Throughout the Astros playoff run, Houstonians have come together at sports bars to root for the home team. In an age when so many forms of what used to be called popular culture are narrowly pitched to certain groups — ie, does anyone under 25 or over 45 care about Stranger Things? — the experience of coming together around something positive has been a lovely demonstration of both civic pride and a force strong enough to unite a diverse city behind a common goal.
While we’re basking in the afterglow of a World Series victory, the time has come to get back to more normal routines. At CultureMap, that means brunch on the weekends.
For those who share that sentiment, read on. While people won’t always agree on what makes for a satisfying meal, hopefully the options below offer enough choices to make just about anyone happy.
Chef Ryan Lachaine told me he hasn’t served brunch since his Stella Sola days, but Riel’s brunch menu demonstrates a good grasp on what diners like to eat. Consider the country ham doughnuts that are filled with chopped up pieces of smoky Benton’s ham and surrounded in a creamy Comte cheese sauce or the Benedict covered in a generous heaping of jumbo lump crab.
One suggestion: the dinner menu’s hanger steak swaps its signature pierogis for two fried eggs but keeps the haricot verts. Why not keep the pierogis and lose the green beans? Anyone who wants veggies at brunch can order the little gem lettuce salad that’s a creative twist on the classic wedge.
1927 Fairview Street
After launching brunch earlier this year at the Montrose location, Cane Rosso chefs Matt Wommack and Jonathan Jones have tweaked their offerings for fall. New offerings include an apple pie waffle with a whiskey apple compote and a riff on shrimp and grits that uses a crispy polenta cake.
Of course, the restaurant still serves authentic Neapolitan style pizza. Go for a classic or try one of the more creative variations like the Smoke House (topped with brisket from The Pit Room) or an elotes-inspired pie topped with roasted corn. Best of all, the location’s massive covered patio offers an ideal setting to enjoy fall’s cooler temperatures.
4306 Yoakum Boulevard
Chef Adam Dorris has rolled out a brunch menu at this eclectic neighborhood spot in the Heights. Sweet potato beignets, a croissant with jam, pain au chocolate, and the restaurant’s acclaimed brownie should satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth. Savory offerings include breakfast tacos, a bavette steak with eggs, and a grilled chicken sandwich with gochujang aioli.
Dorris also offers his take on avocado toast — served here with whipped goat ricotta, country ham, and preserved lemon vinaigrette, as well as a slice quiche. All of them can be faired with a cocktail or craft beer from Presidio’s tap wall and enjoyed on either of the restaurant’s two patios.
911 W 11th Street
This champagne-fueled River Oaks restaurant has been packed since it opened in August. At brunch, the restaurant mixes both lighter fare like an egg white omelette with crab and a seafood salad with more decadent bites like a Scotch egg with caviar creme fraiche and pork belly crepes.
Whatever one orders, the restaurant’s wallet-friendly wine markups, extensive selection of champagne, and covered patio make ideal components of a leisurely Sunday.
2300 Westheimer Road
Restaurateur Claire Smith’s new concept in the space that formerly housed Heights institution Shade is rapidly winning fans thanks to its stylish dining room and and chef Kent Domas’ European-inspired fare. At brunch, the options begin with a selection of house baked pastries including a pecan cinnamon roll and a blueberry muffin.
Keep things classic with eggs Benedict, Cobb salad, or challah French toast. Feeling more like lunch? Choose from a double patty bacon cheeseburger, pozole, or BLT. Regardless of one’s entree, a full selection of cocktails and wines by-the-glass will ensure a relaxed afternoon.
250 W 19th Street
Mexican-inspired cuisine, a well-chosen selection of craft beer, and affordable cocktails have proven to be a winning combination at this Spring Branch spot that unites former Hay Merchant manager Kyle Pierson with chef Madeline Cabezut Herd and business partner Amanda Mixon. At brunch, those influences manifest themselves in dishes like Horchata French toast, chilaquiles, and the restaurant’s instant classic take on a cheesesteak that seasons the meat like fajitas and covers the whole thing in queso.
Bloody Marys, mimosas, and frozen margaritas — not to mention a solid whiskey selection — are all available to pair with any of the entrees. Prices are reasonable, too; none of the individual entrees cost more than $16.
7710 Long Point Road
Sure, nigiri and sashimi are on the menu during Ka’s brunch, but the restaurant also uses its midday offerings to riff on American brunch classics. Instead of chicken wings and a waffle, Ka serves pork “wings” and with Japanese-style pancakes. French toast gets a hit of Chinese five spice powder. Even the avocado toast has sesame seeds.
Well-priced cocktails and one of Houston’s better whiskey selections (especially Asian whiskeys) make Ka a winner at all times of day.
1901 N. Shepherd Drive
As its name implies, chicken takes center stage at this new concept from the Woodlands-based Fielding’s Culinary Group. Of course, the options include a chicken and a biscuit, as well as a French omelet, chicken and chorizo hash, and fried chicken with a cornbread waffle. Fans of chicken liver mousse should definitely order it here; chef Edel Goncalves’ French training comes through in its incredibly creamy texture.
4223 Research Forest Drive The Woodlands
Although chef John Sheely has parted ways with the Montrose neighborhood restaurant, its operations continue with Sheely’s now former business partner Chris Ray and his former sous chef Cody Anderson. With that sort of continuity, expect Lowbrow’s brunches to remain incredibly popular.
Go classically Texan with either chicken fried steak and eggs or a Texas-shaped waffle. Smoked salmon with rye toast points serves as either a lighter option or a shareable appetizer. Brunch cocktails and an expanded, cleaned up patio make it easy to linger during pleasant weather.
1601 W Main Street