As Houston rolls into Memorial Day weekend, celebrations abound. Some herald the steamy summer, while others mark anniversaries of much-loved bars and restaurants. The upside to so much revelry is that it means there's a lot of eat, drink, and be merry about for Houston food and drink lovers.
Here, then, are this week's top food and drink events.
Tuesday, May 21, and Wednesday, May 22
Tenth anniversary dinners at Kata Robata
In Japanese, omakase means "a meal consisting of dishes selected by the chef." As Kata Robata celebrates its 10th anniversary, 10 seats will be available each evening for a 12-course dinner featuring some of chef Manabu Horiuchi's favorites (the beloved "Chef Hori" was recently named Chef of the Year at CultureMap's Tastemaker Awards). The cost is $150 per person, plus tax and gratuity, and includes Duchman wines and Genji sake. For reservations and more information, email the restaurant. UPDATE: This event is sold out.
Wednesday, May 22
A Texas-sized welcome at Armadillo Palace
Restaurateur Levi Goode will welcome Denver chef Troy Guard to Houston at this one-night only affair. The menu will feature both Goode family favorites like mesquite-grilled oysters, rotisserie prime rib, and crawfish tamales as well as some of the dishes Guard will serve at Guard and Grace, his luxurious steakhouse that's opening in the Allen Center downtown later this year. Those dishes include octopus escabeche, Colorado lamb sliders, and pickled Gulf shrimp. Tickets ($85) may be purchased via Eventbrite.
Thursday, May 23
TRUTH BBQ Takeover at Fluff Bake Bar
TRUTH BBQ pit master Leonard Botello IV brought his already successful Austin business to Houston, opening a spot in The Heights back in January. On Thursday, May 23, he tosses Houston's "Sugar Hooker" (Fluff bar owner Rebecca Masson) out of her kitchen as part of Fluff's Thursday Chef Takeover series, serving up signature items, such as Oaxacan cheese sausage, brisket burnt end deviled eggs and crispy skin pork belly, beef cheek tacos, and birthday cake ice cream cake. Reservation times start at 6 pm, and the cost is $45 per person, plus gratuity and reservations may be made online.
The Wines of Ian Brand at Prego
Monterrey winemaker Ian Brand's award-winning Spanish- and French-inspired wines will be paired with dishes from Prego for this four-course dinner. Dishes include bruschetta with housemade goat cheese and roasted crimini and oyster mushrooms, served alongside the 2016 Le P'tit Paysan Le P'tit Pape; and eggplant, zucchini, and potatoes braised with tomatoes, peppers, and herbs paired with the 2015 I. Brand & Family Mouvedre; and grilled lamb chops with sage truffle butter served with the 2015 I. Brand & Family Cabernet Franc. The cost is $125 per person, plus tax and gratuity. There's a reception that starts at 6:30 pm; dinner begins at 7 pm. For reservations, email the restaurant.
Friday, May 24
Memorial Day Specials at Oceaniare Seafood Room
To hail the holiday weekend, the Galleria seafood favorite offers three days of a special three-course menu, aired with a bottle of La Crema Monterey Chardonnay or Il Poggione Rosso di Toscana. The pre-fixe menu includes Oceanaire signatures such as tuna poke, stuffed fish Florentine and Baked Alaska. Diners can also enjoy $1 oysters in the bar all day Sunday and Monday, May 26 and 27. The cost is $70 per person, plus tax and gratuity.
Saturday, May 25
Wine Tasting at French Country Wines
Kick off Memorial Day weekend with a sampling of the wines of France at this popular Upper Kirby retail spot. Tastings run from noon to 6 pm, and feature unique bottles from French grower producers, many not available anywhere else in the city. As a bonus, several will be marked 20 percent off for retail sales. The tastings are free. 2433 Bartlett St.;713-993-9500.
Aperol Patio Party at Milano Bar
Jump into summer with refreshing cocktails made with one of Italy's favorite aperitifs. The Love at First Spritz event kicks off at 4 pm and features Aperol Spritzes and complimentary Aperol and Campari samplers fashioned by Milano's mixologists. They samples are first-come-first-served and are available until they're gone. The bar's regular happy hour bites and drinks will be available at their usual prices.
Party Like a Seastar at Big Star
Bar Big Star Bar is turning 10 and throwing a sea-themed party to mark the milestone. Beginning at 4 pm, an epic party welcoming mermaids, mermen, sea captains, scallywags, and all manner of ocean lovers kicks off with beer, booze, food and music, running 'til the wee hours. Odds are there will be surprises and giveaways.