Spring is springing, and Houston’s restaurant scene is jumpin’. So get out there and try some of the fantastic new spots.
Here are 10 hot places to get you started . . . Some are new restaurants entirely, while others are a bit more seasoned, but all are well worth a visit.
The venerable Austin gem has opened a new location in Houston, taking over the old Felix’s space on Westheimer at Montrose. The painful waits for reservations common in the first few weeks of service seem to be under control, so diners are now free to revel in the creative Japanese food, top-notch service, rice wines and lovely space.
Beer lovers are already professing their eternal love for this new bar on Westheimer in Montrose. Belly up to take advantage of a truly outstanding list of craft brews, plus a clever menu that’s well executed by chef Antoine Ware.
Much like its cocktail counterpart Anvil, Hay Merchant pays close attention to the details — like glassware, seating and snacks.
Whether you follow the food scene or not, it’s hard to avoid the anticipation, speculation and early adulation for former Catalan chef Chris Shepherd’s new home, Underbelly. The wine bar (which also offers cheese, charcuterie, and small bites) opened at the end of February to high praise, and the restaurant plans to begin regular service on Monday.
Latin Bites Café
This Peruvian place has quietly and consistently turned heads in Houston — so much so that it just graduated from its tiny spot in the Warehouse District. While the new location (on Woodway in Tanglewood) is roomier and open, it’s already packing quite a crowd.
The menu features a fantastic selection of ceviches, chifas, empanadas and other South American specialties.
The Burger Guys
Great news for Houston’s burger-philes: The Burger Guys has opened a “pop-up” second location. If you can’t make it out to their regular spot in Westchase, you can now get the deliciously gourmet burgers, hot dogs and fries Wednesday through Friday at Café Luz on the northern side of downtown.
Follow them on Twitter for menus and updates.
Downtown’s got a new meal spot and market. Georgia’s Market has moved in on Main Street, offering a decent array of organic produce, local coffee beans and natural products, in addition to lunch and dinner service.
There’s a hot buffet, a daily soup, a salad bar, and some grab-n-go sandwiches.
2012 just might be the year of the hot dog — and the Happy Endings food truck sure wouldn’t mind. Follow them on Twitter for a lunch or dinner location; then stop by for their inspired Asian-American fusion dogs.
We sure like the kimchi-seaweed dog, but there are several to choose from, including one with bonito flakes, and another with cream cheese and bacon.
From the owners of Le Mistral comes Artisans, a new upscale restaurant on Louisiana in Midtown. Grab a date (it’s a bit of a splurge, after all) and take your seat in the intimate, open space for a classically French meal of lovelies like pan-seared scallops, foie gras with poached pears, roast duck and quail leg confit.
JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers
Houston’s burger demographic continues to expand with the new JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers on Holcombe near Buffalo Speedway. These guys offer organic, all-natural meats and ingredients in a style that’s vaguely reminiscent of The Counter.
Pick your meat, pick your toppings, pick your bread . . . and voila, your custom-designed burger arrives.
We’ve really enjoyed this farm-to-table neighborhood gem in its first few months of service. The roasted cauliflower continues to impress, as do the bread service and charcuterie plate. Mains and vegetable sides are tasty too, and the menu changes weekly.
Roost does not accept reservations, so plan to arrive on the early side.
Need more recs? Try our lists from previous months: