Restaurants / Openings

Woodlands Resort Quietly Opens a New Restaurant With Brunch Power — and More Big Changes Are On the Way

Everything You Need to Know About Back Table Kitchen & Bar

BY // 01.31.22

Looking for a weekend escape to the “country,” but don’t want to travel too far afield? You might want to consider The Woodlands Resort. About 45 minutes from downtown Houston, the 350-acre compound is being transformed into a Curio by Hilton hotel complex. With two 18-hole golf courses, 20-plus indoor and outdoor tennis courts, plus a water park for the kiddos, you can bring everyone along (including Fido) to this pet-friendly resort.

And much more’s coming. Woodlands Resort is poised to reveal an extensive, splashy new spa by early summer. Plus, you can expect a  complete overhaul of its rooms to start the fourth quarter of this year.

In the meantime, the powers-that-be have quietly opened a new restaurant on the premises dubbed Back Table Kitchen & Bar. Led by chef-de-cuisine Jonathan Lestingi, whose last stay was a lengthy one in New Orleans where he worked behind the range at Brennan’s, Red Fish Grill and Willa Jean before opening his own stylish gastropub called Oxalis in the Big Easy’s Bywater neighborhood.

Chef Jonathan Lestingi of Back Table Kitchen and Bar
Chef-de-Cuisine Jonathan Lestingi at the new Back Table Kitchen & Bar at The Woodlands Resort.

Bringing flavors of the American South and a few from international destinations around the globe, this new casual restaurant is open for dinner nightly and breakfast/brunch every weekend. Its back porch terrace overlooks the 18th green and pond. (And the kids get access to a game room to keep them occupied between courses, too.)

Ham & Pimento Cheese Board at Back Table Kitchen & Bar
A signature dish at Back Table: the ham and pimento cheese board served with beer mustard, pickles, and warm biscuits.

Back Table’s menu is studded with comforting Southern food staples like its pimento cheese ($12), a creamy mayo-spiked cheese spread served with fried saltines. The Southern ham ($24) travels to the table via Kentucky. Known as Colonel Newsom’s aged ham, it’s a smokehouse aged, naturally dry-cured country ham, made in the style of Italy’s famed prosciutto.

Here it’s sliced paper-thin and served alongside house-made pickles, beer-spiked mustard, benne seed topped lavash and warm biscuits.

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Don’t miss the pickled shrimp and deviled eggs ($24). Marinated in a Louisiana boil spice mix, the shrimp and its accompanying crisp vegetables are piled up in a mason jar and presented beside a trio of deviled eggs, the creamy, fluffy yolk mixture scented with truffle. Virtuous salad eaters will surely enjoy the kale salad ($14) curly leaves of kale tossed in a citrus vinaigrette and topped with crisp Cajun-spiced kale leaves, pickled fennel and shards of parmesan.

Entrees include beer can-brick chicken ($26), that quirky backyard barbecue dish where a whole chicken is roasted over a can of beer while its interiors are steamed with the vapors of the half-drunk can of beer, keeping the meat moist and juicy. Lestingi’s version is succulent, employing his own technique — the dish is accompanied by brown sugar and bourbon sweet potato puree.

Another winning main dish? Back Table’s steak frites ($42) are made with a hanger cut topped with charred shallots with duck-fat fried French fries and a smoked onion bearnaise sauce.

Braised Short Rib at Back Table Kitchen & Bar
Back Table’s hearty six-hour braised chuck short ribs with black eyed peas, a pecan gremolata and fresh horseradish.

The best dessert on the Back Table menu is the bourbon-laced tres leches with hints of orange ($10).

Tres Leches at Back Table Kitchen & Bar
The best dessert on the menu is the bourbon scented tres leches topped with orange slices and a dusting of pulverized dried orange peel.

Located at 2301 N. Millbend Drive, Back Table Kitchen & Bar is open daily for happy hour from 4 to 6 pm, dinner Sundays through Thursdays from 5 to 9 pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 5 to 10 pm. Brunch is now served Saturday and Sunday from 11 am until 2 pm. For more information, visit backtabletx.com or call (281) 364-6400.

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