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This event celebrates its 10th year with even better additions
One of Houston’s acclaimed community events will run for the 10th time until the end of August. Houston Restaurant Weeks provides incredible month-long deals at some of the city’s hottest restaurants. First established in 2003 by Cleverley Stone, it has expanded to one month instead of one week and has become one of the most anticipated events in the Texas region, raising over $1.7 million in donations to help fight hunger in Houston since it began in 2003.
This event is designed to showcase the best dining in the city while raising money for the Houston Food Bank.. The event format for last year included a 3-course dinner for $35 with $5 to food banks, and a $20 lunch with 2 courses with $3 being donated. This year, a new 4-course dinner has been for just $45 with a $7 donation. For 2013, these offers now extend to include restaurants in the Woodlands, Montgomery, and Galveston.
Last year, the restaurant raised more than $1.22 million for the Houston Food Bank, and they are hoping to outdo that number this time around. Donations to the Food Bank are made by the participating restaurants based on how many meals they can sell during the event. However, this year they are launching a Text 2 Give campaign, where participants can donate $10 themselves to help the fight against hunger in Houston right on their cell phones. Additionally, restaurants in the new areas will donate 100 percent of their earnings to their local food banks as well.
While the list of restaurants for 2013 will not be posted on the main website until July 15, eager diners can keep their forks and knifes ready to dive into some delicious deals as well as do their part to help fight hunger.
7 Menus To Try During Houston Restaurant Weeks
Have you made reservations for Houston Restaurant Weeks yet? The fundraiser for the Houston Food Bank kicks off August 1 and already diners are narrowing down their choices from the close to 200 participating restaurants.
Now in its 14th year, the event is popular because it allows diners to get a taste of Houston’s best restaurants for a little less money and for a good cause. You pay $20 for lunch or brunch and $25, $35 or $45 for dinner at participating restaurants and they’ll donate a portion of the proceeds to the Houston Food Bank. Last year, the event raised a record $1.9 million.
Houston Restaurant Weeks runs through Labor Day (September 5, 2016), so you have a little over a month to explore Houston’s exciting culinary scene. Here are seven delicious menus to help you get started.
Best bets for Houston Restaurant Weeks
The Roastery is serving a brunch menu during 2019 Houston Restaurant Weeks.
The Roastery / The Roastery Show More Show Less
Potato soup with Iberico pork shoulder, Hook's five-year cheddar cheese with chives at Tris
Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer Show More Show Less
Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer Show More Show Less
Hon maguro crudo at Tobiuo
Dragana Harris / Dragana Harris Show More Show Less
Fried green tomatoes with lump crab, remoulade and jalapenos at State Fare
Honey black pepper lobster at Fung's Kitchen
Melissa Phillip, Staff / Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less
The Union Kitchen in Cypress
Kirsten Gilliam / Kirsten Gilliam Show More Show Less
Margherita pizza at The Union Kitchen
Kirsten Gilliam / Kirsten Gilliam Show More Show Less
Wedge salad at Perry's Steakhouse
Bacon-wrapped filet at Perry's Steakhouse
Chef Tommy's bacon at B&B Butchers
Dave Rossman, Freelance / For the Chronicle Show More Show Less
Wagyu beef strip with morel butter and herb heirloom salad at The Capital Grille
Filet mignon at Del Frisco's
Chilean Sea Bass at Eddie V's
James Nielsen, Staff / Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less
It&rsquos that time of year again, folks. Time to open your wallet and widen your belt buckles in the name of charity. Houston Restaurant Weeks 2019 is here &mdash and it&rsquos bigger and better than ever.
From Thursday through Sept. 2, more than 250 Houston-area restaurants will offer a selection of specially priced prix-fixe menus, donating a portion of the proceeds to the Houston Food Bank in what has become its largest fundraiser of the year.
For every purchase of a designated HRW menu, a portion of its value will be donated to the food bank. Menu prices for 2019 are $20 for lunch and brunch, with $3 donation to the food bank, and $35 or $45 for dinner, with $5 and $7 donations, respectively, to the nonprofit. Lunch and brunch will be offered in two courses dinner will be offered in three courses.
Since its inception, HRW has donated $14.7 million to the food bank, allowing it to provide 44 million meals to Houstonians in need. Last year&rsquos record fundraiser brought in $2.1 million.
&ldquoAs one who reports on restaurants and chefs in our city, I am so grateful for the outpouring of support by Houston&rsquos restaurant industry, sponsors and diners for Houston Restaurant Weeks, benefiting the Houston Food Bank,&rdquo founder and chair Cleverley Stone said. &ldquoHouston Restaurant Weeks has become one of the most anticipated times of the year for local foodies and visitors to our city.&rdquo
Ready to dine out and do good at the same time? You can search for specific restaurants and menus at houstonrestaurantweeks.com, but to make decision-making easier, we&rsquove culled some of the best menus from this year&rsquos staggering list to help you decide where to eat. Get ready to make your reservations, and bon appétit.
Not only are they among Houston&rsquos finest restaurants, these are the ones that go above and beyond with mouthwatering menu choices at an excellent value.
Pappas Bros. Steakhouse
Consistently ranked one of Houston&rsquos best steakhouses &mdash thanks to its quality, execution and expert wine service &mdash Pappas Bros.&rsquo HRW menu is a downright steal compared to its regular prices. The three-course meal includes entree options such as Prime filet mignon, live Maine lobster, Prime dry-aged New York strip or broiled Ora King salmon. For dessert? Incredible New York cheesecake. 1200 McKinney, 713-658-1995, and 5839 Westheimer, 713-780-7352 pappasbros.com. Dinner, $45
With no fewer than nine starter and entree options created by chef de cuisine Austin Waiter, you&rsquoll be spoiled for choice at Tony Vallone&rsquos temple to Italian fine dining in Greenway Plaza. Sample choices include scallop crudi with Kolikoff caviar, Tasmanian salmon tartare or handmade pasta topped with freshly shaved Umbrian truffles ($19 supplement) to start Niman Ranch short ribs or Colorado lamb porterhouse ($12 supplement) for mains and Italian cannoli for dessert. 3755 Richmond, 713-622-6778 tonyshouston.com. Lunch, $20 dinner, $45
James Beard Award-winning chef Hugo Ortega&rsquos Oaxaca-influenced restaurant downtown offers five distinct HRW menus from which to choose, each with an amuse-bouche to start and optional wine/beverage pairings upgrade. Simply take your pick from the theme that interests you most &mdash mole, masa (corn), Mexican wine, mezcal or vegetarian &mdash you can&rsquot go wrong. 1777 Walker, 713-400-3330 xochihouston.com. Lunch, $20 dinner, $45
Executive chef Danny Trace has helped elevate Jim Crane&rsquos swanky Italian restaurant downtown to one of the best in the city. An amuse-bouche whets the appetite for three courses, to include burrata from Puglia with heirloom tomato, charred octopus polipetti, agnolotti di gamberi (pasta with jumbo shrimp), chef&rsquos famous spaghetti al tartufo nero (cacio e pepe pasta with freshly shaved summer truffle, $10 supplement) and limoncello pavlova with tropical fruit. 1515 Texas, 713-237-1515 potentehouston.com. Dinner, $45
Brennan&rsquos of Houston
A genteel, fine-dining classic. Executive chef Jose Cervantes&rsquo extensive menu offers a range of both beloved and new Creole dishes. Feast on turtle soup or Cajun frog legs ($5 supplement) to start truffle-roasted chicken, sugarcane-smoked short ribs or pecan wood grilled filet mignon as your entree finishing off with the famous Brennan&rsquos bananas foster, set aflame table-side. 3300 Smith, 713-522-9711 brennanshouston.com. Dinner, $45
For those evenings when you want to canoodle over a decadent meal, these are the venues you&rsquoll want to visit.
From gorgeous velvet half-moon booths to a beautiful canopy of hanging drop lights, not to mention impeccable service, this Gallic Uptown restaurant is one of Houston&rsquos best destinations for a repast à deux. Sumptuous choices include cheese soufflé or grilled corn and peach salad hangar steak frites or salmon with tomato saffron broth and profiteroles or crème brûlée. 1800 Post Oak, 713-439-1000 latablehouston.com. Lunch, $20 dinner, $45
Chef Ryan Lachaine keeps the menu at his Montrose neighborhood hot spot tightly edited, which means that every dish is exemplary. Options range from to-die-for mushroom empanadas to an inspired tempura cauliflower in kimchi hot sauce to mouthwatering hangar steak with potato-cheddar pierogies to an unusually delicious sticky toffee in &ldquoblood toffee sauce&rdquo with shaved foie gras topping. 1927 Fairview, 832-831-9109 rielhtx.com. Dinner, $45
Channeling the glamorous bygone era of colonial Indochina, this gorgeous River Oaks District restaurant is the perfect choice for a night on the town. Feast on exquisite French-Vietnamese plates of goi cuon shrimp summer rolls or ca song spicy yellowfin tuna tartare ($6 supplement), followed by ca hoi nuong miso-glazed Scottish salmon or short rib curry, with vanilla lemongrass crème brûlée to finish. 4444 Westheimer, 713-629-4444 lecolonialhouston.com. Lunch, $20 dinner, $45
Amalfi Ristorante Italiano & Bar
Love is in the air the moment you step into Amalfi, a passion project by husband-and-wife duo Giancarlo and Lisa Ferrara, who fell head over heels for each other in Italy years ago. Your HRW meal begins with a peach bellini aperitivo, followed by a three-course, coastal Italian meal with choices such as yellowfin tuna tartare with truffle, Mediterranean branzino with gnocchi and limoncello sponge cake. 6100 Westheimer, 713-532-2201 amalfihouston.com. Dinner, $45
Freshly shucked oysters and Veuve Clicquot are de rigeur at this River Oaks boite, and a fine way to kick off a romantic night before indulging in a menu of French classics &mdash think escargot, steak tartare, trout almondine or steak frites. End on a sweet note with an oozing warm chocolate cake garnished with toffee and creme chantilly. 1962 W. Gray, 713-524-1919 brasserie19.com. Dinner, $45
If you haven&rsquot had time to check out a few of the latest and greatest of Houston restaurant openings, now&rsquos your chance.
Did you know that 27-year-old chef Kevin d&rsquoAndréa has experience at Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris and London and was a finalist on &ldquoTop Chef France&rdquo? Experience d&rsquoAndréa&rsquos modern take on coastal French fare with dishes such as oeuf mimomas à la provençale, pan roasted snapper with sauce dugléré and his grandmother&rsquos rice pudding. 4315 Montrose, 713-524-0070 lavillahtx.com. Dinner $45
Tribute at the Houstonian
The Houstonian hotel&rsquos flagship restaurant debuted in October after a $3 million renovation with a fresh identity. Executive chef Neal Cox&rsquos new menu is a &ldquotribute&rdquo to all things Houstonian. Try the excellent tortilla soup, 8-ounce grilled redfish on the half shell with cascabel roasted corn and jicama salsa, and cap the meal with pastry chef Catherine Rodriguez&rsquos stellar bourbon pecan pie. 111 N. Post Oak Lane 713-685-6713 houstonian.com . Dinner, $35
Atlanta-based, Houston-reared chef Ford Fry&rsquos homage to the San Jacinto Inn turns out what is arguably the best fried chicken in the city. That chicken with all the trimmings, along with starters such as shrimp and pork belly dumplings, wood-roasted gulf oysters ($5 supplement) and dessert of bourbon banana pudding, all are on offer for HRW. 1801-A N. Shepherd, 713-955-4765 laluchatx.com. Dinner, $35
Be one of the first to experience this hip, urbanely designed space, which opened this month. Chef Jaime Salazar (formerly with Brasserie 19) dishes up enticements including beet carpaccio, short rib pappardelle, 9-ounce bone-in pork chop with polenta and caramelized onions, and hazelnut milk chocolate mousse. 7620 Interstate 10 W., Suite 305, main.warehouse72.com . Lunch, $20 dinner, $35
Offering lunch, brunch and dinner, Agricole Hospitality&rsquos newest restaurant in EaDo has plenty of options. Brunch is a highlight, with choices such as slow-cooked pork ribs or Texas peach salad and Moroccan eggs. Lunch brings sautéed summer squash and baked eggplant Parmesan. For dinner? Crab Imperial dip, 44 Farms grilled sirloin and peaches &rsquon&rsquo cream lemon pound cake. 1201 St. Emanuel, 832-582-7202 agricolehospitality.com. Lunch/brunch, $20 dinner, $35
Get away from your desk or spend time with a loved one. At $20 for two, sometimes three courses, these are sweet lunch and brunch deals.
A Houston institution for more than 35 years, Tracy Vaught and Hugo Ortega&rsquos leafy River Oaks cafe serves up one of the loveliest lunch experiences in the city. An excellent value at three courses for $20, a sample menu includes summer watermelon gazpacho, fried green tomato BLT or grilled salmon tacos, and butterscotch bread pudding. 1103 S. Shepherd, 713-521-2239 backstreetcafe.net. Lunch, $20 dinner, $35
Weights + Measures
There&rsquos a lot to love at this design-forward bakery, bar and restaurant in Midtown. The cocktails are fabulous, for one. The contemporary, light-filled space is another. For HRW, it also serves one of the best value-deals in town. Soup of the day or corn zucchini fritters wagyu short rib sandwich or hand-made gluten-free pasta next with a doughnut, chocolate chip cookie or muffin to cap the midday meal. 2808 Caroline, 713-654-1970 weights-measures.com. Lunch, $20 dinner, $35
Étoile Cuisine et Bar
Chef Philippe Verpiand&rsquos Uptown Park gem is dishing out a fabulous, value-packed, three-course lunch and brunch menu. For lunch, try the melon and prosciutto, followed by coq au vin or the sublime mushroom ravioli, and the fluffy floating meringue ile flottante dessert. For brunch? How about poached egg and jamon serrano, short rib hash and a chocolate mousse entremet? 1101-11 Uptown Park, 832-668-5808 etoilecuisine.com. Lunch/brunch, $20 dinner, $45
If you haven&rsquot yet dined underneath the LED ceiling at this Galleria-area South African restaurant, let the two-course lunch and brunch menus carry you there. Lunch comes with decadent choices &mdash Peli Peli&rsquos famous bobotie meat pie or the impressive chicken espetada almoco skewer. Brunch is equally tempting, thanks to choices of sticky toffee French toast, chicken schnitzel with waffles, or chicken curry hash. 5085 Westheimer, Suite B2515 281-257-9500 pelipeli.com. Lunch/brunch, $20 dinner, $45
Jonathan&rsquos The Rub Memorial Green
Omelets, benedicts and pancakes, oh my! With an extensive menu of brunch items, including the hard-to-find soufflélike Japanese pancakes that have taken the internet by storm, the brunch here looks stellar. Lunch entices with classic American selections ranging from a triple-smoked burger to shrimp tacos and smoked salmon. Both menus can be upgraded to include dessert for $5. 12505 Memorial. Suite 140, 713-808-9291 jtrmg.com. Lunch/brunch, $20 dinner, $45
The lunch and brunch menus at this coffee-shop-slash-fast-casual-restaurant adjacent to H-E-B on San Felipe read well: You can imagine ordering just about everything. For brunch, there&rsquos a fan favorite avocado toast, peach and prosciutto toast, and bread pudding French toast. Lunch brings tempura green beans, a wagyu steak sandwich, and a crawfish roll. 5895 San Felipe, Suite B, 832-491-00269 theroastery.com. Lunch/brunch, $20 dinner, $45
Think all the best food action happens inside the Loop? Think again.
One of the best new restaurants to open in Greater Houston in the past year, Tris, formerly Hubbel & Hudson, is the passion project of chef Austin Simmons. The restaurant, named after his daughter, features a menu and handsome dining room that are a joy to behold. Noteworthy selections include the seabass ceviche tostada, beefsteak tornedos steak frites with truffle fries, and banana pudding. 24 Waterway Ave., No. 125, 281-203-5641 triswoodlands.com. Lunch, $20 dinner, $45
The place for quality sushi and Japanese cuisine in Katy. The HRW menu here is an incredible value, offering a cost savings of as much as $50 off regular price when you choose the six-piece sashimi as a starter, the 8-ounce robata-grilled rib-eye as a main and chocolate lava cake for dessert. Several more options are available, so run, don&rsquot walk. 23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd., Suite H130, 281-394-7156 tobiuosushibar.com. Dinner, $35
Venture out of the Loop for authentic Cantonese cuisine by Chinese master chef Hoi Fung at one of Houston&rsquos longest-standing Chinese restaurants. The luxurious, value-driven menu will exceed expectations with finger-licking-good chili-garlic pork spareribs to start and main courses such as whole Maine lobster, honey black pepper filet mignon with mushrooms or Hunan chilean sea bass steak. Don&rsquot miss the steamed egg yolk lava dessert buns. 7320 U.S. 59 S., No. 115 713-779-2288. Dinner, $35
At the Memorial location, start with shrimp and crab fondue, followed by a surf and turf of 14-ounce rib-eye and shrimp brochette or veal osso bucco Milanese. In Cypress, the option changes to bacon-wrapped meatloaf, followed by an Asian-inspired surf and turf involving Korean BBQ sauce. With multiple outposts across Houston, each serving fun, inventive, yet unique HRW menus, the entire family will find something they like. Multiple locations theunionkitchen.com. Lunch, $20 dinner, $35
With a festive atmosphere, a hoppin&rsquo bar and plenty of room for groups, the HRW menu at this Memorial City restaurant invites you to dig in: Try the fried green tomatoes with lump crab and remoulade, get your hands a little dirty with a plate of H-Town fried hot chicken, feast on a chicken-fried ribeye, then finish with a sinfully delicious &rsquonana bread pudding topped with caramel and whipped cream. 947 Gessner, 832-831-0950 statefaretx.com. Dinner, $35
Cutting into a big, juicy steak is practically a divine right in Houston. During HRW, do it in style at these specialists.
Benjamin Berg&rsquos popular steakhouse has been the largest single donor to the Houston Food Bank for the past three years. The reason? His HRW menu is fantastic. Make reservations early to ensure a seat at the table. In addition to wide selection of standard offerings, you can upgrade to Chef Tommy&rsquos Bacon ($8), king crab ($20), as well as USDA prime 18-ounce bone-in New York strip or 22-ounce dry-aged bone-in rib-eye ($25). 1814 Washington, 713-862-1814 bbbutchers.com. Dinner, $45
In addition to a stellar HRW menu with entree options such as 8-ounce filet mignon or 14-ounce bone-in dry-aged New York Strip, oenophiles can partake of the restaurant&rsquos Generous Pour Summer Wine Tasting Event &mdash unlimited pours of seven exceptional Northern California wines, chosen by Advanced Sommelier Brian Phillips. 5365 Westheimer, 713-623-4600 thecapitalgrille.com. Dinner, $45
Perry&rsquos Steakhouse & Grille
All seven of Houston-area Perry&rsquos locations are participating in HRW, which makes it easy for a night out on the town no matter where you live. Perry&rsquos knock-your-socks-off famous pork chop is on offer, as are upgrade options to a 22-ounce Prime bone-in cowboy rib-eye or 20-ounce Prime bone-in New York strip ($15 supplement each). A wedge salad and white chocolate cheesecake complete the meal. Locations in Baybrook, Champions, Katy, Memorial City, River Oaks, Sugar Land and The Woodlands perryssteakhouse.com. Dinner, $45
Del Frisco&rsquos Double Eagle Steakhouse
Fresh off of a remodel, this always impressive Galleria steakhouse is a perennial HRW favorite. Choose from lobster bisque or caesar salad to start, followed by 8-ounce filet mignon or Del&rsquos jumbo lump crab cakes, finishing off with a suitably decadent warm banana bread pudding. 5061 Westheimer, Suite 8060, 713-355-2600 delfriscos.com. Lunch, $20 dinner, $45
This is a popular hangout for Houston&rsquos many sports stars. The formidable HRW menu features Maine lobster bisque, Norwegian salmon, 8-ounce center-cut filet mignon and bananas foster butter cake. 2800 Kirby, Suite A100, 713-874-1800, and 12848 Queensbury, 832-200-2380 eddiev.com . Dinner, $45
III Forks Prime Steakhouse
With some seven entree choices on its HRW menu &mdash from lobster bisque to 12-ounce Prime New York strip to French-cut bone-in pork chop to a delectable-sounding 6-ounce filet with crab-stuffed bacon wrapped shrimp to Texas pecan cake &mdash there&rsquos something for everyone at this downtown steakhouse. An 18-ounce bone-in Prime bone-in rib-eye also is available for $10 extra. 1201 San Jacinto, 713-658-9457 3forks.com. Dinner, $45
Mai Pham is a food writer in Houston. Email [email protected]
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Houston Restaurant Weeks Is Back!
HOUSTON — Cleverly Stone, the founder of Houston Restaurant Weeks passed away this year following her battle with cancer, but her last wish was that the charitable tradition continues in perpetuity in her name.
The coronavirus pandemic hit people hard and the importance of the local restaurant industry and the Houston Food Bank were highlighted in a big way.
Stone knew HRW would be vital to both in 2020, which is why she wanted the fundraiser to continue.
“This has been a very difficult time dealing with the grief of my mother’s passing and at the same time wanting to take up her baton,” said Stone’s daughter, who is taking over leadership. “I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received and words of encouragement to keep HRW alive. I am pressing forward and looking toward a successful month-long event. So many of my mother’s longtime ‘kitchen cabinet’ restaurant owners and operators are behind me and I hope Houstonians will rally around HRW 2020!”
The 2020 HRW will take place from Aug. 1 through Sept. 7, which is 38 days of brunch, lunch and dinner deals that will help raise money for the Houston Food Bank.
This article was published by KPRC 2/Chloe Alexander
About Houston Restaurant Weeks’ Founder
Houston Restaurant Weeks was established in 2003 by restaurant correspondent and philanthropist Cleverley Stone, host of “The Cleverley Show,” a talk show about food, wine and dining on CBS Sports Radio 650/KIKK-AM and food segment contributor to Fox 26/KRIV Morning News in Houston. To date, the event has raised over $16.6 million to fight hunger in Houston, providing almost 49.8 million meals for those who are food insecure.
'With a lot of love': Tony Mandola's embraces Houston Restaurant Weeks
HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- It's that time of the year when Houstonians can embrace the thing we all love at a cheaper price: food.
That's right, foodies unite for Houston Restaurant Weeks!
Located near Houston's Fourth Ward, you'll find Tony Mandola's Gulf Coast Kitchen on Waugh Drive. The restaurant prides itself on providing an experience so good, you'll want to come back again.
Tony Mandola's Houston Restaurant Weeks menus boast a wide variety of food, including: smoked salmon, doughnut breakfast sliders, oysters (might we add, these were amazing!), jambalaya and Ahi tuna. The aforementioned is only a small sample of the items you can select from either the brunch, lunch or dinner menus.
Each menu consists of an appetizer, main course and dessert.
Executive Chef Juan Arellano said Tony Mandola's is for everyone -- including those who come wearing shorts and sandals, rather than formal wear.
"That's our culture," he added.
But, what's the must-have ingredient for Tony Mandola's?
"It's just a lot of love into it. If you really love, that is energy transposed in your food and the guests recognize it," Arellano said.
From the ambiance and decor, to food that will have you licking your fingers, Tony Mandola's is a worthy stop on your journey through Houston Restaurant Weeks.
Arellano added that the "touch of love" the staff gives is what separates Tony Mandola's from the others.
"A little extra step, or that extra love that you give, is what really counts. And that's what separates, you know, some restaurateurs from others," he added.
The restaurant will donate $3 from each brunch and lunch sold and $5 from each dinner to the Houston Food Bank.
Houston Restaurant Weeks is held from August 1 through September 4, 2017.
The ultimate meat lover's guide to Houston Restaurant Weeks
If Houston Restaurants Weeks had an official menu item, it might be the six-ounce filet. The ultra-popular cut is a staple of most of the menus for steakhouses that participate in the event.
And yet, true beef lovers tend to regard filet’s mignon’s strengths — specifically its soft texture and mild flavor — as detriments. That’s why chefs boost filet with a pepper crust (steak au poivre), cover it crab meat and Hollandaise (steak Oscar), or rub it with coffee grounds, a technique first made famous by Houston chef Robert Del Grande that's still served at his restaurant, The Annie Cafe.
Thankfully, charitably minded, carnivorous Houstonians will find lots of meaty, non-filet options among this year’s participants in Houston Restaurants Weeks. Pursuing this year’s menus reveals a meat lover’s delight that includes lamb, ribeye, and even porchetta. The list below also notes some of the tempting beef options at the less expensive, $35 price point.
As a reminder, the annual charity dining event that raises money for the Houston Food Bank has tweaked its format this year restaurants are only required to donate $1 per meal sold to the food bank, which allows them to keep more of the revenue at a time when seating capacity has been cut in half to help slow the spread of COVID-19. For the first time, restaurants are also offering their menus to-go.
Chef Giancarlo Ferrara’s Italian restaurant may fly a little under the media radar, but it has become a favorite of diners in neighborhoods like Briargrove and Tanglewood thanks to its elegant decor and precisely-crafted dishes. Meat lovers could begin their meal with either beef carpaccio or imported prosciutto di Parma. Entrees include veal short ribs with risotto and porchetta (rolled, roasted suckling pig) served with scalloped potatoes.
Ben Berg’s Washington Avenue steakhouse reigns as the king of HRW donations because it packs a lot of value into its three-course, $45 menu. Start with meatballs or sizzling bacon. Entree choices include a hearty, 10-ounce filet (a whole quarter pound more than other restaurants), pork chops or, for an extra $25, a dry-aged, bone-in, 22-ounce ribeye. The menu is available for to-go Tuesday - Sunday or for dine-in Tuesday - Thursday and Sunday.
Field & Tides
The Heights’ restaurant’s $45, three-course dinner menu features both a double-cut pork chop served with white cheddar grits and a chili-rubbed hanger steak that comes with both white cheddar-lobster potatoes and smoked carrots. At lunch (two courses, $20), opt for the restaurant’s signature burger that’s topped with bacon.
The legendary Chinese restaurant may primarily be known for dim sum and seafood, but its $35, three-course HRW menu has two appealing meat entrees. For those who insist on filet, the restaurant offers it seasoned with honey and black pepper the same seasoning also gets used on lamb chops. Starting with fried, chili-garlic pork spare ribs seems like the obvious move.
Gauchos do Sul
At both its original location in Vintage Park and its new outpost in Highland Village, this Brazilian steakhouse serves 10 cuts of meats on its three-course, $45 dinner menu. They include top sirloin, bottom sirloin, leg of lamb, pork ribs, and pork sausage. Yes, that excludes the beef ribs, lamb chops, and ribeye that come as part of the 15-item, $60 regular menu, but the value of the HRW offering makes the trade-off worthwhile.
The downtown restaurant’s three-course, $35 HRW menu includes an 8-ounce teres major — a cut from the shoulder that’s similarly tender to filet but has more beef flavor. Served with fried potato salad and asparagus, diners can enjoy the steak on The Grove’s patio that looks onto Discovery Green.
Jonathan’s the Rub Memorial Green
The restaurant offers a number of meaty entrees on its three-course, $45 HRW menu. They include a braised Denver roast (a tender section of beef shoulder), Jonathan’s signature, 10-ounce cheeseburger, or a ribeye with chimichurri for a $10 supplement. Starting with a classic wedge or Caesar salad will add to a steakhouse-style experience.
Osso & Kristalla
Astros owner Jim Crane’s casual, Italian-inspired restaurant’s three-course, $35 HRW menu includes a riff on steak frites that swaps the usual filet for a grilled ribeye cap. Start with the restaurant’s signature meatballs for the full carnivore experience or lighten things up a bit with a summer tomato salad.
The Lodge’s signature smoked duck gumbo should be a sufficient reason to visit this Houston classic, but the three-course, $45 HRW menu includes some other tempting dishes. Entrees include a slow-cooked duck leg with green tomato chutney and a 44 Farms tri-tip steak that’s served with “foie creamed spinach” and crispy, crushed fingerling potatoes.
Sal y Pimienta
For those who prefer filet, the South American steakhouse serves it topped with crab, shrimp, and beurre blanc. Other meaty options on the three-course, $35 dinner menu include grilled pork tenderloin, veal chops, and a hearty, 10-ounce picanha (top sirloin) that’s served with black beans and basmati rice. Take the 4 leches cake that’s included with the meal to-go and have it for breakfast the next day.
Diners will find a butcher’s cut of Gyulais beef, a wagyu hybrid with a high level of intramuscular fat, on the menu at this Woodlands’ restaurant. Chef Austin Simmons tells CultureMap the cut will vary from night-to-night but will include the chuck flat, Denver cut, sirloin cap (coulotte), flank steak, outside skirt, and tri-tip. Those who prefer filet will have to spring for a $15 upcharge, but it does come with the chef's signature kimchi mashed potatoes.
These days just about every casual dining chain has its version of this appetizer: spinach and artichoke hearts mixed with cheese and spices, served up hot with chips or crackers for dipping. Making the rounds over the years, I've tried many of them, and most formulas are nearly identical. That is, except for this one. Houston's makes their spinach dip special by using a blend of sour cream, Monterey Jack cheese and Parmegiano Reggiano the ultimate Parmesan cheese. Parmegiano Reggiano is born in Italy and is usually aged nearly twice as long as other, more common Parmesan cheeses. That ingredient makes the big difference in this dip. So hunt down some of this special Parm at your well-stocked market or gourmet store, and you'll find out why Houston's spinach dip has been one of the most requested recipe clones here at TSR.
If you're hungry for more great copycat recipes from Houston's, click here.
This cold couscous salad side dish served at the 96-unit chain is very unique and seriously delicious. The secret is cooking the couscous with orange juice so that it is filled with flavor. Then you toss in some golden raisins, almonds, radishes, tomatoes, mint, green onion and parsley, and the couscous party is on. This is a great warm weather side for pool parties and picnics that can be made a day ahead. It’s easy. It’s tasty. It’s finally cloned.
It's not your typical coleslaw. The sweet pickle relish and green onion is a nice touch, and all that parsley really sets this dish apart from other slaws I've tried. If you like coleslaw, and you've never had this version at the restaurant, you might want to give it a try.
This 38-unit casual dining chain may be small compared to many of the other chains whose food I've cloned, but Houston's has a huge following of loyal customers throughout the country. I know this because for many years the restaurant sat at the top of my "most requested clones" list. I was finally ready to take on the challenge, but since there are no Houston's where I live in Las Vegas, it required a road trip—this time to Orange County, California. A couple plane rides, a bit of driving, some walking and a stumble or two later, I had a cooler full of Houston's goodies secured safely back at the lab. After a few hours of measuring and mixing this simple sweet-and-sour salad slather from Houston's was cracked.
Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.
This delicious house vinaigrette is a Houston's favorite, and a home carbon copy is just minutes away. All you'll need are a few basic ingredients, plus tarragon-infused white wine vinegar. If you have trouble tracking down the tarragon vinegar, plain white wine vinegar will work just fine. Use a measuring cup with a spout or a squirt bottle to slowly drizzle the oil into the other ingredients while mixing. This technique will create a thick emulsion that won't separate as your dressing chills out in the fridge.
Houston's also makes a killer Honey-Lime Vinaigrette which I've cloned here.
Cleverley Stone’s Legacy Lives on Through Houston Restaurant Weeks
Cleverley Stone (at right) launched Houston Restaurants Weeks in 2003. Today, her daughter Katie Stone (pictured with son Luca) is organizing Houston Restaurant Weeks 2020, which begins on Aug. 1. (Photo courtesy of Katie Stone)
When television personality and food journalist Cleverley Stone launched Houston Restaurant Week 17 years ago, there was no guarantee the event would be a success, let alone that it would turn into the month-long dining extravaganza it is today.
In fact, Cleverley’s daughter Katie recalls some initial resistance to the idea, which entailed a week-long fundraiser for the Houston Food Bank. Restaurants would offer specially priced multi-course lunches, brunches and dinners and donate a portion of proceeds to the Houston Food Bank, according to how many meals they sold.
“It was a new event, and nobody really knew what it was about,” says Katie. “I’m sure my mother understood the ability for it to succeed, and I’m sure she had a vision. I don’t know that she thought it would get this big.”
Today, Katie is continuing the legacy left by her mother, who passed away on May 28 after a months-long battle with uterine cancer. Since the event’s inception, it has raised over $16 million for the Houston Food Bank, America’s largest food bank. Cleverley’s final wish was that Houston Restaurant Weeks – now spanning 38 days instead of a single week – would continue in perpetuity.
Loch Bar, known for its raw bar and seafood menus, is participating in Houston Restaurant Weeks this year. (Photo: Kirsten Gilliam)
Katie is doing just that, balancing the logistics and marketing of this considerable fundraiser alongside her job as a professional poker player and her role as a mom of four-year-old Luca. Katie says it’s interesting for her to look back on the roots of the event. In its early days, Katie had just sold her own company and was figuring out her own next steps. With time on her hands, she’d help her mom with the “busy-work” of HRW such as data entry and making restaurant lists.
Katie later moved to New Jersey and continued watching the event grow larger each year. It eventually reached a point around 2015 where it was such a huge endeavor that Katie could hardly get ahold of her mom during the months of July and August.
“Quite honestly, I’d not hear from my mom during HRW,” says Katie with a laugh. “It was kind of mesmerizing to watch the growth and how big of an event it became in Houston, and how it became tethered to Houston’s culture.”
This year, Katie is taking on the added challenge of organizing HRW at a time when the hospitality industry is facing a devastating blow due to Covid-19. As a result, the event looks different from that in years past.
First, to support the restaurant industry, the fundraising aspect of the event has changed, with $1 per meal going to the Houston Food Bank instead of the traditional $3, $5, or $7.
“We are certainly grateful for that donation,” says Amy Ragan, Chief Development Officer for the Houston Food Bank. “We really wanted to make sure we could have this event and find ways to help the restaurants.”
Restaurants are also offering take-out and delivery options this year in case people would prefer to dine from their homes. And the list of participating restaurants looks different, too, as some longstanding participants have closed down and newer restaurants like Ouzo Bay and Loch Bar have joined.
Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse is offering a two-course $20 lunch menu as well as a three-course $45 dinner menu. Pictured here is the filet on their Restaurant Weeks menu. (Photo courtesy of Landry’s, Inc.)
“We look forward to participating every year,” said Arthur Mooradian, Divisional Vice President of Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse, one of the longstanding participants. “We strongly encourage Houstonians to participate and show their support for our industry during these unprecedented times.”
According to HRW’s website, nearly 200 restaurants are participating in the event, which runs from Aug. 1 through Sept. 7. Editor’s note: See the list of participating restaurants along with their menus here and follow Houston Restaurants Weeks on social media @HoustonRestaurantWeeks.
Popular Houston Chef Temporarily Closes Her Brand New Restaurant After Hospitalization
Vanessa Lomeli, the chef behind brand new Heights restaurant the 915, has temporarily closed her restaurant while she undergoes treatment for a medical emergency.
It’s the latest setback for the chef, who previously ran the kitchen at beloved but embattled Hobby-area restaurant Habanera and the Guero. Eight years ago, Lomeli received a kidney transplant from her father, and her body recently began rejecting the donated kidney. As a result, Lomeli’s been hospitalized. After she was hospitalized, friends of Lomeli launched a fundraiser to help the chef and her young daughter stay afloat.
Lomeli first gained a following for her red chile enchiladas and creative margaritas at Habanera and the Guero, the Hobby-area restaurant owned by her then-partner Ben Downing. The restaurant, originally called Habenera and the Gringo, was sued by Gringo’s Mexican Kitchen in 2017 in a case that was settled out of court. Three years later, the couple appeared on Food Network reality show “Restaurant Impossible,” where they hashed out everything from interpersonal relationship issues to Downing’s total financial control of the restaurant.
The medical emergency came just weeks after the chef’s triumphant return to the Houston dining scene with the 915, her ode to El Pasoan cuisine. The restaurant, named for the area code of Lomeli’s hometown of El Paso, featured some of the recipes she was best known for at Habenera. Fortunately, the restaurant’s closure is just temporary for now, and Lomeli plans to reopen the 915 as soon as she’s well enough to work again.
In the meantime, fans of the chef can donate to help Lomeli during her recovery via a Facebook fundraiser established by Houston Food Finder publisher Phaedra Cook.
Houston Restaurant Weeks: Help Give Back to the Houston Food Bank
Houston Restaurant Weeks is almost here! Starting this Wednesday, a portion of purchases at participating restaurants will be donated to the Houston Food Bank. I’ve found some participating restaurants that are offering up delectable dishes that will satisfy your cravings as you help support the Houston community, press play or click the link here to get more details.
The Rouxpour is a taste of New Orleans in Houston and they’re serving up some authentic cajun dishes in an atmosphere that will have you thinking you’re in the heart of Louisiana. Try their Mahi Opelousas, blackened Mahi-Mahi loaded up with shrimp, spinach, mushrooms, and a tomato cream sauce and served with jambalaya rice and veggies. Their Boudin Stuffed Chicken is a popular, authentically Cajun choice, served with a loaded potato cake! With locations in Katy, Baybrook, and Sugar Land you’re sure to find one near you.
Masraff’s is a special place that offers one of the best fine dining experiences in Houston. They have also been the top donor to the Houston Food Bank multiple times during restaurant week! Their Filet Mignon is pristine in presentation and flavor and goes beautifully with a side of Shrimp Andouille Mac and Cheese. One of my favorite choices is the Armenian Crab Fried Rice. This dish showcases owner Tony Masraff’s Armenian roots, displaying an array of new and savory flavors. Save room for dessert because they have some sweet treats like Hot Mini Doughnuts and even Boozy Milkshakes to top off your meal!
If you’re in the mood for some Italian, head on over to Osso & Kristalla and let Chef Danny Trace cook you up some Pasta Primavera with garden fresh vegetables or a classic Rigatoni and giant Texas meatball. Desserts are to die for here as well. My favorite is the H-Town Dream Cake, a chocolate layered cake with raspberry puree.
Spanish Wines are currently on sale at H-E-B and I have found a lovely Mistinguett sparkling Cava that is light and perfect for the summer. Les Charmes Macon-Lungy is a beautiful Burgundy chardonnay with toasted breadiness and fruity notes of flavor. Boomtown has a classic Pinot Gris from Washington state that exudes a light and citrusy flavor. All of these wines are $15 or less right now at H-E-B.
My Wine Finds
Mistinguett NV Brut Reserva Sparkling, Cava DO
Les Charmes Macon-Lugny Chardonnay
Boomtown Pinot Gris