Restaurants / Openings

Fancy Chef’s New Laid-Back Burger Restaurant Creates Buzz — and Huge Houston Expectations

Is Elevated Comfort Food a Winner?

BY // 06.23.17

When your culinary accolades include preparing a meal for former First Lady Michelle Obama, launching a new restaurant comes with mounting expectations. So when chef Ryan Hildebrand shuttered his posh Houston restaurant Triniti earlier this year and shifted focus to his new concept FM Kitchen and Bar, all eyes were on him.

FM Kitchen is everything Triniti was not — a laid-back destination touting casual fare, whimsical surrounds, and a sprawling outdoor patio. It’s hip. It’s young. It’s fun. But while Hildebrand’s restaurant vision may have changed, the culinary execution has not wavered.

Hildebrand lends his fine dining chops to FM’s Texas-centric menu, a collection of dishes inspired by the nostalgia of what could be discovered throughout Texas’ FM back roads (hence the name).

Fittingly, you’ll find elevated comfort classics including chicken fried steak smothered in savory white gravy; fried shrimp and hushpuppies accompanied by remoulade and tartar sauce; a crispy fried chicken platter; Salisbury pork chops dressed with mushrooms and onion gravy; and a classic Frito pie.

While Texas staples play a big role in the restaurant’s ethos, the broad menu really showcases something for everyone. Take standouts like the shrimp and avocado campechana or the FM fried chicken burger slathered with agave butter and pickles. There’s even a lemon-thyme brick chicken topped with mustard gravy and roasted garlic.

Also on the menu: FM’s wings, which come in hot and sweet

But FM’s true standout is its eponymous burger, which makes perfect sense considering the restaurant was previously slated to be named FM Burger. The thin patty is crisped on a flat top before being placed atop a soft potato bun. Lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese, and FM’s Shhh sauce round out the roadside-style burger.

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FM’s lighthearted fare is only further complemented by its refreshing cocktails (The Watermelon Fresca is a must), gas station-inspired interiors, and outdoor offerings.

Thanks to designer Erin Hicks and architect Jim Herd, the space brims with industrial chic design, touting everything from aged road signs to pick-up truck parts — further amplifying Hildebrand’s vision of providing Houstonians with a simplistic hangout in the thick of Houston’s Washington corridor.

The al fresco patio cements this Houston restaurant as a go-to summer hotspot, which will provide a bevy of games, drinks, and live music all year long.

Pro tip: Don’t leave without devouring one of FM’s over-the-top shakes. Order one as is, or add a shot or two of booze to kick the drink up to the next level. FM Kitchen and Bar, 1112 Shepherd Drive, fmkitchenandbar.com.

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