Recently, a CultureMap reader inquired about the CC designation that’s included on some of the menus for participants in Houston Restaurant Weeks. The website explains that “V” is for “Vegetarian,” “VG” is for “Vegan,” and GF is for “Gluten Free, ” but it doesn't explain “CC.”
What does it mean, the reader inquired. We turned to HRW organizer Katie Stone for an explanation.
“'CC' stands for Cleverley's Choice,” Stone writes in email. “As a way to honor my mom I asked the restaurants this year to create a clean, green, (ideally) plant-based meal on their HRW that is a healthy choice that someone of any age or health condition could enjoy, while not being concerned about oils, saturated fats, chemicals, preservatives, etc.”
Essentially, CC dishes are the antidote to last week’s list of HRW’s best meat options. Since the designation is new for 2020, not many restaurants have embraced it yet. Some dishes that probably meet the “CC” criteria aren’t labeled as such, but enough have created CC options to merit a quick list.
Here’s a few highlights from the available options, including a couple of picks from Stone herself. Remember, HRW, the annual event that raises money for the Houston Food Bank, lasts until Labor Day (Monday, September 7); hopefully, any hurricane-related disruptions to this year’s schedule end quickly.
Brennan’s of Houston
Stone notes that eggplant was one of her mother’s favorite vegetables, so she would certainly approve of “The Cleverley Eggplant Pontchartrain” at this Creole institution. The dish features roasted eggplant that’s then fried and served with eggplant “caviar.” Starting with salmon tataki and finishing with prickly pear sorbet look like the lightest options on the three-course, $45 menu.
Fielding’s Local Kitchen + Bar
Up in The Woodlands, this Mediterranean-inspired restaurant has CC options for every course on both its three-course, $45 dinner menu and its two-course, $20 brunch menu. At dinner, start with either watermelon gazpacho or cauliflower hummus before an entree of truffle falafel balls. Polenta coconut pudding finishes the meal on a sweet note. At brunch, the cauliflower hummus is joined by coconut rice grits.
Frank’s Americana Revival
Another of Stone’s picks, this River Oaks restaurant has been participating in HRW since it started. CC options on its three-course, $35 dinner menu include local tomato and watermelon salad and mirliton squash stuffed with quinoa. Banana pudding may not be a CC dish, but you’ve earned a treat.
Maison Pucha Bistro
This French restaurant in the Heights has at least one CC option for every course on its three-course, $35 dinner menu as well as its three-course, $20 lunch and brunch menus. At dinner, the choices consist of tomato gazpacho, vegetable bouillabaisse, and a fruit medley with lime sorbet. At lunch and brunch, the menus include hummus and vegetable terrine, Thai salad with tofu, and the fruit medley.
McCormick & Schmick’s
All three locations of the Landry’s-owned, upscale seafood restaurant feature a skillet-blackened cauliflower steak on its three-course, $45 dinner menu. To start, choose the arugula spinach salad (dressing on the side) to save calories for New York-style cheesecake or chocolate silk pie.
Tribute at the Houstonian
The hotel restaurant that honors three of Houston’s major culinary traditions, Texan, Mexican, and Creole/Cajun, has a CC entree on its three-course, $35 dinner menu. Enchiladas Veganas are filled with cauliflower and potato and topped with salsa roja and avocado crema. The restaurant’s tomato salad would probably be CC-compliant if someone skipped the bacon jam, but what would the fun be in that?