20 HRW first timers
20 exciting new Houston Restaurant Week options serve up global fare and lively entertainment
Over the weekend, Houston Restaurant Weeks released its initial lineup of participants. The event, which takes from August 1 through Labor Day (Monday, September 4), will feature more than 200 Houston restaurants serving prix-fixe menus at lunch, brunch, and dinner.
For 2023, prices remain the same as last year: with lunch and brunch priced at $25 for a two or three-course meal and dinner priced at $39 or $55 for a three or four-course meal (prices do not include beverages, tax, or tip). In turn, the restaurants will donate $3 for a $25 meal, $5 for a $39 meal, or $7 for a $55 meal to the Cleverley Stone Foundation, the non-profit that operates HRW. In turn, the foundation will make a donation to the Houston Food Bank.
HRW’s founder, the late Cleverley Stone, liked to tout the event as a win-win-win. Restaurants win by turning the formerly slow month of August into a busy one. Diners win by getting to try some of Houston’s most upscale restaurants at a fixed, discounted price. The food bank wins by securing a donation of more than $1 million.
The last 12 months have been a particularly dynamic time for new restaurant openings, and many have elected to participate in HRW for the first time. The list below isn’t a comprehensive guide to every new establishment taking the HRW plunge, but it does give diners a head start on making their plans.
Located in The Woodlands’ Waterway, this Indian fine dining restaurant is serving a three-course, $55 menu. Its six appetizer options include jackfruit samosas, chicken meatballs, and pork belly. The entree options — all of which are served with garlic naan and dal makhani — include butter chicken, prawn curry, and lamb chops ($20 supplement). Finish with one of three desserts.
River Oaks District’s new Italian restaurant will observe its first HRW with a three-course, $55 dinner menu. The five appetizer choices include caprese salad, frito misto, and charred octopus ($7 supplement). Entree options include braised short ribs with polenta, grilled branzino with roasted vegetables, or, for an extra $7, mushroom risotto. Bari’s menu has four dessert options, but go with the mango cheesecake.
Caps Supper Club & Bar
At this restaurant in Briargrove that features live music from 9:30 pm - 1 am every Thursday - Saturday, the three-course, $39 menu features some tempting choices. Options include deviled eggs, berry beet salad, hanger steak, and chicken paillard with rice pilaf. Finish with one of three desserts.
Ciel Restaurant & Bar
Speaking of entertainment, restaurants don’t get much more lively than this establishment near River Oaks District that features pop ups performers by singers and dancers throughout the evening. The three-course, $55 menu starts with options such as calamari tempura, king salmon maki roll, and a salad that can be upgraded with shrimp, chicken, or filet. Entree options include roasted branzino, spaghetti with shrimp (add king crab for $30), or a 10-ounce ribeye for a $35 supplement. Finish with vacherin, a chocolate eclair, or raspberry sorbet that can be upgraded with a dollop of caviar for an additional $15.
This Vietnamese restaurant’s three-course, $39 dinner menu offers all savory courses. Start with summer rolls, egg rolls, or braised pork belly. Next, choose from snow mushroom salad, brown clams in sweet chili fish sauce, and pho nachos. Finish with tofu and mushroom curry, surf and turf fried rice, or whole fried branzino.
Benjy Levit’s French restaurant in Rice Village will serve a three-course, $55 dinner menu. Start with choice of soup or salad before selecting duck confit, scallop lyonnaise, roasted vegetable panisse, or grilled branzino. We suggest selecting the profiteroles for dessert.
This Southern-inspired restaurant in Rice Village will serve a three-course, $39 dinner menu. Selections include buttermilk fried chicken tenders, wagyu sliders, chicken meatballs, cacio e pepe, and shrimp skewers with a coconut curry marinade.
At this California-inspired restaurant in the Montrose Collective development, diners will find a number of choices on the four-course, $55 dinner menu. Start with dishes such as crispy rice and tuna, caviar and chips, red snapper ceviche, and crab and shrimp fried rice. Entree options consist of linguini with claims, roasted chicken, roasted salmon, and the popular cheeseburger. Beet cake, tres leches, or chocolate tart finish the meal.
This Israeli restaurant in Rice Village is also offering diners a four-course, $55 dinner menu along with a three-course lunch menu. At dinner, start with signature dishes such as lamb hummus, felafel, cauliflower couscous, or any three salatim. Entree options at dinner include one of four skewers: chicken, tenderloin, shrimp, or King Oyster mushroom, while lunch features both a felafel sandwich and chicken thigh served with rice or salad. Both menus finish with one of three desserts.
Karne Korean Steakhouse
This Heights restaurant will serve a three-course, $55 menu. Start with favorites like Black Sesame K.F.C., cured pork belly, or tuna tartare ($10 supplement). Entree choices include hanger steak, chuck flap, and fish; all are served with banchan, and sides are available for $8 each. The meal concludes with one of three desserts.
The luxurious Italian steakhouse in the Montrose Collective development with will both a two-course lunch and a three-course, $55 dinner. At lunch, the menu features dishes such as Caesar salad, Tuscan fried chicken, chicken parm, and spaghetti with meatballs. At dinner, the entree choices include a dry-aged NY strip, Texas redfish, and the signature squid ink campanelle with blue crab and uni cream.
The East End’s buzz-worthy new Italian restaurant will serve both a three-course lunch and a four-course, $55 dinner. At lunch, the offerings center around Mimo’s sandwiches and pastas. Dinner features both a pasta course with three selections and entree choices of filet, eggplant or Cornish game hen.
Find a three-course, $55 dinner menu at this Upper Kirby restaurant. Start with chutoro toast, hamachi with compressed melon, or king crab taraba. Entree options include miso cured sea bass, short rib, or sashimi. The meal ends with three dessert choices.
Ojo de Agua
This Mexico City-based restaurant will serve two-course lunch and brunch menus as well as a three-course, $39 dinner. Both lunch and brunch have similar menus with dishes such as tropical ceviche, fruit cup, chilaquiles, and quesadillas. Dinner includes choice of salad to start followed by one of three entrees: tacos (chicken or tofu); tostada with sweet potato and choice of tuna or salmon; and sirloin stuffed with cheese. Finish with guava pancake, peanut butter açaí sorbet scoop, or a chocolate chip cookie.
Travis McShane’s Italian restaurant will serve both a two-course lunch and a three-course, $55 dinner. At lunch, the menu includes a chicken salad sandwich, bucatini carbonara, and arguably Houston’s best Caesar salad. At dinner, the choices include the same starters as long, along with gnocchi, bucatini al’Amatriciana, and the signature roast chicken with salsa verde. Finish with chocolate budino, cookies, or Basque cheesecake.
Located in West Houston, the restaurant’s Nikkei cuisine will be available as both a two-course lunch and a three-course, $55 dinner. Lunch options include spicy salmon maki, pork gyoza, a sashimi bento box, and a pork katsu bento. At dinner, start with ceviche or a kampachi tiradito. Entree choices include lomo saltado with beef tenderloin, vegan saltado with mushrooms, and shrimp mac and cheese. Churros, ice cream, and bread pudding constitute the dessert choices.
Underbelly Hospitality’s new Italian restaurant will serve a three-course, $55 dinner. The menu includes two salads, shrimp in XO sauce, buccatini cacio e pepe, short rib risotto, and pan seared snapper. Finish with one of three desserts.
The Upper Kirby French restaurant will serve a two-course lunch and a three-course, $55 dinner. At lunch, chef Philippe Schmit’s offerings include onion soup, tarte flambe, steak frites, and Flash Cooked Salmon. The dinner menu has similar starters to lunch along with entrees such as bouillabaisse, beef short rib, and crispy salmon. Choose either of the classic French desserts — crepe suzette or floating island — over the bread pudding.
Chef David Cordua’s restaurant in the Ion building in Midtown will serve an impressive four-course lunch and a three-course, $39 dinner. Lunch includes an empanada, a salad, five different entree choices, and dessert. At dinner, the menu includes Cordua signatures such as truffle twinkies and ceviche. Entree options include empanadas, chicken shawarma or beef tacos, chicken and mushroom pasta, and churrasco bites. The restaurant offers three desserts, but the tres leche stands out.
This favorite of Houston’s foodie Facebook groups will serve a two-course lunch and a three-course, $55 dinner. At lunch, start with choice of soup or salad before selecting one of three entrees: penne with sausage, grilled chicken with sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese, or lasagna. The dinner entrees consist of lasagna, grilled salmon, or breaded, baked chicken. Finish with cheesecake, key lime pie, or flourless chocolate cake.