The time has come for another edition of Houston Restaurant Weeks. Now that the event’s website has gone live with this year’s menus, diners from across the Houston area are already planning their eating itinerary.
Organized by TV and radio host Cleverley Stone, the month-long dining event, which runs from August 1 until Labor Day (September 3), features over 250 participating restaurants that run special two and three-course menus at set price points of $20 (lunch and brunch) and either $35 or $45 (dinner). Each meal contributes a set donation of between $3 and $7 to the Houston Food Bank.
All those small donations add up — participating restaurants raised over $2.4 million last year. As Stone likes to say, HRW is a win for restaurants that have turned one of year’s slowest months into one of their busiest, a win for diners who get to try some of the city’s most popular establishments at a discount, and a win for the Food Bank, which has received over $12.2 million since 2003.
One thing to keep in mind is that the almost 250 restaurants included in the site on launch day are not the final list. More will be added between now and August 1. In addition, some restaurants are confirmed to participate in the event but are still finalizing menus.
The list below offers some of our top picks of first time participants with menus that are currently posted to the HRW website.
The Asian-inspired bar and restaurant is offering three savory courses and dessert on its $35 dinner menu. Starter choices include salmon crudo, ribeye tataki, and a ginger miso wedge salad. Continue with fried Brussels sprouts, shisito peppers, or pork and wasabi shu mai. Entree choices consist of striped bass, a filet seasoned with five spice power, or pork ribs in a gochujang glaze. For dessert, choose from two different ice cream options or go for chocolate mousse. 2003 Lexington St.; 832-649-4636
With Jonathan Jones back in the kitchen, the original Beaver’s has new energy, which is reflected in its brunch and dinner HRW menus. For example, the three-course, $35 dinner includes both vegan and gluten-free options for every course, including vegan “queso” made with cauliflower and smoked mushrooms tacos. Omnivores may opt for dishes like the chile con queso, smoked wings, and fried seafood platter. 2310 Decatur St.; 713-864-2328
Bloom & Bee
The signature restaurant at Tilman Fertitta’s lavish The Post Oak hotel will offer a $45, three-course HRW dinner menu. Start with she crab soup, scallop crudo, or one of two salads. Entree choices include salmon, hanger steak with creamy Swiss chard and crispy onion rings, and mushroom risotto. Three dessert choices include strawberry shortcake and a double chocolate brownie. 1600 W. Loop South; 346-227-5139
Sam Governale’s European-inspired neighborhood restaurant will serve both a two-course lunch ($20) and a three-course dinner ($45). Dinner items include a range of options such as burrata with turnip green pesto, lump crab cake, marsala-braised short rib with polenta, an eight-ounce hanger steak, and a stone fruit hand pie. At lunch, the options include rock shrimp pasta salad, mussels, and a chopped salad with pulled chicken and roasted beets. A glass or two from the well-chosen list is optional but highly recommended. 3210 W Dallas St.; 713-523-3210
Fig & Olive
Participating in HRW for both lunch and dinner ($35) provides Houstonians with an affordable way to try this New York-based Mediterranean restaurant that recently opened in the Galleria. Starter at dinner include the signature crostini, heirloom tomato gazpacho, and salmon crudo. Entree choices include balsamic-glazed short ribs, Moroccan-spiced salmon, and paccheri pasta. At lunch, sweet corn risotto and a lamb burger appear to be the most appealing entree options. 5115 Westheimer Rd.; 832-632-6632
Freso Cafe Italiano
This Italian restaurant may be light on ambiance, but the quality of chef-owner Roberto Crescini's food draws diners. The two-course lunch starts with Italian classics like caponata or beef carpaccio. Entree choices include chicken, gnocchi in marinara sauce, and fusilli pasta with baby clams. Trust us and get the clams. 3277 Southwest Freeway; 281-888-2226
Goode Company Kitchen & Cantina
Whether at lunch or dinner ($35), the menu for this Tex-Mex concept from the popular Houston restaurant group delivers the dishes diners most want to eat. Starters include Goode’s signature campechana, queso, and guacamole. Entree choices include tacos or enchiladas at lunch and fajitas or carnitas at dinner. At dinner, finish with sopapillas, churros, or tres leches. 9005 Katy Freeway; 713-766-3434 or 8865 Six Pines Dr.; 281-826-5150
Even though it's only been open for a couple of weeks, Michael Mina and Ayesha Curry's new restaurant will participate in HRW with a three-course, $45 dinner menu. Start with curry cornbread for the table before choosing from one of three starters: shrimp soup with red curry, avocado and quinoa salad, or an heirloom tomato salad. Entree choices include a 44 Farms sirloin steak, Gulf redfish with garlic fried rice, and a half rack of St. Louis-style ribs; they're served with roasted broccoli and green papaya slaw. For dessert, summer berry tropical shave ice, chocolate cream ice box cake, or Curry's key lime parfait that's topped with Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. 800 Sorella Ct., #940; 713-714-0126
Maison Pucha Bistro
This French restaurant in the Heights will welcome diners for a three-course lunch, brunch, or dinner ($35) during HRW. At dinner, start with Ecuadorian shrimp ceviche, seared foie gras, or beet and goat cheese salad. Entree options include salmon with asparagus risotto, duck with parsnip mousseline, or a petite filet with roasted potatoes. For dessert at all three meals, get the signature black and white chocolate souffle. 1001 Studewood St.; 713-637-4976
Agricole Hospitality’s bar-forward Montrose concept offers both brunch and dinner ($35) HRW menus. Brunch options include black pepper honey biscuits, Caesar salad, a croissant sandwich, and roasted pepper taquitos. At dinner, start with chili clams or pork ribs before moving on to entree options that include a smoked cheeseburger, 44 Farms sirloin with cold somen noodle, or jerk chicken with pickled pineapple. Finish with panna cotta, cheese, or ice cream. 1601 W. Main St.; 713-527-8010
This eclectic restaurant in Sawyer Yards will offer HRW menus during both lunch and brunch. While the lunch menu is still being finalized, the brunch menu offers many appealing choices. Start with biscuits, pop tarts, or muffins. Entree choices include blueberry pancakes, a pulled pork Benedict, and a fried chicken sandwich. Optional sides include bacon, grits, eggs, or hash browns. 2313 Edwards St.; 713-470-6686
Tobiuo Sushi & Bar
Katy’s buzzy new sushi spot aims to make a HRW splash with a four-course, $35 dinner menu. The first course options include amberjack crudo and salmon tartare; next, choose from six pieces of sashimi, four pieces of nigiri, and the signature flying tobiuo roll. Entree choices include a six-ounce 44 Farms ribeye, chicken with cauliflower puree, or miso-glazed salmon. Desserts are light and refreshing: compressed watermelon, lychee ice cream, or shaved ice with a blueberry reduction. 23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd., Suite H130; 281-394-7156