11 HRW newcomers
Neyow’s Creole Cafe is no longer participating in the event, founder Cleverly Stone tells CultureMap.
Restaurant enthusiasts all over Houston, circle July 15. That’s the day the Houston Restaurant Weeks website is updated with this year’s menus.
Organized by TV and radio host Cleverley Stone, the month-long dining event, which runs from August 1 until Labor Day (September 2), features more than 250 participating restaurants that run special two- and three-course menus at set price points of $20 (lunch and brunch) and either $35 or $45 (dinner). Each meal contributes a set donation of between $3 and $7 to the Houston Food Bank.
All those small donations add up — participating restaurants raised more than $2 million last year. As Stone likes to say, HRW is a win for restaurants that have turned one of the year’s slowest months into one of their busiest, a win for diners who get to try some of the city’s most popular establishments at a discount, and a win for the Food Bank, which has received more than $14.7 million since 2003.
One thing to keep in mind is that the almost 150 restaurants included in the site on launch day are not the final list. More will be added between now and August 1. In addition, some restaurants are confirmed to participate in the event but are still finalizing menus.
The list below offers some of our top picks of first-time participants with menus that are currently posted to the HRW website.
B.B. Italia Kitchen & Bar
B&B Butchers has been the top HRW donor for the past couple of years, so it should come as no surprise that its Italian-inspired sister restaurant in the Memorial area is offering both a two-course lunch and $35, three-course dinner that are full of compelling choices. At lunch, start with a variety of soup and salad options before selecting an entree such as pepperoni pizza, seven different pastas, or one of four entrees, including chicken parm.
At dinner, the choices are even more extensive. The 10-appetizer options include meatballs, veggie plates, and the signature bacon parmigiana. In the unlikely event that the 14 entree options don’t seem compelling, diners may opt for veal scallopini or filet mignon for an additional charge. End the meal with one of three desserts. 14795 Memorial Dr.
Bisou Continental Cuisine
The stylish River Oaks District restaurant is offering a two-course lunch and a three-course, $45 dinner. Lunch options include crab beignets and beef carpaccio to start, with steak frites and roast chicken as entrees. Dinner choices are similar but will presumably include heartier portions, plus the addition of dessert. 4444 Westheimer
Eugene’s Gulf Coast Cuisine
Although this successor to Danton’s has yet to open its doors, the restaurant does plan to participate in HRW with a three-course, $35 dinner menu. Choose from starters such as wedge salad or seafood gumbo. Entree options include salmon bianca (grilled salmon filet), oysters Kyle (sautéed in lemon garlic butter and spices), and shrimp Alfredo. For dessert, keep things classic with white chocolate bread pudding, key lime pie, or creme brûlée. 1985 Welch St.
Agricole Hospitality’s eclectic EaDo restaurant will offer HRW menus at lunch, brunch, and dinner ($35). Brunch dishes include Texas peach salad, slow-cooked pork ribs, eggs Benedict, and crispy chicken biscuit. At lunch, starters include butterbean hummus and marinated cucumbers; entrees consist of eggplant Parmesan, a cheeseburger, and a crispy chicken chopped salad.
The dinner menu features several of the dishes that helped Indianola earn acclaim as one of 2018’s best new restaurants. Seasonally-appropriate starters include fig toast and an heirloom tomato salad. Continue with a sirloin steak made with beef from 44 Farms, rainbow trout with tomato salsa Veracruz, or pappardelle pasta with roasted eggplant and ricotta. Of the three dessert choices, chocolate trifle seems like the most compelling. 1201 St Emanuel St.
Head to this casual seafood spot in the Heights for modern, Gulf Coast-inspired fare. The three-course, $35 menu starts with options such as shrimp and pork belly dumplings, chicken and sausage gumbo, or wood-roasted oysters ($5 supplement). Entree options include the restaurant’s signature fried chicken, its Avalon Diner-inspired pharmacy burger, and corn ravioli. Dessert options include two different bread puddings, but we recommend the soft serve. 1801 N. Shepherd Dr.
The globally inspired Heights restaurant is serving three courses at both lunch and as part of a $35 dinner menu. At lunch, start with the signature carrots over carrots appetizer (grilled carrots with carrot hummus), pozole, or tequenos (melted cheese wrapped in dough); entree choices include two different pasta and chicken arepas. For dinner, the meal starts with one of three vegetable small plates; entree options include pasta bolognese, grilled salmon, or seared pork. Finish with peach cobbler or passion fruit mousse, or chocolate mousse. 927 Studewood St.
Neyow’s Creole Cafe
Diners who haven’t visited the New Orleans-based Creole restaurant yet may try it during HRW, either for a three-course lunch or a three-course, $35 dinner. Lunch includes staples like jazzy wings, crawfish balls, red beans (with choice of fried chicken, pork chops, or sausage), and Southern fried chicken. Dinner options include the legendary chargrilled oysters, a seafood combination platter, and grilled chicken pasta. Dessert choices for both meals consist of bread pudding, beignet sticks, and praline pound cake. 6356 Richmond Ave.
Restaurateur Shanon Scott always offered a compelling HRW menu at Sud Italia, and he continues that practice at its Roman-inspired successor. The two-course lunch menu starts with Italian staples like fried mozzarella, arancini, and meatballs; entree choices include three different pastas, breaded chicken breast, and a salmon filet.
At dinner, the three-course, $35 menu follows the Italian tradition of antipasti (with the same appetizers as lunch), primi (choose from four different pastas), and secondi (entrees such as breaded chicken breast, seafood soup, and short rib stew). Desserts aren’t listed on the HRW website, but expect them to be available for an additional charge. 2347 University Blvd.
This Tex-Mex restaurant’s $35, three-course menu features its take on lots of classic dishes. Start with chicken flautas, black bean nachos, or campechana. Entree options include cheese enchiladas, tacos al carbon (chicken, beef, or pork), and pork belly tacos. Finish the meal with chocolate flan, tres leches, or pecan pralines. 1801 N. Shepherd Dr.
Since last year’s HRW, chef Austin Simmons converted Hubbell & Hudson Bistro into Tris, a more personal, contemporary restaurant named after his daughter. The restaurant will serve both lunch and a three-course, $45 dinner. Choices on the two-course lunch menu include blueberry and tomato salad and shrimp choice to start with entree options that include shrimp Alfredo, an akaushi beef French dip sandwich, and turkey Cobb salad.
Dinner starts with akaushi and lamb meatballs, sea bass ceviche tostada, or the blueberry and tomato salad salad. Entree choices include blackened redfish with crispy fingerling potatoes, chili-rubbed pork chop with jalapeño polenta, and steak frites (upgrade to an eight-ounce tenderloin for an additional $25). Finish the meal with lemon cake, banana pudding, or chocolates. 24 Waterway Ave. (The Woodlands)
The luxurious Indian restaurant has made a splash in Upper Kirby, and HRW provides an opportunity to sample many of its best dishes, courtesy of a three-course lunch or dinner ($45) menu. Lunch starters include chicken tikka, avocado and mango salad, and sweet potato and sprouts chaat; the six entree choices include la jawab maas (stewed lamb with caramelized onions), tari wala murgh (shrimp, coconut curry), and kadai gobi (cauliflower in tomato sauce).
Dinner starts with a couple of kebab options then proceeds with one of six entree choices, including paneer pasanda (cheese with spinach), Goan shrimp curry, and murgh do pyaza (chicken cooked with onions, mint, and spices). Finish with gulab jamun, Indian ice cream, or chai latte panna cotta. 3300 Kirby Dr.