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Where to eat right now: 10 hot, must-try restaurants for June

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News_Triniti Restaurant_Fred Zennati_Ryan Hildebrand
Photo by Kimberly Park
where to eat right now, June 2012, Paulies, pasta
Perfect pasta: The creamy Canestri alla Funghi made in house at Paulie's Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
where to eat right now, June 2012, Happy Endings, Dawg, hot dog
The Happy Endings food truck makes great dawgs, like this one with bonito flakes.  Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
where to eat right now, June 2012, Green Seed Vegan, Burger
A vegan's paradise: The mushroom burger at Green Seed Vegan Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
where to eat right now, June 2012, Concepcion,  Tiradito
The tiradito at Concepción is as beautiful as it is delicious. Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
where to eat right now, June 2012, Good Dog, hot dog
Summer and hotdogs are made for one another. Try this one at Good Dog Hotdogs.  Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
where to eat right now, June 2012, Triniti, Chef's Table
The chef's table at Triniti offers a lovely view into the kitchen. Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
where to eat right now, June 2012, El Gran Malo, Tacos
Try the four taco sampler at El Gran Malo. This one's got shrimp, snapper, pork belly and chicken tinga.  Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
where to eat right now, June 2012, El Gran Malo, Margarita
Bottom's up: Try the blueberry-jalapeño margarita at El Gran Malo.  Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
News_Triniti Restaurant_Fred Zennati_Ryan Hildebrand
where to eat right now, June 2012, Paulies, pasta
where to eat right now, June 2012, Happy Endings, Dawg, hot dog
where to eat right now, June 2012, Green Seed Vegan, Burger
where to eat right now, June 2012, Concepcion,  Tiradito
where to eat right now, June 2012, Good Dog, hot dog
where to eat right now, June 2012, Triniti, Chef's Table
where to eat right now, June 2012, El Gran Malo, Tacos
where to eat right now, June 2012, El Gran Malo, Margarita

Houston is hoppin’ these days! Need a lunch or dinner recommendation?

Here are 10 hot places to try in June. Some are new restaurants entirely, while others are seasoned venues with new offerings, but all are well worth a visit. 

Concepcion
Chef Jonathan Jones has a new home in Concepcion, the great-looking former Ocean’s space on West Alabama. Concepcion is not Jones fitting into someone else’s concept, but rather him building a menu from scratch . . .

Thus, the ceviches and tiraditos are expectedly outstanding. The lovely interior is great for date night, while the well-fanned patio is ideal for a gathering among friends.

Green Seed Vegan
One of our favorite mobile vendors has gone from truck to table. Green Seed Vegan’s new restaurant isn’t far from the old haunt and serves the same veggie-rific vegan food that’ll leave you questioning your diet.

We love the Dirty Burque (a veggie burger topped with New Mexico green chilies and avocado), but the nori rolls, paninis and smoothies are delicious as well.

Hawthorn
The old Dessert Gallery on Kirby (and more recently, members-only club Dorsia) has transformed into Houston’s newest slow-food venue. And while Hawthorn’s chef Riccardo Palazzo-Giorgio can’t ensure that *every* ingredient on the menu is picked fresh that day, he aims to come close.

The menu is New American with Mediterranean roots — think delicate pastas, grilled meats and plenty of fish.

Mongoose Versus Cobra
As an ophidiophobe, I shudder to even think about this new Midtown bar, but the idea is noble. Mongoose Versus Cobra offers a nod to the past and a toast to the present with craft beers and small-batch liquors.

We’ve heard the space is nothing short of gorgeous. With no formal kitchen, food offerings will be limited to sharable small bites, like cheese plates, breads and charcuterie.

LA Bar
Longtime crawfish haunt the Ragin Cajun has a new next-door sibling. LA Bar is a little more refined (ie: table service), but remains casually Cajun at heart. You’ll see a lot of the old favorites — like jambalaya, boudin, and red beans and rice.

But you find some new loves, too — grilled oysters, pork chops and beignets.

Paulie’s
Paulie’s was once a simple sandwich and salad shop, but it has evolved nicely over the years. The place now cranks out creative specials, hosts collaborative dinners, and offers coffees and gelato from local vendors.

The most recent evolution is a pasta maker, which allows for beautifully delicious, rave-worthy pastas made in house daily. Stop by to get your fix.

Triniti
Triniti is pulling out the stops to lure you in — new menus, a three-course pre-fixe lunch, special desserts, and the exciting addition of the Mercury Orchestra. For one night only (Sunday), a 15-piece ensemble will be on hand to perform live for an eight-course wine dinner.

The spellbinding music promises to be an ideal complement to chef Ryan Hildebrand’s captivating food.

t’afia
Houston’s original slow food venue is making headlines this month, offering the new Esculent Gatherings, a series of dinners featuring local chefs and ingredients sourced from Urban Harvest’s farmers markets. The first dinner features Randy Rucker and David Leftwich on Sunday.

Alternatively, you might opt to attend t’afia chef Monica Pope’s weekly OIMBY events in her own backyard.

El Gran Malo
Summer is the perfect time to hit the patio at El Gran Malo, a casual bar offering infused tequilas, specialty margaritas and craft beers. Tacos are the menu’s staple. We like the grilled snapper and coca-cola braised pork belly.

The salsa sampler (with three variations, all made in house) is an excellent snack, and if you get lucky, you might get to test something from the experimental menu.

Wherever you can find a good hot dog
James Coney Island recently announced a gourmet all-beef hot dog served on a toasted bun made by our local Slow Dough bakery. It reminded us how well hot dogs pair with summer — and how many great options we have in Houston: JCI, Good Dog Hotdogs, Revival Market, Sammy’s Wild Game Grill, Happy Fatz, Happy Endings, Becks Prime … even Minute Maid Park will do.

Where’s your favorite ‘dawg?

Need more recs? Try our lists from previous months:

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