As hard as it may be to believe, Houston Restaurant Weeks is drawing to a close. The month-long event that raises money for the Houston Food Bank via prix-fixe menus at almost 300 Houston-area restaurants wraps up on Labor Day.
Part of the event’s appeal, other than the obvious motivation of helping others, is getting a good deal at one of the city’s top dining destinations. HRW offers a particularly good deal at brunch, when $20 is all it takes to get a two or three-course meal. For each brunch meal sold, the restaurant will make a $3 donation to the Food Bank.
With most people looking forward to being off work on Monday, September 3 — and real football still a week away — this weekend seems like a perfect opportunity to enjoy a leisurely midday meal. Putting that HRW savings towards a second cocktail and then enjoying a refreshing nap sounds like the perfect plan.
David Guerrero’s innovative South American restaurant offers a two-course brunch. Start with green plantain empanadas, an Amazon salad (avocado, tomatoes, roasted hazelnuts, etc), or a Peruvian-inspired ceviche. For an entree, opt for a Chilean riff on steak and eggs, a Colombian-style hamburguesa with bacon, cheese, and avocado relish, or Peruvian-style fried rice with shellfish. Served Saturday and Sunday starting at 9 am. 2311 Canal St.; 832-659-0063
Hugo Ortega and Tracy Vaught’s River Oaks institution goes above and beyond for HRW by serving a three-course brunch. Keep things classic with either a summer parfait (Greek yogurt, grapefruit) or a wedge salad. The seven entree choices include a the Korean-inspired “Long Point brunch” (bulgolgi beef cheeks, kim chi grits, eggs), migas, or brioche French toast. For dessert, choose from a summer cobbler of peaches and blueberries, an orange chocolate tart, or sorbet. Served Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm. 1103 S. Shepherd Dr.; 713-521-2239
Oporto Fooding House & Wine
The underrated Midtown restaurant shows a global influence on its two-course menu. Start with salt cod fritters, a faro and kale bowl, or shakshuka, the super trendy dish of baked eggs in a spicy tomato sauce. Entree choices include a vegetarian-friendly mushroom tartine, shrimp and grits, or migas with bacon and linguiça sausage. Sunday Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm. 125 West Gray Ave.; 713-528-0115
Brennan’s of Houston
Few restaurants are better equipped to handle HRW crowds than this Midtown classic. The two-course menu offers many of Brennan’s signature items such as turtle soup, gumbo ya-ya, shrimp and grits, and eggs Benedict. Those looking for something a little lighter could opt for starters like a house salad, peach parfait breakfast bowl, smoked salmon omelette, or baked portabella mushroom. Add sides like bacon or andouille sausage ($7 each) or a demi dessert for $5. Served Saturday from 11 am to 2 pm and Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm. 3300 Smith St.; 713-522-9711
Speaking of Houston classics, this rustic cabin in the Lazybrook/Timbergrove neighborhood remains a popular destination for all sorts of special occasions. Appetizer options include the signature smoked duck and andouille sausage gumbo, chilled sweet corn soup, or grilled shrimp bruschetta. The three entree choices include a classic breakfast platter of eggs, sausage, potatoes, and toast, a buffalo short rib Benedict, or seared red snapper. Feeling extra indulgent? Add a butter-poached lobster tail ($30), fried oysters ($8) or a mini dessert ($3). Served Sunday starting at 10:30 am. 2011 Ella Blvd.; 713-861-8666
The Museum District favorite keep things tidy with its two-course brunch menu. Start with the chili biscuits, a recipe originally developed by chef-owner Chris Williams’ grandmother (the restaurant’s namesake), fried green tomatoes, or watermelon salads. Entree choices include an oxtail omelet, Creole benedict with chopped scallops and andouille sausage, or a croissant French toast with the option of adding three wings for $5 (do it). Served Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm. 5512 La Branch St.; 713-568-2505
No one can accuse Federal Grill owner Matt Brice of offering a skimpy HRW menu; not only does the Washington Avenue-area restaurant offer three courses, the number of choices is almost overwhelming. Of the six starter options, the most-appealing look to be fried oysters, tuna poke, or a classic wedge salad. The seven entree options include chicken fried steak, grilled salmon with polenta cake, or shrimp and grits. For dessert, choose from bourbon bread pudding, a brownie with ice cream, or sweet cream and berries. Served Saturday from 11 am to 3 pm and Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm. 510 Shepherd Dr.; 713-863-7777