The buzzing restaurant scene in Houston is always hopping, and there’s nothing more exciting than getting a custom tailored, one of a kind unique dining experience like a meal at the chef's table at some of our favorite local restaurants. So what exactly defines a chef's table? As much as we love the documentary series on Netflix, that won't give you the answer. Typically, it is a single table or seated area located in or near the kitchen reserved for tasting menus prepared by the overseen by the executive chef or chef de cuisine. Here are our top picks to get the VIP treatment around town.
Ford Fry’s hometown gem appears on almost every Houston best-restaurant list, and their chef's table is well worth a visit on its own. A six-seat bar located in front of the grill, the chef’s table at SOG ranges from seven to eight courses based on what executive chef Bobby Matos and crew have in mind for the day, but also taking into account the specific requests of their diners. On the night we visited, the couple dining was both pescatarian and dairy-free. The table is perfectly situated for semi privacy with an intimate feel being so close to the kitchen, while still giving a bustling view of the dining room. The per person price runs about $85 (without alcohol) and there are usually two dinner seatings to choose from.
We wrote about Le Mistral’s sister establishment, Rouge Wine Bar, earlier this year. Located in the Energy Corridor, brothers Sylvain and David Denis, respectively the sommelier and executive chef, have created a trifecta of culinary delights in this little strip center with Mistral as their centerpiece. Only accessible by the kitchen, the Chef’s Table room offers seating up to eight people with a window allowing diners to watch as their creations are made. Each five-course menu is made to order based on the party’s individual preferences, ranging from $80-$120 per person plus alcohol (which can be handpicked by Sylvain).
A Houston institution, the chef's table—or "kitchen table" as they call it at Brennan’s—is located inside the kitchen itself offering a panoramic view. With seating offered during every dining period except for Sunday brunch and holidays, the space holds up to 12 people and ranges five to seven courses, solely decided upon by chef Joe Cervantez, with lunch running from $60 to $105 (with wine) per person, and dinner running from $80 to $155, also with wine.
Executive chef Jacques Fox and his team (which also includes the aforementioned Denis brothers) take great pride in bringing their love of French cuisine and a very large chef's table concept to Midtown. With seating for up to 28 at a wrap-around bar situated smack dab in the middle of the restaurant, food lovers can order from the regular menu or try off-menu items of the chef's choosing. Prices range from around $35-55 per entrée to between $85-125 per-person for one of the two Chef's Choice tasting menus, which does not include wine in the price.
From the minds of brothers Chris and Alex Kinjo, MF Sushi’s omakase table service can be a sushi lover’s dream, if you go on the right night. Nestled in the Museum District, the omakase service at MF ranges from $75 to $100 per person for a multi-course chef's choice tasting menu that includes top-flight fish and opulent fixings like truffles.
A staple on the Houston sushi scene since it opened, Kata Robata’s sushi bar flies under the radar as a popular chef destination. For example, on our last visit One Fifth’s Chris Shepherd was seated at the bar. When you reserve, ask to sit at the bar in order to experience the chef’s choice tasting, priced on availability of rare Japanese fish and, of course, choice.