular sandwiches, disco biscuits and Shipley’s donut ice cream.
Follow the Eatsie Boys on Twitter to hear about their rotating specials — or just stop by the cafe to see what you find.
Wherever you can find a good oyster
Some people countdown to oyster season the way I countdown to Easter candy. If you’re the former, now’s the time to get your fix.
The bar at Brennan's is offering a 7-7-7 menu: A choice of seven cocktails, seven wines by the glass, and seven oyster dishes for $7 each (from 2 to 7 p.m. daily). Triniti’s got a fried oyster poboy for lunch, Prego has brought back its delicious cornmeal-crusted oysters and the oysters at Backstreet Cafe are pan roasted. Or it’s always a fun time with oyster shooters at Cove ($6 for 3) and Oysters Gilhooley. Other storied oysters: Danton’s, Pappadeaux, Tony Mandola’s, Capt. Benny’s and Goode Company Seafood.
Need more recs? Try our where to eat right now lists from previous months: