"This is the new direction of what people want to eat. The days of commitment to a $35 entree is past," says Chris Williams. "This is how we like to eat."

At the beginning of September, Williams cooked a few dishes for Houstonia to preview the one-night-only dim sum-style dinner he and his staff would be preparing to celebrate Lucille's fourth birthday on September 13. Dishes like skewered, head-on Vietnamese marinated shrimp and butternut squash with fennel fronds and soy yogurt seemed long miles, both physical and spiritual, from the restaurant's signature slow-fried Yardbird and fried green tomatoes. 

It turns out, Williams and co. don't just like eating that way. They like cooking that way, too. Those small plates have now both been added to the regular menu, along with numerous other smaller plates that either use Southern ingredients to create Asian or European dishes or vice-versa. But don't worry, the Yardbird isn't going anywhere.

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Lucille's

$$ Creole, Southern 5512 La Branch St.

Named in honor of Texas culinary legend Lucille B. Smith, the restaurant run by her great-grandson—chef Chris Williams—turns out a whole fried yardbird (at d...