Best Restaurants 2014

Best New Restaurants: Americana

Comfort food is back, as classics are classed up and chefs draw inspiration from our collective nostalgia.

By Robb Walsh and Katharine Shilcutt September 30, 2014 Published in the October 2014 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Fried chicken at Heights General Store

Bradley’s Fine Diner

Two-time James Beard Award winner Bradley Ogden was doing Americana at his Larkspur, California restaurant before anyone had ever heard the word. Son Bryan Ogden, a Culinary Institute of America grad like his dad, is carrying on the tradition in Houston at this Heights hangout. Standout starters include mushroom toast with wild arugula and an heirloom tomato salad. But BFD expertly mixes the upscale with the downhome every chance it gets, especially in dishes like Yankee pot roast with potatoes, local carrots, and peas, and grilled Berkshire pork, which we love with a side of green beans almondine in brown butter. Don’t miss the house-made butterscotch pudding for dessert. 

Cook & Collins

This Midtown eatery has a handsome, vintage-American-diner look, with tile floors, exposed brick walls, and stunning glass-globe light fixtures. And while crispy free-range fried chicken with flaky biscuits, garlic mashed potatoes, and excellent gravy anchor Cook & Collins’s American-comfort-food menu, the more inventive fare is equally intriguing, such as the red-eye fries topped with buffalo chili, a fried egg, and Mexican hot sauce. Coffee, cocktails, and craft beers are also top-notch here, and the Bloody Marys are fast becoming famous. We particularly like them at brunch, when the menu includes a smartly delicious pulled pork barbecue breakfast and gingersnap waffles.

Heights General Store

The eclectic assortment of businesses old and new on 19th St. in the Heights blends perfectly with chef Antoine Ware’s eclectic menu of updated comfort food classics. From pimento cheese to meatloaf sandwiches, the list of soulful, old-school dishes goes on and on, and appropriately so, as Heights General Store occupies a historic building overlooking one of the city’s most soulful, old-school streets.  

Punk’s Simple Southern Food

After eating chef Brandi Key’s dishes at this Rice Village eatery, you may never look at grandma’s cooking the same way again. How can cornbread and hush puppies be this moist? you’ll wonder, or How come Granny didn’t brine her fried chicken? The questions keep coming because there’s so much to love at Punk’s: the chicken gumbo and po-boy sandwiches; the country-ham tasting platter, a cutting-edge Southern take on charcuterie; the rotating selection of seasonal pies; and an excellent banana pudding with a Nilla Wafer topping that may trigger reveries straight out of Remembrance of Things Past

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