Houston Restaurant Weeks kicks off August 1, and so far this year more than 140 eateries across the city have signed up with prix fixe menus offered for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Best yet (in this time of pandemic), you can get plenty of these meals to-go.
But, oh, where to start? We scoured the list and have selected seven spots to consider when making your real or virtual reservation.
Chef Hugo Ortega has long been a supporter of Restaurant Weeks and this year is no different, as all four of his H-Town Restaurant Group eateries are taking part. You can snag a $20 brunch from Hugo's or a $45 wine dinner ($25–26 for the pairing) from Backstreet Cafe, but we'll highlight the Caracol offerings that include two dinner options. The Nuestro Estilo menu includes mango-habanero ceviche and bacon-wrapped pork shank with mole costeño, while Entre Las Olas focuses on seafood: the catch of the day, jumbo scallops in hoja santa sauce, and pistachio sponge cake as a refreshing finish. Each dish has an optional wine pairing, making this (or really any of Ortega's concepts) the perfect date night choice.
Lobster, anyone? The popular Sharpstown restaurant that specializes in those red crustaceans has a $35 dinner menu available that includes golden egg yolk Maine lobster. This preparation doesn't mean you're getting the fresh crustacean straight from the pot, but instead, Fung's fries the lobster and tosses it in a buttery, salted egg yolk sauce. It's a delicacy worth trying, and here it's available with a first course of, say, fried chili garlic pork spare ribs, and a dessert of, say, steamed egg yolk lava buns. Hey, go big or go home.
If you've always wanted to try the ultra-popular Japanese restaurant from chef Nobu Matsuhisa, this is a good time. Its $45 dinner menu looks like a good deal and includes an opening trio plate with king crab taco, shishito peppers, and crispy rice with spicy tuna; plus, a starter of either tai sashimi, salmon sashimi salad, or crab tempura; an entrée of either ribeye kushi yaki or black cod miso, and a house special roll; and ice cream or sorbet for dessert. I'd center my meal around the famous black cod miso.
Recently reopened after closing as a precautionary measure, Kevin Naderi's American restaurant with a seasonal, farm-fresh focus is putting the spotlight on late summer and early fall flavors for its $45 dinner menu. Consider Texas peach salad with spiced granola and goat cheese; 12-ounce bone-in and cured pork chop with rose-braised cabbage, apples, and horseradish; and warm apple cake with thyme clotted cream. The only thing missing is the leaf peeping. (Roost's fried cauliflower and coffee n' donut holes are also available, and both are hard to resist.)
The CityCentre South American restaurant has two affordable services available for Restaurant Weeks. A three-course dinner for $35 includes entrées like 10-ounce Niman Ranch picanha (rump cap that's popular in Argentina), lobster ravioli, or 8-ounce Berkshire pork churrasquito. The $20 lunch option is two courses: a salad and entrée, like seven-ounce pork chop or cannelloni stuffed with spinach, salsa blanca, ricotta, and pomodoro sauce.
If you're getting takeout from this Downtown spot you'll miss the great views, but hey, a $20 lunch of double cheeseburger and kale Caesar salad makes up for it. The midday prix fixe also has a redfish BLT and sweet potato and kale enchiladas as entrée options. Dinner at $35 includes options like salmon fillet, teres major steak grilled on live oak, and chicken paillard in fettuccine and artichoke tomato sauce.
One of the newest restaurants in the city, chef Tim Love's Levy Park ode to smoke is already in the Restaurant Weeks mindset. You can go heavy on the meat on the $35 dinner menu, opting for rabbit-rattlesnake sausage with bread, pickles, and mustard, plus a half rack of pork ribs, along with smoked loaded baked potatoes with guanciale. End the meal with smoke via the chocolate pie.