Forget the turkey and stuffing — opt for a more unconventional feast this Thanksgiving.
We’re all familiar with the traditional Thanksgiving spread — the perfectly roasted turkey, honey-baked ham, silky mashed potatoes and gravy, glazed carrots, creamed corn, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, buttery dinner rolls, and sweet pumpkin pie.
But who says there’s only one way to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal? If you’re looking to challenge the classic holiday spread, here are five Houston restaurants putting a unique twist on this year’s feast — we see smoked turkey spring rolls and Thanksgiving mussels in your future.
BENJY’S ON WASHINGTON
5922 Washington Avenue, 713.868.1131, benjys.com
While Benjy’s Thanksgiving menu won’t be completely devoid of Thanksgiving staples — garlic herb turkey breast, butter whipped potatoes with brown gravy, challah dressing with hazelnuts, and plenty of cranberry concoctions make an appearance — the Washington location is offering a mix of menu items that combat the stereotypical holiday feast.
The prix fixe menu ($40) features starters such as arugula cranberry salad topped with pepper-crusted goat cheese, butternut squash, walnuts, and a poppy seed vinaigrette and red potato leek soup accompanied by parmesan crostini and an onion marmalade.
Forgo the turkey for Benjy’s Chapapella pork steak served with miso sweet potato apple butter; grilled local catch flavored with saffron, tomato, and fennel; or go for the vegetarian eggplant lasagna sprinkled with nutritional yeast. Finish off the meal with your choice of sweet potato pie (marshmallow fluff and candied pumpkin seeds included), pecan pie topped with butter pecan ice cream, or Mom’s chocolate cake.
And for the kiddos, juicy cheeseburgers and grilled cheese sandwiches abound. Benjy’s will be open from 11 am to 4 pm Thanksgiving day.
Opt for a Vietnamese twist this Thanksgiving with a meal out at Le Colonial. Bask in the restaurant’s beautiful interiors while gorging on creative T-Day specials such as smoked turkey spring rolls alongside a creamy basil dipping sauce; roasted duck served with cranberry ginger sauce and wok-fried Brussels; and pumpkin cheesecake in a brandy cumquat sauce.
Diners can also enjoy their favorite selections from the restaurant’s regular lunch and dinner menu. Who can resist Le Colonial’s pho bo (oxtail soup with sliced beef tenderloin, rice noodles, and aromatic herbs) on a crisp Thanksgiving evening?
Pappas Bar-B-Q may be serving a traditional Thanksgiving menu this year, but what’s really unconventional is the bargain price tag. While most restaurants charge upwards of $40 on Thanksgiving Day, Pappas is dishing out Turkey Day plates for just $12.95.
Feast on hickory smoked turkey, smoked ham, cornbread stuffing, yams, green bean casserole, giblet gravy, cranberry sauce, and a dinner roll.
While seafood is usually absent from the traditional Thanksgiving menu, many culinary historians believe the food group played a major role in the first Thanksgiving meal. Peska is looking to channel the holiday’s origins with a seafood-centric feast this Thursday.
Chef Omar Pereney prepares a four-course prix fixe menu ($60), which starts with a shareable platter of mussels steamed with smoked tomato, chorizo, and white wine, followed by parsnip potato soup topped with turkey bacon bits or walnut pear salad. Star proteins include whole roasted cornish hen and cranberry sauce; whole roasted branzino with cherry tomatoes; and prime rib in a slow cooked au jus accompanied with family-style sides including mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, and green bean casserole. Top off your meal with pumpkin cheesecake or pecan pie.
Peska’s diverse menu isn’t the restaurant’s only Thanksgiving day highlight. Guests can also reserve a private suite complete with a flat screen TV and outdoor patio to enjoy a day of Thanksgiving football. Reserve your spot at Peska’s Thanksgiving meal here.
Ditch the turkey for wild game this year at Rainbow Lodge. The three-course, prix fixe menu touts first course options such as a wild game trio of crisp sweet breads with smoked mushrooms, grilled buffalo on roasted pumpkin grits, and seared north elk with fig preserves; smoked duck and Andouille sausage gumbo with wild rice pilaf; and seared scallops accompanied by Morcilla Piquillo risotto.
Opt for main courses like a wild game duo of venison loin and Texas quail; rainbow trout with lump crab and pecan butter; or beef tenderloin filet in a smoky fondue. The obligatory Southern-style roasted turkey is also available.
Croissant bread pudding, chocolate terrine, and pumpkin pie with toasted marshmallow cream are your dessert options.