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Culture / Restaurants

Houston’s Best Restaurants for November

8 New Spots Worth Eating at Right Now

BY // 11.25.16

A fresh crop of new restaurants has sprouted in Houston, but what are they about, and what’s on the menu? From Portuguese pastries and donut ice cream cones to New York City burgers and a surprising green curry in The Medical Center, here’s where you should eat over the next month or so.

ELOISE NICHOLS 
2400 Mid Lane, 713.554.0136, eloisenichols.com 

Nestled between Highland Village shopping center and River Oaks District, Eloise Nichols — the newest restaurant from sibling restaurateurs Nick Adair and Katie Adair Barnhart (Adair Kitchen) — is serving up Gulf Coast, Texas fare with a laid-back ambience.

The neighborhood eatery is churning out lunch, dinner, and brunch under the tutelage of chef Joseph Staysich (Benjy’s, Karbach), who utilizes ingredients sourced from local purveyors including Black Hills Ranch, 44 Farms, Blue Horizon Seafood, Atkinson Farms, Kraftsmen Bakery, Dairymaids, Moonflower Farms, Amy’s Ice Cream, Animal Farms, and Lightsley Farms.

Menu highlights include the venison sausage on butternut morstada; the miso caesar salad served with chicken, Texas pecans, and pomegranate seeds; Joe’s hot chicken; the Texas beef burger; and the harissa-marinated redfish on the half shell served with charred lemon and brussels slaw.

Pro Tip: Don’t miss the Bloody Mary cart during brunch service.

THE DOUGHCONE 
Food Truck, 832.863.5224, thedoughcone.com 

Donut ice cream cones are one of the latest food crazes to sweep social media, and now, the unique sweet has landed in Houston with The DoughCone. Brace yourself for homemade vanilla ice cream served inside a warm, cinnamon sugar-coated donut cone.

Smear the inside of your cone with Nutella or Cookie Butter, then top the creamy confection with everything from chocolate chips and sprinkles to gummy worms and almonds; and don’t forget to grab a color changing spoon. Be on the lookout for The DoughCone food truck throughout Rice Village.

LIBERTY KITCHEN AT THE TREEHOUSE
963 Bunker Hill Road, 713.468.3745, libertykitchentreehouse.com

For its fourth installment of Liberty Kitchen, F.E.E.D. TX restaurant group tapped one of the most eco-friendly buildings in the country as its next venue — The Treehouse development in Memorial City. The green digs not only influenced the sustainably sourced decor, but also the expansive menu.

A wood-fire grill lends itself to new, exclusive dishes inspired by South American pot cooking. Culinary director Lance Fegen stews entrees such as cazuela of pork shoulder; chorizo, octopus, and chicken; and red beans and rice prepared with Andouille sausage and a Carolina gold rice — all served in petite dutch ovens. Steaks, pork chops, ribs, and fish are fired alongside cast-iron dishes including coal-roasted spaghetti squash and a bevy of house-made sausages (chorizo, brat, pork belly, and Italian) served with flavor-packed sauces like ballpark mustard, Chinese duck sauce, and Mexican green sauce.

Of course, Liberty Kitchen signatures such as Lance’s loaded hushpuppies topped with queso, bratwurst, cherry peppers, bacon jam, scallions; creole gumbo; deviled eggs topped with fried oysters, smoked salmon, bacon jam, or dixie fried chicken; oysters on the half shell, and customized Hawaiian poke are also available.

OPORTO FOODING HOUSE & WINE
125 West Gray Street, 713.528.0115, oportomidtown.us

Houston’s best new bakery can be found in a rather unexpected venue — Oporto Fooding & Wine. The award-winning Midtown eatery is bringing its talents to the pastry world with the launch of its new pop-up bakery, NATAS. The brainchild of Oporto owner and chef Rick Di Virgilio, NATAS is Houston’s first Portuguese-inspired pop-up bakery and coffee shop, serving sweet and savory pastries, cookies, nougats, barks, and breads. 

Pastry chef Anthony Stein crafts global confections such as Portuguese custard filled donuts; pastel de natas — a famous Portuguese pastry; croissants filled with house-made ham or cheese; pistachio brioche; gluten-free cardamom-spiced blondies; house rye and pumpkin seed granola served with yogurt and quince jam; and khachapuri, a sausage, cheese, and poached egg-filled bread.

Also at diners’ disposal is an array of coffees, organic teas, house-made chai, juices and a special passion fruit lassi. Catch the NATAS pop-up every Saturday and Sunday from 8 to 11 am.

RELISH RESTAURANT AND BAR
2810 Westheimer Road, 713.599.1960, relishhouston.com 

Following five years as a fast-casual concept on San Felipe, Relish debuted its new full-service restaurant and bar last month with an expansive menu of Italian and Mediterranean-inspired dishes.

Lunch go-to’s include a beet salad topped with fresh blue cheese cream and a lemon vinaigrette; the roasted squash salad fashioned with kale, butternut squash, farro, and a lemon-maple vinaigrette; the crispy chicken sandwich topped with tarragon ranch and cheddar cheese (a must-try); and Relish’s hot dog topped with house-made relish and spicy mustard.

Relish launches its dinner menu on Monday, November 28 featuring everything from fried chicken with hot honey and maple bacon brussels sprouts to grilled pork chop served with parsnip, braised greens and honey crisp apple sauce; and lamb chops accompanied by fingerling potatoes, peas, and fresh mint. 

Lookout for Relish’s weekend brunch in 2017.

Shake Shack is set to open its second Houston location in Rice Village in 2017.
Shake Shack’s first Houston location is now open in The Galleria.

SHAKE SHACK
5015 Westheimer Road, 281.213.0445, shakeshack.com 

Houston may not need another new burger joint, but that isn’t stopping gourmet national brands from infiltrating the city’s vast burger landscape. New York-based burger chain Shake Shack debuted its first Houston location at The Galleria this month to lines of anxious fans.

What can Houstonians expect from the famed Shack? An array of signature burgers, sandwiches, and hot dogs, including the Texas exclusive Lockhart Link Burger, which is topped with a jalapeño, cheddar sausage from Kreuz Market in Bryant, Texas.

Other Houston exclusives include concretes (frozen custard with mix-ins) utilizing Fluff Bake Bar‘s devil’s food cake and pies, Morningstar donuts, and Greenway Coffee.

THIRD COAST
John P. Mc Govern Texas Medical Center Commons, 6550 Bertner Avenue, 713.749.0400, thirdcoasthouston.com 

Your next fine dining experience should be in The Texas Medical center via Third Coast. Stationed in the former Trevisio space, the new restaurant is channeling Houston’s diverse makeup through a fusion of cuisines including everything from Asian and Hispanic to Native American and Czech-German.

Chef Jon Buchanan prepares can’t miss dishes such as jumbo lump crab perched atop avocado and Fiji apple, then drizzled with a ginger orange vinaigrette; Texas prime beef tartare mixed with a mustard aioli, truffle, shiso, and watermelon radishes served with crostini; red snapper served in a green curry sauce alongside vegetable slaw, cashews, and lemon grass-ginger rice; and Berkshire pork tenderloin accompanied by spätzle, sweet potato puree, and shaved Brussels sprouts.

For dessert, indulge in sweets from pastry chef Elizabeth Aquila — don’t dash without a taste of the apple tart topped with house-made cinnamon ice cream, key lime pie fashioned with coconut crust, and sinful sticky toffee pudding.

TINYS MILK & COOKIES
3636 Rice Boulevard, 713.352.3086, tinyboxwoods.com 

After nearly 10 years, Tiny Boxwoods is giving its cult-favorite chocolate chip cookie top billing with the opening of Tinys Milk & Cookies. The new walk-up bakery, which shares an address with sister restaurant Tinys No. 5, is dishing out the obligatory cookies and milk alongside a bevy of other sweet treats and pastries.

Lookout for freshly baked artisanal bread, a full espresso bar stocked with Houston’s own Southside Espresso, and up to 10 homemade ice cream flavors a week as well as other offerings including chia seed pudding, house-made granola, sausage & cheese croissants, fresh squeezed/pressed juices, and breakfast taco Fridays.

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