Foodie News

Where to eat right now: 10 must-try restaurants for May

Where to eat right now: 10 must-try restaurants for May

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Chef Seth Siegel-Gardner tops sushi rice with uni and lardo at Kata Robata. Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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Mushroom enchiladas at Xuco Xicana: Savory, earthy, amazing. Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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Will Stella Sola still serve the salumeria pizza without salumi master Justin Basye? Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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The lotus root salad at Mai's is light and summery. Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
News_Ruthie_Kata Robata_Dehydrated Short Rib
Seth Siegel-Garnder's short ribs topped with dehydrated short ribs is a menu standout at Kata Robata. Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
News_Ruthie_Green Seed Vegan_Vegan Burger
The vegan 'Burque Burger at Green Seed Vegan is so good, you won't miss the meat. Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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An order of tangy oysters at Benjy's on Washington Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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News_Ruthie_Xuxo Xicana_Mushroom Enchiladas
News_Ruthie_Stella Sola_Salumeria Pizza
News_Ruthie_Mai's_Lotus Root Salad
News_Ruthie_Kata Robata_Dehydrated Short Rib
News_Ruthie_Green Seed Vegan_Vegan Burger
News_Ruthie_Benjy's_Oysters

Houston is hoppin’ these days! Need a lunch or dinner recommendation? Here are 10 buzz worthy places to try in May.

Some are new restaurants entirely, while others are seasoned venues with new offerings, but all are well worth a visit.

Kata Robata
May is chef Seth Siegel-Gardner’s final month at this celebrated sushi joint. Be sure to stop by for a last sample of his hyper-creative, mega-tasty delicacies (like these).

Siegel-Gardner and his business partner Terrence Gallivan look forward to their next endeavor, though official details have not yet been released. And don’t worry, chef Manabu Horiuchi isn’t going anywhere.

Mai’s
The venerable Mai’s finally reopened in April after the debilitating fire in February 2010. The new space is greener — literally and figuratively — and roomier.

Mai's is famous for their bo luc lac (shaking beef), but our new fave is the lotus root salad, a refreshingly light offering of shredded pork, shrimp, cucumber, carrots, celery, and onion, sprinkled with roasted peanuts and a tangy dressing.

Benjy’s on Washington
Mike Potowski, the chef at Benjy’s on Washington, runs his restaurant with precision, cultivating each of his employees with the same meticulous care that he puts into his cooking. His new Spring menu is fantastic, boasting a salmon sashimi with tempura’d garlic, a spring onion soup, and an amazing crab cobb salad.

Try a “mintade” on the side.

Green Seed Vegan
Houston hasn’t always been easy on vegans, but that’s starting to change — especially with Green Seed Vegan, a new food truck serving vegan delicacies like sandwiches, wraps and smoothies. Try the Dirty ‘Burque, a veggie burger topped with New Mexico green chilies and avocado or the Illy cheesesteak, a mess of mushrooms.

It’s all so delicious, you won’t miss the meat.

Dragon Bowl
Chef Michael Dei Maggi (formerly of Max’s Wine Dive, The Rockwood Room, and Ciao Bello) has joined Delicious Concepts as a partner. His first task? Reworking the fast-casual Dragon Bowl Bistro in the Heights.

Look for his substantial changes to roll out by Sunday. That operation includes expanded hours, an updated space and a revamped menu which concentrates on pan-Asian street food.

Brasserie 19
The much anticipated Brasserie 19 has opened (but just barely!) in the old Tony Mandola’s spot on West Gray. The restaurant is anchored by Charles Clark and Grant Cooper, who also collaborated on Ibiza and Catalan, and they’ve enlisted the services of chef Michael Gaspard.

The menu offers a Gulf coast take on French cooking — lighter than a traditional brasserie, but with an awesome raw bar.

Xuco Xicana
A carry-over from last month’s list, Xuco Xicana continues to impress. The former El Patio space, now rebranded as Xuco Xicana, is upbeat and fun, ideal for date night and groups. We love the queso, the sangria’d margaritas, and the fabulous mushroom enchiladas — but we also hope they update the signage and website soon.

Stella Sola
Chef Justin Basye recently announced that he’s leaving Stella Sola to hone his skills through various internships — in Houston and elsewhere. Stepping in is Chef Adam Dorris, whom you might have run into at the Grand Prize bar’s celebrated line of Ghetto Dinners.

We’re excited to see how Dorris incorporates his creativity and panache to his new Heights home.

Moon Tower Inn
Few things are more satisfying on a summer night than a hotdog and a beer. Lucky for you, Moon Tower Inn specializes in both. Stop by for a gamey ‘dawg and a side of chips, then grab your spot on the gloriously dingy patio (there’s no indoor seating).

We like the rabbit sausage and the Piggie Smalls. Be sure to top them with the tasty housemade condiments.

Ava
Chef Robert del Grande’s new Mediterranean spot in the ritzy West Ave development is more casual than his other joints — but just as striking. The menu offers lightened up fare, nice for sharing among a few dining companions over a cocktail or two.

Pastas and salads are the norm, but don’t pass up the sausage-stuffed squid.