Late Night Eats
Where to eat great late: 10 classy restaurants for night owls (no Whataburgernecessary)
A year ago, my colleague asked me where to take some prominent out-of-town guests to dinner. Their flight was not arriving until 10 p.m., and my coworker didn’t want to take them to a diner or Taco Cabana.
This was a conundrum indeed, as one year ago there were not many “nice” late night places, at least not to my knowledge. Since then, a number of elegant restaurants and bars which keep their kitchens open past normal hours have popped up.
Night owls, your dinners of honey butter chicken biscuits and late night pies are numbered.
With a kitchen that stays open until midnight (or at least 11 p.m. on Monday through Wednesday), continue your partying at the lounge at Soma Sushi with a Molecular Shot, made of mango, jicama and key lime coconut snow. Then, crunch on the crispy Peking duck rolls and slurp down buttery ramen that does not skimp on the pork.
Who is ordering food at this Highland Village steakhouse at 1 a.m.? My guess is River Oaks players and their something on the side.
Sit in the piano bar or snuggle up in a booth in the dining area in this well-known steakhouse that lives up to its name. We love the deconstructed rib eye, in which the heart of the steak is braised in wine and served with a mushroom ragout and my favorite food trend: Roasted bone marrow.
A small campus exists within this chain, consisting of a formal dining room, sports bar, upscale bar and outdoor patio. Your late night guests have the option of pouring their own beers from a personal mini tap while noshing on wings and quesadillas, or they can enjoy their Hong Kong Style Chilean Sea Bass in a quiet atmosphere, with the kitchen open until 1 a.m.
Our favorite is the bacon-wrapped meatloaf with buttery mashed sweet potatoes.
You can dip your truffle-specked, housemade potato chips into the creamy lobster bisque at the Capitol at St. Germain until 1 a.m. while you listen to the live band on the weekends. This renovated ballroom space is a great place to impress your out of town business partners. Capitol's elderflower based cocktails are inventive without being pretentious.
Sink your teeth into the soft and juicy brisket filled gyozas at Nabi Neighborhood Restaurant. Nabi has a boho-chic Berkeley vibe with chalkboard paneled walls and muted colors throughout the aptly named “neighborhood restaurant.”
Their calpis sake cocktail is refreshing and not overly sweet, and from 9 p.m. to midnight, you can try a number of their small bites for less coin — I recommend the cauliflower fritters, thoughtfully accompanied by plum gel.
The owners of BRC Gastropub and Petite Sweets hit the mark again with their new restaurant Liberty Kitchen. People rave about the deviled eggs and lobster with maple butter, and the kitchen is open until midnight on Thursday through Saturday, serving the popular gumbo, mac and cheese and much more.
Local reclaimed wood complements the marble bar where you can down Liberty's own Karbach beers.
The much anticipated downtown location of beloved Phoenicia Specialty Foods market finally opened towards the end of 2011, to the joy of foodies and downtown employees. The restaurant and wine/beer bar is tucked away in the corner of the store and offers a surprisingly warm and elegant vibe that makes you feel like you’re in a restaurant rather than the usual couple of tables in the hot-foods section of Randalls.
Start your meal up until midnight on Thursday through Saturday with dishes like the house queso topped with Middle Eastern kibbeh meat and end it with the can’t-get-enough apple baklava gelato.
It's about time a tapas bar kept Spanish hours. At Convivio, you can get Spanish favorites like pa amb tomaquet (a Catalan version of bruschetta), jamon Iberico, shrimp croquetas and tortilla española until at least 11 p.m.
Of course the heavily Spanish wine menu of cavas, garnachas and tempranillos should impress as well.
You will be hard pressed to find another Houston Japanese restaurant serving their full menu until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Catering to the midtown crowd, Crave offers simple yet fun dishes that will satisfy the masses, such as Kobe beef burgers, onion dumpling soup, mochi ice cream, and of course, sushi.
New chef Benjy Mason’s revamped menu has won me back to this adorable Darwinian eatery. Coffee and cocktails (and coffee cocktails) retain their excellence, and I love the poutine (think fancy fries with brown gravy, pickled peppercorns and cheese curds) and warm green bean salad with poached egg, bacon lardons and sliced pear, available until midnight every day.