Where You Should Eat This Month: January 2020
HAVING TROUBLE KEEPING UP with Houston’s busy restaurant scene? No worries—allow me to suggest some of my favorite recent experiences. Here’s where you should eat this month.
Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co.
I've written extensively about how the new Buffalo Bayou digs at Sawyer Yards are a game-changing space with views that'll make you fall in love with Houston. But I haven't written much about the food ... until now. Arash Kharat is making my favorite pizza in the city, and it isn't confined to one pie. The River Oaks is cheesy, salty, and perfectly crispy. The Smoke on the Bayou packs awesome heat, yet still hits that sweet spot with a house-made barbecue sauce and juicy 44 Farms brisket. The burger is good. The fries are good. The fun, shareable starters strike the right balance. The kitchen is just another reason why Buffalo Bayou has become an immediate destination for Houstonians and tourists alike.
While my mom always made a delicious lasagna, my family isn't Italian, so I didn't grow up with winding Sunday dinners and Christmastime seven-fishes celebrations. But I can really get a feel for it all while at Rosalie, chef Chris Cosentino's reimagining of his grandmother's Providence, Rhode Island home. The space is super-cute, especially the dining room with antiques spread out on a shelving unit and a centrally located table that makes larger groups the star of the show. The food, executed very well by chef Sasha Grumman and her team, is like a warm hug. My favorites? The very necessary blue crab manicotti, the stunningly perfect arancini, and the salty, refreshing caesar salad.
Honore's Cajun Café
Ladies and gentlemen, The Season has started. I'm talking about the only season that matters: crawfish season. It was ushered in last weekend as dozens of folks lined into Honore's Cajun Café in Manvel. They came by the group-load, all of them wanting pound after pound of those fun little mudbugs, freshly caught and boiled by the order. Open since 2017, Honore's offers a legitimate Cajun experience in rustic, wood-toned environs further warmed by the sweet tones of zydeco music. Its crawfish are doused in an especially spicy blend that rivals the hot stuff you'll find at a VietCajun joint, and a platter of three pounds with a trio of sides (potato, corn, sausage) will run you about $32 before tip and soda or beer (you'll need a few to wash it down). Just get there early.
As we approach the coldest and deadest part of winter (OK, looking out the window it's beautiful and about 65 degrees, but anyway), few things are better than curling up at a favorite pub with a pint. And Rudyard's, Montrose's stalwart bar, feels the most like that perfect wintertime hang. I recently had the pleasure of enjoying a Saint Arnold Bishop's Barrel No. 24 with a very necessary Parmageddon (a chicken parmesan sandwich in a crunchy hoagie roll). A football game was on TV, the bar discourse was strong, and I didn't want to leave.
Chef Vanarin Kuch is back with this cool EaDo cafe, and his creations are absolutely worth the trip. His salty, oxtail-stuffed pho kolache is getting plenty of buzz, as is his Hot Cheeto croissant filled with rich nacho cheese, but his talent is evident in every creation. As I wrote last week, his pistachio baklava croissant is a special pastry. Be sure to order a specialty drink with your carbs—I loved the Salty Cambodian, essentially cafe sua da blended with a generous pour of sourdough butter. A bright hang, too.
It had been a while since I ate at the Houston location of Truth BBQ, but a visit a couple months ago to Leonard Botello IV's original spot in Brenham convinced me I needed more Truth in my life. From the nicely rendered 44 Farms brisket (just ask for moist) to seriously killer pork ribs, the meat alone is reason to visit the Washington Ave. spot at least once a month. But the cheddar mac 'n' cheese remains one of my favorite versions of the childhood classic, and of course, you have to have to corn pudding. That said, you should pay the Brenham spot a visit when you get an opportunity; the brisket there is out of this world.