Houston may be getting hipper with each hot new spot that opens, but the city's classic restaurants remain tried and true. These are the restaurants we can always trust to get it right when we want to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or a date night with that special someone. From impeccable service to world-class menus, such staples go above and beyond to provide a perfect backdrop for any celebration—no occasion is too big or too small. This week, I'm spotlighting some classic Houston restaurants that consistently exceed our expectations and have stood the test of time through the city's ever-changing trends.
Pappas Bros. Steakhouse
Arguably one of the best restaurants to score a steak in the city, this beloved steakhouse offers an atmosphere that's straight out of a Mad Men episode—think martinis and cigars in a deeply handsome setting. With a traditional steakhouse menu featuring dry-aged USDA Prime beef accompanied by decadent sides and a life-changing dessert menu, the food at Pappas Bros. is just as sophisticated as the ambiance.
Well known for its award winning wine list, which boasts almost 4,000 selections from every fine wine-producing region around the globe, Pappas Bros. also recently launched two summer cocktails inspired by the bright colors of the summer season. Two new creations from beverage concept manager Matt Tanner—a Pimm's Cup #3 (made with gin, cucumber, blueberry, lemon and lime) and a Champagne Swizzle (crafted with sparkling wine, apple, cinnamon and mint)—are fabulous ways to keep things fresh, as well as usher in a flock of fresh faces to a long-standing Houston establishment.
Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, 5839 Westheimer Rd., 713-780-7352, pappasbros.com
This always-packed surf-and-turf temple on Westheimer has remained a favorite among Houstonians for over 30 years. With a large, lively bar scene and a fun-loving staff who only add to the dining experience, a celebration at The Palm is truly a festive one.
Though Houston's growing restaurant scene has shifted (and continues to do so) more and more into the Montrose and Midtown areas, The Palm welcomes guests to bring it back to the "old school" and consider the classic restaurant for not only lunch and dinner, but their brand-new, prime-time happy hour at the bar Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m.
This is when The Palm features half-priced menu items such as cornmeal fried oysters, a classic cheeseburger and maple-glazed slab bacon. Other notable additions to the new summer menu include the braised short rib and Irish cheddar sandwich served with shoestring potatoes and the tuna tataki topped with toasted pine nuts, ginger and jalapeño—both marvelous selections for a bar menu!
The Palm, 6100 Westheimer Rd., 713-977-2544, thepalm.com
Sitting on prime real estate in between Upper Kirby and Montrose, Churrascos in River Oaks has been a comfort classic for years from the successful family of Cordúa restaurants.
With the addition of newer properties in The Woodlands and Town & Country, the River Oaks location has recently taken on a new look by renovating the interior, transforming the original dining room into a newer, trendier space. The restaurant's entrance, which was initially accessible from the parking lot of the busy Westheimer and Shepherd shopping strip, has now moved to the Westheimer side, giving diners immediate access to the bar and patio.
Along with a brand new menu that fully embodies the flavors of the summer—including corn-smoked pork spare ribs, grilled chicken and shrimp with chorizo, Caribbean rice and, for dessert, a coconut cream cake topped with meringues—Churrascos at River Oaks is as much a hot spot now as it ever was.
Churrascos, 2055 Westheimer Rd., 713-527-8300, cordua.com