The quality of the USDA Prime and Kobe steaks here is amazing, but it’s the service and customer-first attitude that make this place one of the city’s top steakhouses. The oysters on the half shell are top-notch, the steak tartare first-rate (unusual among steakhouses in these parts). Then there’s the atmosphere—the Brazilian slate floors, the polished mahogany walls, the Spanish alabaster chandeliers that cost $75,000 apiece. (Total Del Frisco’s construction costs? Reportedly more than $11 million.)
The décor in this Minneapolis-based chain’s local installment features lustrous mahogany paneling, elegant hardwood floors, stainless steel fixtures, and wavy glass. It’s supposed to conjure up the mood of a 1920s ocean liner, and hey, it does. Retro touches like a 95-cent tomato juice cocktail and excellent clam chowder loaded with big chunks of quahogs and lots of bacon make it easy to love the place. The old-fashioned shrimp cocktail served with juicy, extra-large shrimp is a fabulous throwback, too. A blackboard lists the fresh fish of the day, and the selection is impressive, with sustainable fish as a primary focus.
It’s tough to tell which is the biggest draw at the popular Peli Peli: the striking dining room anchored by a two-story “tree” that shifts colors throughout the night, the stunning South African cuisine made by chef Paul Friedman, or the gregarious Friedman himself. But any way you look at it, you’ll find yourself charmed by the place, whether gorging on the meat lover’s mixed grill (which comes with boerewors sausage and pap and gravy, among other items) at dinner or brunching with bobotie egg crepes and Peli Peli bellinis on the busy patio overlooking the fountain plaza at Vintage Park.
This chain originated in Vancouver and features Shanghai and Singapore specialties in an Asian diner atmosphere. There’s dim sum on offer all day, with an excellent assortment served in a bamboo steamer basket and a wide variety of dumplings to choose from. The soup dumplings are splendid, and so is the sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves. Kids like the Singapore noodles, a pile of yellow vermicelli with lots of pork and shrimp. You’ll find the crispy eggplant perfectly cooked, although ask for the oyster sauce instead of the gloppy, sweet brown one that comes with the dish. The chef specials, like Vancouver-style fried squid, are a little bland. Stick with dishes that have little chili peppers near the title. Unless you’re Canadian, of course.
Ask your friends why they love to hang out in this place’s polished wood bar and handsome dining room, and they’ll tell you it’s the people-watching. After all, no restaurant offers a more amazing window onto the international concourse that is the Houston Galleria. But consider the menu as well—at 6:30 a.m., the Daily Grill opens for breakfast with some two dozen elegant menu items, including bagels and lox, steak and eggs, eggs Benedict, corned beef hash, oatmeal, and omelets, both healthy egg white and otherwise. There’s always a huge crowd eating burgers and sandwiches at lunch, while $4 drafts and an impressive craft cocktail list bring in the partiers at happy hour. The dinner menu is equally expansive, with kids’ and gluten-free menus offered all day. This is a restaurant that tries to do way too much, yet pulls it off in spectacular fashion.