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I've been here for three years, and I swear I haven't even scratched the surface. I love the casual, but buzzy dining room set against the restaurant's precision service. It isn't just the long bone ribeye and the Baller Board, either. Like at Alekos, I don't mind putting full trust in Lashkari to deliver me the most flavorful representations of what he does best, South Asian food. It's a great date night, a great random weeknight visit, a great friend spot—it hits all the marks.
That's bliss, baby. Lankford has the best two-egg breakfast in the city, plus Saturday is when you get biscuits and gravy. I was raised on meaty pasta dishes, TV dinners, and Friday night pizza, so I'm not sure why I gravitated toward Southern home cooking, but nevertheless, here I am in Houston. This is a great neighborhood restaurant. Lucille's is the best of my favorite childhood meal. I've split them into two lists of 10—the first capturing the spots I'll visit again and again for one reason or another think of these as my essential restaurantsand the second capturing my absolute, locked-down top 10, at least as of July 1, I'll cheat for a second: The Cold-Fashioned, a drink, is the main reason I go to Better Luck, but ultimately I'm a big fan of the Justin Yu and Bobby Heugel partnership, and this nails the casual side of that connection.
Look, the service is wonderful, the lobster pot pie is absolutely something you should get, I'd trust anything Aaron Bludorn does but especially quail and chicken, and you can get full just eating all of the oysters. It's a food city.
Go to a farm once in a while. Himalaya reminds me of my favorite ever meal, when the owner of Alekos, a locals-mostly restaurant in Crete, Greece, just kept sending out incredible dishes without a menu.
If I want pasta, this is where I'm going. We have to keep that up. You'll be singing along quietly to the music, maybe chatting with someone at the table next to you, and pondering whether you really want to splurge on some wet-aged steak you should, and I love the zabuton.
That's all I need.
Get takeout. If you have the means, make a reservation so you can sip house vermouth in the lounge and study Felipe Riccio's fantastically composed plates like tuna ventresca and beef rib with supple beet pave. It's a night you won't soon forget. Get to know a bartender somewhere in Houston because, I swear, your eating and drinking knowledge will improve substantially.
More family-friendly: Saint Arnold Brewing Co. Hard to say. I love fun. Keep it casual or go bigger than big—the choice is yours. Can't do it Part of me wants to see what Kaiser Lashkari's food looks like in a spacious, airy dining room with a patio.
Roegels is the pig boss who also makes a damn good brisket. I did the fried chicken once, and you should do it some time too. For my birthday I went to La Lucha, sat on the patio, drank a beer, and ate a dozen oysters and fries with that insanely good smoked oyster mayo.
I can go with hour sous vide pork belly or a melt-in-your-mouth wagyu katsu sando, or maybe I want whimsy and the miso lobster mac and cheese. They do it all pretty darn well, especially that macaroni and cheese, and especially those ribs, and especially whatever crazy special they cook up.
If on a Saturday morning we're all awake and feeling good and hungry, and we can make the drive over, we'll get to Lankford. Here's why Kata rules: You can build your own experience.
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I've written a lot about Bludorn. I like Pinkerton's for all of it plus the drinks.
Martin Stayer makes some of the happiest food in town, like the dilly bread, the crispy chickpeas, and the brie plate always the brie plate. Sit in the center of Chris Shepherd's ultimate dining room, and you'll get it. Just go and enjoy the evening. Most of me doesn't, though, because then you lose a lot of what makes Himalaya special.
Great breakfasts and a fun-lunch vibe with those big burgers and lots of space for the whole family. Elliot Roddy brings excitement and care into this small space; I'd love to see what he could do with a big platform. Anything with corn is a must. But seriously, Tamales Don Pepe has great breakfast options the tacos are first rate and makes killer tamales.
From reikina’s artful tasting menus to railway heights’ stunning debut.
This is where I'll take the kids every time. Go for the butter burgers and mushroom empanadas, the crawfish rolls and the caviar tots. Once every few months I just want to get a table outside, order the migas in my opinion, the greatest breakfast dish everand have my cup of coffee refilled about seven times.
Here's a good start—these are my favorite restaurants in Houston. You can get a drink whiskey base, preferably and charcuterie and have a ball. Also, have you had that fried chicken? I've had enough standout dishes at Hu's Cooking to write a book about.
It's small, it's friendly, and it epitomizes what makes Houston food awesome in that you can drive just a few minutes and find another spot you'll want to be near forever. I trust Stayer's ever-changing menu, I trust the fantastic wine list, and I trust Sarah Troxell and team to make me a damn good cocktail. Or sit at the bar—you'll get it there too.
Blood Bros.? That's it.
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Also, they're relatively local to me, and sometimes that alone is worth the endorsement. Visit your favorite restaurants, please, and try new ones too. Oh, yes, the pies kick butt.
There was the night with my wife at the pass, the first time I ate those Nancy cakes but fell even harder for the lamb dumplings. Of course, La Lucha also has awesome fried chicken, a great burger, deviled eggs, that stupidly delicious crawfish bread, and many more treats. The turkey club here slaps, and the Thai chili ribs are a lot of fun.
It's fun. Or maybe I want the imported orecchiette giorgione last Choosing a dish at Giacomo's is like choosing a favorite kid. The service is second to none. What a gem. And it has to happen in that tiny place with full tables and lots of chatter. Eat, and eat well. Big dinner? The dining room straddles the line of super casual and "I probably should put on a nice shirt," and that's the kind of dining room I'll visit all the time. I will always root for the little guy—the husband and wife who are parents and have a dream to make seriously delicious food and awesome drinks for all of their new friends.
Drop in for a weekend and you'll find high-end fancy restaurants, the perfect date night, the perfect celebration spot, neighborhood establishments that'll beat other cities' neighborhood establishments in a fight, and so many jewels tucked into every crevice of this wild, lawless maze of concrete. My favorite meal growing up was fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and buttermilk biscuits. The wine list is something to behold just ask them for recommendations.
Please keep that up. If the slightly more formal Penny Quarter had survived the worst of the pandemic, then I would've probably put it on this list too.
If I want ramen, there's the irresistible lobster and crab ramen. I love the fried green tomatoes, I love the catfish and grits, and man, do I love that yardbird. Houston is an outstanding food city. Just about everything is made in house, like that pappardelle ai funghi e gorgonzola, which is among my last-meal choices.
The dining room is cool and always abuzz, and chef Manabu Horiuchi has more ideas than I've had dinners in my life. March represents something Houston needed badly: A restaurant that's going to cost a pretty penny because it is pretty as can be, with execution to match. Go to your local farmers market. Let's be real: It's impossible to pick barbecue places.
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Go every few months—I demand of you. But, man, give me the Party Melt for lunch, or maybe some sprouts for snack time. Some musts: beef in garlic sauce with buns, sweet-skinned duck, popcorn chicken with veggies, three cups tofu, spicy shabu-shabu lamb with spearmint, shrimp fried rice, sliced beef in Szechuan hot chili oil.