Relish's Cajun hot crab dip is the epitome of crustacean comfort food.

Finally, it feels like fall in Houston. As the temperatures dip, it’s the ideal time to take a break from summertime cold salsas and tuck into some warm ... dips. And with all due respect to King Queso, there is more than just melted cheese around town to scoop up with those chips, crackers, toast points, etc. Here are five cold-weather, warm dips to try in Houston.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip at Barnaby’s 

Dozens of Houston establishments list spinach and artichoke dip on the starter section of their menus, but word on the street (and confirmed through this reporter’s own select field test) is that the Barnaby’s version is one of the best. Why? The recipe involves a liberal dose of heavy cream, fresh spinach, and giant chunks of artichoke hearts that form a dip so thick and heavy that the accompanying tortilla chips can barely hold the weight.

Cajun Hot Crab Dip at Relish 

One of multiple exciting new additions to Relish’s dinner offerings, this dip is perhaps the epitome of crustacean comfort food. Composed of jumbo lump crab, cream, gruyere, parmesan, and cheddar cheese, and topped with chopped parsley and green onions, this Acadian-inspired confection is flanked by crisp saltine crackers dusted with a house special spice blend. Oh! And there’s a terribly cute, tiny bottle of Tabasco sauce (should you desire some extra heat). 

The Titanic at The Cajun Stop 

The bottom layer of this decadent, dense, roux-based dip is loaded with crawfish, shrimp, mushrooms, and spinach, then covered in a thick mantle of melted jack cheese and served with toasted garlic bread slices. And, I’ll repeat my own past-printed joke because it’s still good (like the dip): “Between the briny broth and the delicious cheese, this dip is guaranteed to sink anyone’s appetite.”

Shrimp and Crab Dip at Sambuca

With a double feature of crustacean creatures and laden with melted jack and cheddar cheese, Sambuca’s crab and shrimp dip is a terrific prelude to a multi-course, pre-theater seafood dinner. There is a just a soupcon of scorch thanks to mild poblano peppers, and salty, white flour tortilla triangles are on-hand for dipping. 

Baked Potato Dip at Grace’s

Twice-baked potatoes get a third life at Grace’s, where they’re turned into a chunky, starchy goodness laced with melted cheese, chives, and bacon, and boast pleasant notes of sour cream. And, what, pray tell, is the most fitting carbohydrate vehicle with which to enjoy your potato dip? More potatoes, of course, in the form of brown, house-made chips.

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Grace's

$$$ American/New American 3111 Kirby Dr.

Houston restaurant giant Johnny Carrabba added Grace's to his empire as a tribute to his grandmother, Grace Mandola. The menu has something for everyone and ...

Editor’s Pick

The Cajun Stop

$ Cajun, Sandwiches Multiple Locations

The Cajun Stop makes our favorite po-boy in Houston. A generous portion of lightly battered jumbo shrimp is loaded into a baguette and “simply dressed” with ...

Editor’s Pick

Relish Restaurant & Bar

$$ American/New American 2810 Westheimer Road

Barnaby’s Café

$ American/New American Multiple Locations

Named for the owner's childhood dog, Barnaby's has a little bit of everything: queso, baby back ribs, hot dogs, lasagna, veggie burgers and even a meatloaf b...