The ambition of Potente, Jim Crane's new restaurant, is clear in this tuna crudo with frozen foie gras, preserved lemon and caperberries dish.
The former Uchi chef brings fresh flavors to the classic Hawaiian dish at SeaSide Poke.
Killen's STQ combines the arts of steakhouse cooking and barbecuing.
La Table offers both elegant and casual dining.
Kiran's Restaurant is based on Awadhi cooking style, with an emphasis on slow cooking and subtle use of spices and herbs.
Editor’s note: The Houston restaurant scene is constantly changing, with new hotspots, must-try places and major foodie events coming along on a daily basis. Even the most dedicated eater can have trouble keeping up. Don’t worry, PaperCity has you covered.
AMERICA, YOU’RE UP
It’s fair to say the freshly opened Emmaline is an American restaurant that pays homage to European fare. The eatery just opened up at 3210 West Dallas last month.
Main dishes include seafood options like wood-fired cioppino blanco, the classic organic roasted chicken, and the breakfast-for-dinner frittata Americana.
The word on the street is Houston Astros owner Jim Crane may have finally found a hit with Potente after multiple chef changes — and plenty of money poured in. The high-end Italian restaurant sits right across from Minute Maid Park at 1515 Texas Avenue — and it’s starting to live up to the pressure of that prime perch.
Potente boasts of daily-caught fresh seafood, and executive chef Danny Trace hand selects produce straight from local farmers markets. We hear the pasta dish Agnolotti di Zucca is Potente’s power hitter.
Former Uchi chef Tai Nguyen has people eating up SeaSide Poke in EaDo at 2118 Lamar. There are seven signature Hawaiian raw fish salads, including the popular Kani Bake bowl. Slices of fish combine with spicy aioli, breakfast radish, onion and masago.
Hawaiian tradition meets innovative flavors with locally sourced Texas, sustainably caught fish.
SPAIN ON THE BRAIN
Spanish restaurant BCN Taste & Tradition, which opened in 2017 to great fanfare, continues to live up to the hype. Modern Spanish cuisine turns heads in a 1920s-era home in Montrose.
Chef Luis Roger, the former executive chef at a privately owned Spanish estate, brings Catalan flavors to the forefront with dishes like Suckling Ibérico pig and bomba rice cooked in cuttlefish ink.
Oaxacan restaurant Xochi is arguably James Beard Award winning chef Hugo Ortega’s most ambitious restaurant. Mole headlines the dinner menu, with a mole-tasting option that acquaints you with four different house flavors.
Brunch can’t be overlooked — Saturday’s a la carte includes offerings like crispy pork belly tacos and wood-roasted oysters. Walk on over to the Marriott Marquis hotel at 1777 Walker if you’re feeling like a Sunday brunch buffet.
DIAL K FOR KITCHEN
Here’s the 411 on Kitchen 713 — it’s international-meets-home-style-Southern, but “it’s not fusion.” It’s global grub, plain and simple, comfort food with a kick from Szechuan peppercorns and Thai chilies.
Catfish tikka masala, down south Carbonara, and black-eyed pea panzanella are just a few examples. Get it at 4601 Washington.
KEBABS ON UPPER KIRBY
The “Godmother of Indian Fine Dining,” chef Kiran Verma, celebrates Kiran’s Restaurant’s first birthday this January.
The Indian eatery at 2925 Richmond is known for its Awadhi cooking style: cooking over a slow fire with nuanced spices and herbs. The menu’s must-haves range from street foods (samosas, pakoras) to classics like seafood curry and vindaloo.
From Mexico City to Austin to Dallas, Tacodeli finally found a home in Houston last year at 1902 Washington. The tacos, made the perfect size for mixing and matching, satisfy meat-lovers and vegans alike, if the Freakin’ Vegan option wasn’t clear enough.
Options like the Tacoloco abound (Adobo braised brisket, caramelized onions, and more), and there are rotating specials to keep you guessing. Currently, there’s an Akuashi beef-stuffed roasted Anaheim pepper, called Chile en Nogada.
ON THE TABLE
From elegant to casual, La Table has you covered for every occasion. You can post up in two areas at 1800 Post Oak. You can chat with a date at La Table’s upstairs Château over the traditional tableside service for two. The classic organic heritage chicken is a worthy splurge.
Or, you can meet up at Marché — La Table’s casual first floor market place/bar — for Osetra caviar, steak frites, and Moroccan spiced chicken.
GOING IN FOR THE KILLEN
With Killen’s STQ, Ronnie Killen opened his fourth restaurant, one that goes far beyond barbecue. The restaurant gets its name from the blend of steakhouse cooking and barbecue techniques seen in entrees like the smoked beef filet.
Head to 2231 South Voss to try out BBQ Maine lobster tail, beef short rib tamales, pecan smoked pork belly, and more.