Chef Oscar Mejia’s splashy tropical creations give a summer feel year-round to the menu at the Merchant Prince in Galveston. Located just off the soaring lobby of the beautifully restored 1879 Tremont House hotel (2300 Ship’s Mechanic Row), the intimate restaurant showcases Mejia’s idiosyncratic blend of Caribbean and Southwestern culinary
From Clarksville, 1205 N. Lamar, Austin
Where are we, Miami? The Bahamas? The shimmering blues and aquatic greens say “seaside.” So do the shell light fixtures and the wavy-textured back wall, which reminds me of a David Hockney swimming pool. All that’s needed are a few coconut palms to complete the Caribbean vibe. What’s driving
At Joey’s (4217 Oak Lawn) in Dallas, the concept of cheesecake has undergone a paradigm shift: Restaurateur Joey Vallone’s version is (1) not sweet and (2) not a dessert. To create this savory variation on a theme, chef Michael Wahl blends cream cheese with mascarpone, then folds in jumbo shrimp
Think casual entertaining, and you think “grill.” This dish, from the New Southwestern bistro Third Coast Rotisserie and Grill in Houston, propels tradition up a notch.The shrimp and scallop skewers, a creation of executive chef Gary Tottis, take one of Texas’ great natural resources— seafood—and give it a distinctive Mexican
In 1980, when Armando Miranda took his first job in America as a line cook, he barely knew a muffin from a mousse. That has changed. In his peregrinations through prominent Houston restaurants, including the River Cafe, he taught himself to cook. Even today he’s a free spirit. “I don’t
Here’s a game to play while snacking on edamame and perusing the menu at Kenichi: How many shades of black—not counting the patrons’ clothing—can you spot at this sleek new sushi bar in downtown Austin? Although the look, by architect Dick Clark and designer Tonya Noble, is the essence of
This recipe from Kenichi in Austin is an irresistible East-West hybrid.
Juicy, very juicy. as my happily dazed friend remarked, perusing the tabletop, “There’s so much to dip your bread in that you hardly know where to reach next.” Consider yourself warned: The one thing you do not want to do at Catalan is run out of bread, lest you miss
For more than a year, Houston’s cafe society has been holding its breath in anticipation of the scheduled September reopening of Tony’s (1801 Post Oak Boulevard). Not only has the interior been lavishly remodeled to suggest a restaurant on the Italian Riviera, but owner Tony Vallone and chef Mark Cox
On the day that Roy’s opened its first Texas outpost, Austin’s muggy winter weather ended abruptly with the arrival of a bracing cold front, so the hula dancers brought in for the occasion, clad in nothing but grass skirts and coconut-shell bras, were shimmying like mad on the sidewalk. I
Passion Fruit Shrimp Salsa1 ripe passion fruit (mango or other tropical fruit may be substituted) 4 or 5 extra-large shrimp (about 4 ounces total), peeled, deveined, and diced 2 teaspoons olive oil 1/4 cup finely minced onion (a Maui onion if available) 1/2 cup peeled, seeded, and finely diced tomatoes
“Brunch isn’t just eggs Benedict anymore,” says Matthew Antonvich, chef-owner of Dallas’ Sipango (4513 Travis), as he whips up a batch of frothy scrambled egg whites studded with morsels of pink smoked salmon and handsomely accessorized with oven-roasted potatoes and caramelized onions. “Five years ago,” says Antonovich, “nobody would have
Pudding a new twist on shrimp at Houston’s Amazón Grill.
It’s okay to be shellfish: You won’t want to share this shrimp appetizer from San Antonio’s Massimo.
Salmonchanted evening, you’ll get hooked by a delectable fish dish at Fort Worth’s Bistro Louise.
HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I SAID, “Darn! Why doesn’t Texas have more steakhouses with deejays?” How often have I groused, “Where the hell are the steakhouses with mirrored columns and silver-leafed domes?” And most important, “Where are the steakhouses with $69 margaritas?” I mean, really—if you want to go out
CAPITAL HILL I could feel the effects of a brutal day vanishing the minute I walked into the elegant dining room of the Mansion at Judges’ Hill—the designers who create impeccable sets for Merchant-Ivory films have nothing on the architects and decorators who brought Austin’s historic Goodall Wooten house back
From Chef Hervé Glin, Cité Grill, Houston
Has it come to this?Is it no longer enough for a restaurant to have a talented chef, an enticing menu, and a mod space in the theater district? Must there also be some gimmick with the name? Please, no. Surely the in crowd hasn’t taken to sniffing, “Well, we
Folks in the wine biz are always fretting about how to make the fruit of the vine more approachable. It’s easy: Just open a wine shop and start serving yummy little snacks (and big snacks) on the side, as Monsterville Horton IV, the owner of Cova, has done in
Oversized French art posters on the wall? Check. Burgundy-and-faded-saffron color scheme? Check. Servers in long aprons? Check. Austin’s Capitol Brasserie has been around only two months, but it already has that unmistakable French brasserie look and feel. And the food I’ve tried at restaurateur Reed Clemons’s new place has
If it’s salmon you relish, you’ll go bananas for a plantain-crusted concoction at Austin’s Z’Tejas.
TALK ABOUT YOUR FIFTEEN minutes of fame. Dallas chef and restaurateur Avner Samuel has certainly had his: Avner’s on McKinney, Yellow, Okeanos, Bistro A, Bistro K, not to mention stints at the Mansion on Turtle Creek and the Pyramid Room, back when those behemoths were forces to be reckoned with.
East meets West for a culinary summit in this smashing recipe from Houston’s Sake Lounge (550 Texas Avenue). Chef de cuisine Steven Vanderpool brightens all-American crab cakes with a splash of soy sauce and a dash of curry powder; for emphasis, he adds a few pungent leaves of Chinese parsley
Dine at the right time, get the right server, and order the right things, and you can have a dazzling meal at Dallas’s very own Nobu, an outpost of renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s eponymous restaurant empire. I, for one, liked my seared toro (the prized “fatty tuna”) with jalapeño,
Will you enjoy the smoke-roasted shrimp at Houston’s Moose Cafe? You can plank on it.
Shellfish? Swellfish. One bite of miso-glazed shrimp at Dallas’ Green Room and you’ll be hooked.
Anaqua Grill, San Antonio
Jaden’s formula for success involves equal parts style and sustenance. Totally of the moment, this new Dallas restaurant sports the obligatory slick fifties motifs set off by exposed ductwork and oversized hanging lamp shades. Some nice original art—like the sinuous copper-wire-and-stainless-steel sculpture near the entrance—adds to the equation. As for
When it grains, it scores: The smoothest risotto yet, courtesy of Salve! in Dallas.
L’Etoile, San Antonio
From Austin’s new Coyote Cafe (612 W. Sixth) comes the classiest club sandwich you’llever eat, and quite possibly the best. Offered as an occasional special at the Texas spin-off of Santa Fe’s original Coyote Cafe, the sandwich makes some key substitutions: Chile-seasoned grilled swordfish stands in for boring old turkey,
The grilled scallops at Houston’s Bistro Lancaster are morsels of edible silk.
Spinning in its own distinctive orbit, Austin’s Mars has created a stylishly multicultural menu, with Middle Eastern, Pacific Rim, and Mediterranean cooking styles all getting their due. This grilled salmon in a velvety sauce punched up with Japanese horseradish demonstrates how the small, trendy restaurant makes culinary worlds collide. Owner
At Dallas’ Toscana, it’s a time to grill—shrimp, that is.
Chef Stephan Pyles grew up in the food business—his parents owned the Big Spring Truck Stop Cafe—and despite a degree in music and the best intentions, he’s still cooking. With two restaurants in Dallas and two in Minneapolis, Pyles and partner John Dayton have enthusiastically spread the word about Southwestern
Will you enjoy the wrapped sea bass at San Antonio's Biga on the Banks? That depends on how you filo.
These crispy salmon and spinach spring rolls have Saks appeal.
Get hooked on the sea bass at Dallas' Bistral.
What are they doing here, hiding $100 bills in the booths? Spraying Love Potion Number Nine around the dining room? Flashing subliminal messages on the big-screen TVs (“You love the Porch, you must eat at the Porch . . .”)? I ask this in all seriousness, because now that
It was the long-ago winter when my family’s two superannuated cats expired right before the holidays that Mother issued a surprising edict: “We’re having Christmas dinner at the Four Seasons this year.” It took three days to pry the reason out of her: She couldn’t bear the thought of
The only fish you can’t eat at Pesce are the sensuous subjects of the still lifes on the walls and the gaudy tropical inhabitants of the big aquarium by the door. If you want to occupy the center stage at this smart Houston seafood house (3029 Kirby), grab a perch
A sumptuous cream sauce gilds crab cakes that are so good you’ll never even look at another recipe.
I don’t know about you, but every time I go out to eat, I say a little prayer to the kitchen gods: “Oh please, oh please, oh please, let there be something fabulous on the menu tonight.” Usually, however, the kitchen gods are out having a smoke in the alley
Remembrance of things pasta: The capellini salad from Dallas’ Nana Grill will live on in your memory.
Four Seasons Hotel, Riverside Cafe, Austin
Seldom has the buzz been so great for something so small. After months of anticipation, the Sandbar has finally opened in downtown San Antonio. Does the minuscule urban fish house live up to the hype? Decidedly. Scrunch around one of the seven paper-topped tables and order a sumptuous bowl