Houston’s smart set is positively smitten with this beauty, featuring soaring windows, coveted patio seating, a roomy bar center stage, and lush touches throughout. Billed as a neighborhood trattoria, Emmaline is succeeding with fresh takes on American favorites. Case in point: the so-called wedge salad is a pretty presentation of grilled romaine garnished with radicchio strips, creamy Gorgonzola, pecans, and a ribbon of celery. Seared sea scallops pair nicely with sorrel-tinged mushrooms, sided by crispy black rice, vivid purslane, and garlic aioli. Our carnivore begrudgingly shared a morsel of his hanger steak, seared outside, buttery rare inside, drizzled with oregano pesto (which seemed more like a first cousin of chimichurri), with the requisite side of just-right skinny fries. A promising dish of scampi garganelli, wonderful scrolls of pasta with cipollini onions, cherry tomatoes, and snow peas, was marred by soft shrimp. The eclectic menu also features good-looking thin-crust pizzas and enticing appetizers, like oysters and caviar.
Cuisine: New American