Grits have come a long way since being the butt of jokes on The Beverly Hillbillies. After all, when Britney Spears' dad was filmed making her a bowl of cheese grits for breakfast, the only snarky commentary was about his use of Kraft singles.
Which is as it should be. The traditional Southern dish of ground corn and creamy goodness may have humble origins, but with the rising tide of respect for Southern cuisine, grits have earned their due as a food that's both simple and delicious. (And no, they aren't just for breakfast anymore.) For the best versions in town, look no further than these restaurants
Many do shrimp and grits well, but Jamie Zelko's version of the Gulf coast classic earned her a Rising Star award from StarChefs.com. The white cheddar polenta itself verges on the edge of too sweet, but the addition of sweet soy agave nectar at the edges of the grits strikes us as simply sublime.
The version of sprimp and grits by Elouise Adams Jones has been the Houston standard for a decade, incorporating bacon, mushrooms, scallions, and just a hint of spice.
The locally-sourced cresenza cheese grits at Haven are simply not optional for me — luckily, even if I'm not ordering shrimp, I can add them on as a side.
No one fries up Southern favorites quite like The Breakfast Klub, it's true. Though the wings and waffles combo gets more ink, the 'katfish' and grits dish is just as popular and maybe even more revered. Add eggs and a biscuit for the ultimate down-home Southern breakfast.
The version of shrimp and grits by Chris Shepherd gets a bit of a kick from roasted piquillo pepper butter, as well as a tangy goat cheese and bacon. In a word: yum.
Grits in the morning or at night? At Jasper's, in The Woodlands, you don't have to choose. The prosciutto-wrapped shrimp and grits with lemon-thyme butter sauce comes on both the brunch and dinner menus.
The granddaddy of all the Southern flavors making waves all over town, Brennan's still serves some great shrimp and grits, adding marinated sweet peppers, mirlitons, baby arugula, roasted garlic and oven dried tomatoes for some ladies-who-brunch flair.
Taking shrimp and grits to the limit: the bacon is wrapped in prosciutto, the polenta is extra cheesy, and did we mention La Vista adds a little Grand Marnier?
Most grits recipes call for ground corn, but Beaver's takes the slightly more indie approach by using hominy. We dig it.