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"Texas in another time."

Image: Alice Levitt

Like much of Houston, my friends have been abuzz lately about State Of Grace, so when date night came around the River Oaks restaurant was at the top of my list. As a healthy foodie, I always do my due diligence, though, and checked out the menu online before making a reservation to make sure they would have at least a few healthy options I could enjoy. Turns out the menu is a healthy diner's dream, a veritable buffet of kale, fresh seafood, quinoa, strawberries, lean chicken, soft-shell crab and roasted carrots, just to name a few standout ingredients. Practically every menu item has a healthy twist to it and this dietitian appreciated the options.

Another reason I was looking forward to trying out State of Grace was the décor. Their website says, "Welcome to Texas in another time," and with bright white walls; giant windows with luxe, heavy drapes; leather seating and enough antlers on the wall to make any gameskeeper proud, I was basically in Southern heaven. We made our reservation on Sunday afternoon for a Wednesday evening meal and they were already almost fully booked, but the wait is to be expected given Houstonian’s excitement to get a spot within the gold and wood-accented walls. Once inside, the loud and lively dining room was definitely the place to be, even in the middle of the week.

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Another healthy State of Grace menu item, snapper crudo.

Image: Alice Levitt

The seafood tower came highly recommended from a friend and didn’t disappoint. We ordered the small tower, which came with fresh oysters, shrimp, crabmeat, lobster and different dipping sauces to please every palate and we left nothing on our plates. My husband is a big eater and enjoys helping me ‘do research’ so he also ordered the hearth-grilled Spanish octopus and for my research purposes I got a bite. The warm appetizer was dressed with unique flavors like Thai curry and peanut and I would definitely order one for myself next time. Other starters I really wanted to try but resisted due to portion control included burrata with sweet pea hummus, cured black olives and snap peas, as well as the Louisiana strawberry salad. 

For my main course, I played it safe and ordered the halibut with grilled artichokes and white asparagus. I loved every bite of the dish, which was light enough to really enjoy the halibut without the flavor being hidden behind a heavy sauce. My husband loved the garganelli pasta with king crab, a must for pasta lovers, even if it's not a home run in the health department.

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The legendary smoked chocolate sundae is worth a few extra laps tomorrow.

Image: Alice Levitt

Lastly, we did split a dessert because, you know, "research." I am usually not a marshmallow person but the smoked chocolate sundae with Graham crackers and toasted meringue was one of the best desserts I have ever tried. But it wasn't entirely sinful: We really appreciated the smaller portion size, which was just enough for each person to have three to five bites. After eating everything we had eaten, a few bites was just enough to top off this meal.

State of Grace is a higher price point, so it might not be a restaurant you can eat at everyday but for a special occasion or a date night, it won’t disappoint. I really enjoyed the unique and thoughtful menu items, the freshness of the ingredients and the smaller portions, which made my indulgences feel as small as the dishes. This foodie will definitely be back: There were way too many menu items I left behind without trying.

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Editor’s Pick

State of Grace

$$$ American/New American, Southern 3258 Westheimer Rd.

Diners may know James Beard Foundation award nominee Ford Fry as an Atlanta chef, but he grew up in River Oaks. His high school is across the street from Sta...