Culture / Restaurants

Houston’s Best Restaurants (and Ramen) for December

New Spots Worth Eating at Right Now

BY // 12.13.16

A fresh crop of new restaurants has sprouted up in Houston, but what are they about, and more importantly what’s on the menu? From Hawaiian ramen and whimsical, fresh-pressed juices to upscale bar bites and modern Indian cuisine, here’s where you should eat in Houston this December.

1809 Eldridge Parkway; 9310 Westheimer Road, aguramen.com

Houston’s ramen revolution continues with the recent debut of Hawaii-based restaurant AGU Ramen. The brainchild of Japanese chef and Hawaiian local Hisashi Euhara, AGU touts old-school ramen techniques, utilizing premium ingredients and lengthy cooking times. Agu’s signature tonkotsu pork broth simmers for 22 hours, while the jidori (chicken) broth stews for nearly 10.

Both broths lend themselves to AGU’s 20 ramen options, which includes everything from a miso tonkotsu option topped with sweet corn to a cheesy jidori rendition made with house chilli sauce and creamy parmesan cheese. AGU’s fresh-made noodles round out each bowl.

Complement your ramen with a bevy of small plates including pork gyoza served with cabbage and nira; takoyaki — diced octopus, tempura bits, pickled ginger, and green onion fried in a wheat flour batter, and topped with mayo, takoyaki sauce, and bonito flakes; and the silky pork tonkotsu, which showcases medium-cooked pork loin breaded in panko.

Grab a bowl at one of AGU’s two new Houston locations (addresses above). A third outpost is expected to open on Thursday, December 22 at 7340 Washington Avenue.

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2606 Westheimer Road, bebidashouston.com 

Just two months after debuting neighborhood eatery Eloise Nichols at 2400 Mid Lane, sibling restaurateurs Nick Adair and Katie Adair Barnhart have finally unveiled their first juice bar concept, Bebidas, in the former Infitiny Title building at 2606 Westheimer Road.

On the menu: daily cold pressed juices including unique flavor combinations such as the Pantera Rosa, a blend of beets, pineapples, strawberries, grapefruit, ginger, and lime; the Mahalepeno, which mixes kale, cucumber, and pineapple with jalepeño for a refreshing kick; and the Beet Down, a mix of beets, carrots, cucumbers, pineapples, and lime. Or get your drink on with Bebidas’ array of coffees, teas, and matcha milks.

Looking for something more substantial? Opt for a smoothie like The Dude, a frozen standout that incorporates bananas, cold brew, dates, cacao nibs, almond milk, and almond butter; then boost your beverage with add-ins like spirulina, bee pollen, coconut oil, and aloe vera.

For those that want to skip the liquid meal, Bebidas is also churning out breakfast and lunch bites, featuring everything from breakfast tacos and avocado toast to brown rice bowls and temaki rolls.

4203 Edison Street, theedisonhouston.com 

If Edison’s vibrant mural doesn’t grab your attention, the menu certainly will. Manned by former Commonwealth chef Michael Sanguinetti, Edison — which is named for Edison Street —  is dishing out elevated fare and cocktails in a laid-back bar setting.

Grilled gulf snapper, smoked and roasted Texas chicken, braised beef flatbread, pancakes paired with duck confit, spinach and ricotta gnocchi, charred carrot and avocado salad, lamb ribs, braised pork shank, and chicken fried quail line Edison’s food menu. While the dishes showcase a refined flair, guests can expect a bar-friendly price tag with food prices ranging from $5 to $27 (most dishes hang in the $9 to $13 range).

Libations also abound with classic cocktails including the Old Fashioned, the Negroni, the Manhattan, a Margarita, and The Edison — the bar’s signature drink crafted with rum, ginger, tamarind, and lime — in play. Draft and bottle beers are also available.

2231 South Voss Road, no website at this time 

Smoke rules at Ronnie Killen‘s newest restaurant, Killen’s STQ at 2231 South Voss Road. The barbecue master’s first outpost in Houston’s city limits, STQ channels Killen’s culinary competition background with elevated meat-centric dishes.

Think short rib ravioli submerged in a port wine cream sauce and topped with shaved black truffles; a beef short rib tamale topped with pico and queso fresco; pecan-smoked pork belly candied with a cherry glaze; and bacon tres leches bread pudding finished with candied pecans and bacon crumbles. Of course, each dish is kissed with a hint of smoke.

Killen’s signatures also make an appearance with dishes such as the cue’ joint fried chicken special, burgers, steaks, creamed corn, crème brûlée bread pudding, and carrot cake.

700 Durham Drive, no website at this time

Contemporary Indian cuisine hits the Rice-Military district courtesy Los Angeles-based restaurant Surya India. After closing his Los Angeles restaurant in 2009, chef-owner Sheel Joshi revived his award-winning concept in Houston seven years later on Durham Drive, showcasing the broad influence of his French-Indian heritage.

Start your meal with the sag paneer or potato and chick pea samosas. Then dive into flavor-filled entrees such as tandoor lamp chops, chicken tikka kebabs, Indo-China chili chicken, or kadhi pakora — an off-the-menu signature.

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