Foodie News

Where to eat right now: 10 rockin' Houston restaurants

Where to eat right now: 10 rockin' Houston restaurants

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Couscous topped with grilled lamb and vegetables at Casablanca Couscous and Grill Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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The Eggman Sandwich from the Eatsie Boys food stand Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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Sushi rice topped with creamy uni and rich lardo at Kata Robata Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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The Punta del Este seafood salad at Tango & Malbec Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
News_Ruthie_Vic & Anthony's_Crab Steak
Steak with softshell crab, a summer special at Vic & Anthony's Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
Jamie Zelko's famous Cap'n-Crunch-battered fried chicken Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
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News_Ruthie_Tango_Malbec_Punta Del Esta Salad
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Need a lunch or dinner recommendation? Here are 10 hot places to try. Some are new restaurants entirely, while others are seasoned venues with new offerings, but all are worth a visit.

Kata Robata
After the Just August Project, Seth Siegel-Gardner popped up again, joining Manabu Horiuchi in the kitchen at Kata Robata. The pair is absolutely killing it right now, melding their distinct backgrounds into a menu that’s somehow seamlessly smooth.

Grilled sushi rice topped with uni and togarashi lardo? Toro tartar with wasabi vinaigrette? Dehydrated short ribs — on top of short ribs?

Yes, yes, and yes.

Vic & Anthony’s
Although it’s my vote for best steakhouse in Houston, Vic & Anthony’s goes well beyond a good ribeye. Chef Carlos Rodriguez turns out creative burger specials most Fridays — like a divine macaroni-and-cheese burger or a dynamite lamb burger — and recently they’ve tried a few seasonal favorites, like cheddar beer soup with homemade brats.

Oh yeah, it’s also got the best crab cake around.

Melange Creperie
Quite simply, you won’t find a better or fresher crepe in town than at Sean Carroll’s captivating crepe cart. Follow him on Twitter for his daily locations (usually in front of Mango’s) and the ever-changing menu of creative crepes.

Recent specials include local strawberries with Meyer lemon curd, Bosc pear with goat cheese and chard, ham and egg with Gruyere, and palak paneer.

Zelko Bistro
Chef Jamie Zelko opened her namesake new restaurant last summer, converting a quaint home in the Heights into a comfort food haven. And while the place has always been a pleaser, it seems to be running on all cylinders these days.

It’s firstly famous for an outrageous fried chicken that’s breaded in Captain Crunch cereal, but also serves up fantastic fried pickles, meatloaf and shrimp ‘n grits.

Gatlin’s BBQ
Located in a tiny converted house in the Heights, Gatlin’s is an awesome newcomer to the Houston BBQ scene. The smoky brisket exudes flavor, gently pulling apart with the prodding of a plastic fork.

The ribs are even better — a lightly charred outside encasing a tender interior. As for sides, the coleslaw and beans are standard, but the dirty rice is outstanding.

Latin Bites Café
This little newcomer in the Warehouse District offers a modern take on Peruvian food in a homey atmosphere with pleasantly outgoing service. Latin Bites Cafe is BYOB and tiny, so be sure to make a reservation before you go … The place fills up lightning fast.

Empanadas and arepas are a must, but the chifa and sashimi-like ceviche are equally outstanding.

Casablanca Couscous and Grill
What a treat to have a fun Moroccan restaurant in Houston! The traditional couscous dishes are hot, fluffy, and beautifully flavorful. But don’t miss the outstanding tajines, which feature gorgeous meats braised in a sauce of cinnamon, peppers, and turmeric; they’re usually topped with prunes and caramelized onions, adding a hint of sweet to the savory.

Tango & Malbec
This new restaurant on Sage by the Galleria concentrates on a spectrum of specialties from South America. While the heavy focus is Argentine, chef Mariana Heckler relies on influences from the entire Rio de la Plata region — so in addition to the Argentine steaks and morcillas, you’ll also find Venezuelan ceviches, Chilean carpaccios and Uruguayan seafood salads.

Branch Water Tavern
Go for dinner, but be sure to stay for dessert. Why?

Because in December GQ's resident restaurant critic gave Branch Water Tavern a spot on his “Five Best Desserts” list, lauding chef David Grossman's sticky toffee pudding: a small Bundt cake topped with chopped dates and a caramel-rum sauce and served with homemade pistachio ice cream and a small piece of pistachio brittle.

Eatsie Boys
Three Houston natives conceptualized and began this new mobile eatery. The menu includes things like Pork Snuggies (steamed Asian buns stuffed with pork belly, cilantro, and hoisin) and an Eggman Sandwich (a two-hander of eggs, maple smoked bacon, and cheese on a challah roll.

Find the Eatsie Boys at the Eastside and City Hall farmers markets, or follow them on Twitter for the location of their new food truck.