For all of its importance as a source of jobs, innovation, and brain power, the Texas Medical Center comes up short from a dining perspective, especially compared to nearby neighborhoods like Rice Village, Montrose, and Midtown. The addition of several fast casual concepts on the ground floor of the former Medical Towers building — now the Westin Houston Medical Center — offers some reprieve from hospital cafeterias, but elevated options are still essentially limited to Third Coast and Safina, the Mediterranean restaurant in the Intercontinental Hotel.
A newcomer has entered the mix as an upscale dining destination in the Medical Center. Terrace 54 Bar + Table, the Westin's restaurant, recently opened to the public for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Both the hotel and restaurant are operated by Pearl Hospitality, the company behind downtown's JW Marriott Houston Downtown.
Located just off the hotel's fifth floor lobby, Terrace 54 aims to serve a refined take on seasonal, New American cuisine. The room offers a number of seating options, from a traditional main dining room to either bar or lounge. An outdoor patio provides an expansive view towards Rice University and other points west.
Executive chef Pete Cox knows hotel dining well. Previously, he worked at James Republic, a farm-to-table restaurant at a Courtyard hotel in Long Beach, as well as working as a sous chef in the Cosmopolitan hotel in Las Vegas.
At Terrace 54, the dinner menu includes all the familiar staples one would expect in a hotel — chicken breast, ribeye, burger, scallops, etc — as well as slightly more adventurous fare such as grilled octopus, vadouvan-spiced carrots, gnocchi with duck confit, and a Beyond Meat burger. The menu also includes thin-crust pizzas and a selection of salads. Cox tells CultureMap that he's been meeting with local vendors and plans to include seasonal fare in his next menu, which will debut next month.
Lunch includes the same pizzas and starters as the dinner menu, along with an expanded selection of sandwiches. Breakfast mixes lighter fare such as avocado toast and steel cut oatmeal with heartier items including pancakes, chilaquiles, and a breakfast sandwich.
“Terrace 54’s menu showcases locally inspired, New American fare with shareable dishes for the table,” Cox said in a statement. “I’m excited about combining global flavors with culinary traditions found throughout the Southern region, which speak to the diverse and international hotel clientele.”