Semolina pancakes at Helen.
Forget breakfast. Brunch is truly the most important meal of the day (or, at least, the weekend). More and more Houston restaurants are recognizing this and offering brunch for the first time. Here are five new options that have joined Houston’s brunch bunch.
Downtown urban bar and eatery Bovine & Barley has added brunch to its menu offerings. Order pecan-crusted French toast stuffed with cream cheese and fresh strawberry filling. Or opt for the Croisaffle, a croissant filled with grilled bologna and sharp cheddar that’s pressed into a waffle and drizzled with queso. Libations include the Michelada, the Doctored Bloody Mary, a beer cocktail of the day and Effervescence At Its Essence, a sparkling wine cocktail. Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays, 11 am to 3 pm. 416 Main St., Houston, TX 77002.
Greek taverna Helen has also launched brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, 11 am to 3 pm. Chef William Wright and chef de cuisine Steven Ripley showcase a Greek riff on breakfast classics such as sourdough grits with poached egg and caramelized onions, served with lamb or shrimp; gyro with Black Hill pork, pita, tomato, red onion, tzatziki, egg and fries; Greek benedict with poached eggs, feta cornbread, Cypriot sausage and aygolemono hollandaise; greens-and-cheese pie with three cheeses, four greens, capers and oregano; and semolina pancakes with grape molasses and Concord bay leaf grape syrup, almonds, Greek yogurt and whipped cream. Helen’s owner, Evan Turner, has also whipped up a special list of Greek wine cocktails, including retsina and tonic; the Nemean Lion, made with Greek liqueur, Mavrodaphne (a sweet red wine), cherry syrup, fresh lemon juices, clove, cinnamon, sugar and house-made spoon sweets; and the Commandaria Cobbler, a blend of Commandaria (the oldest continually made wine in the world), Mavrodaphne and blackberry syrup. 2429 Rice Blvd., Houston, TX 77005.
Peska Seafood Culture has introduced a Sunday feast. From 11 am to 3:30 pm, guests can indulge in a brunch spread complete with a patio paella station, market raw bar and made-to-order menu items such as French toast, Cochinita pibil and Yucatan-style braised pork shoulder. You can also take advantage of bottomless mimosas and sangría. Brunch is $39, with the option to add bottomless libations for $9. 1700 Post Oak Blvd., Houston, TX 77056.
The new concept from James Beard Award-winning chef Bradley Ogden, Pour Society, offers a Sunday brunch from 11 am to 3 pm, with five weekly rotating items. Expect dishes such as horchata french toast, orange- and cream-cheese-glazed monkey bread, chilaquiles frittata and the Pour pub breakfast, which includes andouille sausage, Yorkshire pudding, baked beans and two eggs. The gastropub also offers its regular lunch menu during brunch. 947 North Gessner Road, Houston, TX 77024.
Ula’s Tex-Mex Restaurant – Washington Avenue now serves brunch Saturday and Sundays until 2 pm. Signature dishes include machacado en salas, migas con pico, and carne asada and eggs; add a brunch mimosa, which comes with orange juice or freshly brewed hibiscus juice, for only $9.95, with one-penny refills. Brunch is served Saturdays and Sundays, until 2 pm. 5555 Washington Ave., Houston, TX 77007.