The Hay Merchant


Its name honoring early Houston hay merchant Michael Westheimer, this Montrose temple to craft beer (75-plus on tap) was dreamed up by the guys who own Anvil Bar & Refuge. Expect a noisy crowd at this dimly lit man cave and a small, ever-changing menu. Executive chef Antoine Ware prepares home-style grub with Cajun accents: think fried chicken livers and waffles. A gloriously puffy homemade pretzel is a stellar starter, but skip its odd, watery cheese dip. Also good are the rich chicken-and-sausage gumbo, the humongous “JH” hot dog, and the Butcher’s Burger. Beer & wine. 1100 Westheimer Rd (713-528-9805). Open Mon–Fri 3 p.m.–2 a.m., Sat & Sun 11 a.m.–2 a.m. $–$$ W+

Doss Country Store


Matthew Kavin, a young chef with New York culinary cred, is turning this diminutive Central Texas spot into a dining destination. Breakfast and lunch are fine, but the weekend prix-fixe dinners leave us speechless. To wit: a salad of grilled okra and tomatoes; risotto with crab and asparagus; a buttery beef tenderloin sans any extraneous rubs or tricks; ethereal cheddar-chive biscuits; little angel food cakes with strawberries, agarita berries, and sweet cream. We’re planning to return with friends. This week. BYOB (beer available at convenience store). 14394 Ranch Rd 783 North, near Ranch Rd 648 (830-669-2160). Open Tue–Thur 7–6, Fri & Sat 7–9, Sun 9–2. Closed Mon. $–$$ W+