As if Camerata wine director David Keck earning the highly coveted title of Master Sommelier isn't sufficient proof that Houston is emerging as a top destination for oenophiles, Wine Enthusiast has named three Houston restaurants to its prestigious list of America's 100 Best Wine Restaurants of 2016.
The list celebrates "restaurants where wine, food, service and atmosphere are all integral to the overall experience." Wine Enthusiast included both Underbelly and The Pass & Provisions last year. Midtown seafood restaurant Reef joins the list for 2016.
"This is a highly subjective list reflecting Wine Enthusiast’s dedication to not only legendary wine establishments but also those that are reflecting or pushing new and exciting trends in the market," said executive editor Susan Kostrzewa in a statement. "There’s an incredible amount of diversity and experimentation happening with wine in the restaurant space right now and our list reflects this variety - from small lists that are redrawn every day, to massive tomes that reflect decades of cellaring - and similarly, the food ranges from an upscale hot dog hangout in New York wine country to the peak of fine dining."
Underbelly earned its nod for its "laser focus" on family-owned and operated wineries. Both Reef and The Pass & Provisions are labeled "not to be missed" thanks to Reef's low markups and extensive selection of rosé and P&P's creative wine list that includes regional maps.
Two restaurants with Houston ties also make the list — the Dallas outpost of Pappas Bros. Steakhouse and Commander's Palace in New Orleans, which is owned by the same family as Midtown Creole institution Brennan's of Houston. FT33 in Dallas is the only other Texas restaurant on the list.
Consider visiting these restaurant during happy hour to get a sample of their wares. Underbelly features half-price wines by the glass Monday through Saturday from 3 pm to 6:30 pm and 10 pm to midnight in its bar. Provisions' happy hour is available in the bar and patio from 2:30 pm to 6 pm. Reef's 3rd Bar features an appealing mix of small plates (mostly priced at $5) from 4 to 7 pm Monday through Friday.