Summer's going to be over soon, and the sweltering heat will finally... probably continue like nothing happened at all. But one thing that WILL change is where you get your next great meal, and it's going to be thanks to one of these excellent Houston spots that cut the ribbon over the last couple of months.
Houston’s 16 Best Bar & Restaurant Openings this Summer
This NY-style dual-concept steakhouse and butcher shop has flawlessly carved its way into Houston’s be-seen dining scene. The hybrid keeps a sturdy crowd, so you’ll need to make a reservation if you want to go beast mode on things like a USDA prime porterhouse for two (dry-aged in house, of course), chicken-fried prime pork chops, and lump crab-stuffed trout. Get it all with superior steakhouse sides and seriously good classic tinctures (two of which are on tap).
With a focus on global flavors and a cool West Coast style, this fresh-out-the-gates seafood kitchen from Clark Cooper Concepts (Ibiza, Brasserie 19, etc.) is living up to the group’s baller status. Don’t miss refreshed chalkboard specials, daily selections of caviar, and all coast raw oysters next to standout mainstays -- like their PEI mussels with uni cream, hamachi crudo with foie gras, and Moroccan-spiced redfish on-the-half-shell.
Garden Oaks/Oak Forest
After a year-long wait, this biscuits-first concept from the guys behind Jus’ Mac has finally opened its doors. Scratch-made fat-loaded biscuits smothered with all kinds of heart-clogging deliciousness come in flavors like the Daddy Warbucks -- stacked with CFS, raspberry preserves, and sawmill gravy -- or the El Chapa -- loaded with scrambled eggs, chorizo, and habanero salsa.
The brainchild of seafood geniuses chef Manabu Horiuchi (Kata Robata) and chef Jean-Philippe Gaston (formerly of Cove) finally made its highly buzzed-over debut. Now you can eat allllll the foods from their inspired menu, broken down into sections like Raw Stuff (think crudo and tartares), Nom Nom Nom (think katsu pork sandwiches and duck and shrimp shumai), and Game Over (where CFS gets pimped out Japanese-style with a shiitake-mushroom crust and tofu gravy).
Open since June, Hubbell & Hudson’s intimate 25-seat chef’s table is one of the hottest tickets in town. Chef Austin Simmons' 8 course meal (available Thurs -- Sat) changes weekly, but you can expect gloriousness in the form of fresh, sustainable fish, dry-aged meat, and desserts that may as well just drop the mic.
In early June, sugar fairy Rebecca Mason took her creative confections to a brick-and-mortar spot on Gray. Now you can get sugar-high on Fluffernutters, Hobnobs, and SHOS (those are Sugar Hooker Oreos for you neophytes) whenever you damn well please.
Incase you missed it, this fan favorite Houston brewer added another notch to its resume when it opened up an on-site, full-service restaurant earlier this summer. With chef Joseph Stayshich (of Benjy’s Rice Village) at the helm, the kitchen pumps out staggeringly good eats to match the über popular brews. Start with seasonal pickle pots and crispy Korean fried chicken wings before moving on to house-ground burgers and Weisse Versa-battered fish & chips. Then wash it all down with beer, because obviously.
Fun fact: this throwback to another time is housed in the 1910 Southern Pacific Railroad Building (now the Bayou lofts), where local jeweler V. A. Corrigan’s popular Houston Watch Company once was. Being the stand-up dude that he was, Corrigan was also the city’s Deputy Time Master, keeping the Official local time to which all local and railroad clocks needed to be synced. While the haunt may have been the epicenter for keeping time back in the day, today it’s a place to lose complete track of it over an old fashioned (or something else from their excellent cocktail menu).
Chef William Wright (of Philippe Restaurant & Lounge and Table on Post Oak) and respected sommelier Evan Turner assure this isn’t your typical falafel-fueled Greek spot. Instead you’ll find refreshed Greek fare with a touch of Gulf Coast soul alongside a Greek wine list that is just as thoughtful as it is impressive (it’s the second largest Greek list in the US). Come here to share collard greens dolmades, cumin-scented Texas quail, and a massive pork-shoulder build-your-own gyro plate with all the proper accoutrements.
Everyone’s favorite Vietnamese noodle shop opened up their highly anticipated Heights location in early June -- meaning we now have one less reason to leave the Loop. With a flood of bars and young, well-off inhabitants surrounding White Oak, we have a feeling Pho Binh’s latest venture will do just fine.
The newest concept from chef/owner Mike Tran, the man behind ramen royalty Tiger Den and two successful locations of Aka Sushi, is this Cantonese comfort food spot. Scratch-made egg noodles, Peking-style sweet and sour ribs, and crispy fried duck leg are just a few of the many reasons why you should take a peek.
The city let out a collective groan when the first version of Barringer -- set on the second floor of the now defunct Clutch City Squire -- shut down last summer. But as of June, the bar is back and better than ever (and hopefully so is its contract). Just a few blocks down from their old haunt, husband and wife team Robby and Chieko Cook have channeled the new digs’ historic feel, but you can expect the same rebellious vibe (i.e. aerial dancers) and old-style cocktails that made everyone fall in love with the bar in the first place.
The team behind Crisp and Beer Market Co. is making a new home in Downtown with this rugged Southern kitchen and bar. Expect mason jars of whiskey and moonshine, a full lineup of craft beers, and Southern-style, grown-up pub grub like fried chicken and shrimp & grits along with a damn good time.
Proving that maybe Dallas ain’t so bad is this new-to-town taco chain from the Big D, which cranks out some pretty fantastic tacos stuffed with things like cornmeal-crusted crawfish and pork jambalaya, crispy-chicken tikka with basmati rice, and a queso-smothered barbacoa frittata.
Foraging enthusiast, pop-up king, and serious local talent chef Randy Rucker is back with this rustic 46 seater, complete with a patio-chef’s garden and open kitchen with a live-fueled hearth at its center. The kitchen employs house-made ingredients and Third Coast seafood & produce to pump out a stellar menu of refreshed Southern American classics.
Last fall, what many would consider to be Houston’s best sushi restaurant shut its doors. We’re sure you’ve missed “Magic Fingers” as much as we have over the past few months. Well miss him no more -- because chef Chris Kinjo and his sleek, modern, and badass sushi restaurant have returned from the dead. It’s a Clutch City miracle! Any umami-filled seat in Kinjo’s house is an excellent one, but hit the 12 seat sushi bar for the chef’s omakase if you want the best show in town.
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1. B&B Butchers1814 Washington Ave, Houston
2. SaltAir Seafood Kitchen3029 Kirby Dr, Houston
3. Biskit Junkie2925 W. TC Jester , Houston
4. Izakaya12665 Memorial Dr, Houston
5. Cureight by Hubbell & Hudson24 Waterway Avenue Suite 125, The Woodlands
6. Fluff Bake Bar314 Gray St, Houston
7. Karbach Brewing Co.2032 Karbach St, Houston
8. Houston Watch Co.913 Franklin St, Houston
9. Helen Greek Food and Wine2429 Rice Blvd, Houston
10. Pho Binh12148 Bellaire Blvd, Houston
11. Mein RestaurantSuite A13, 9630 Clarewood Dr, Houston
12. Barringer108 Main St, Houston
13. Moonshiners Southern Table + Bar1000 Prairie St, Houston
14. Velvet Taco4819 Washington Ave, Houston
15. Bramble2231 S Voss Rd, Houston
16. MF Sushi5887 Westheimer Rd, Houston
With a front house butcher shop, native NY owner, and handsome interior complete with exposed brick, this steakhouse oozes the kind of old-school charm that feels like a classic Big Apple restaurant. Of course, the in-house dry-aged USDA Prime and Texas Wagyu served in cuts larger than your head feel 100% Texas. If you’re looking for something more casual, the butcher shop Italian-style subs are top notch and there's weekend brunch to unwine at. Plus, there’s a superbly stacked wine list at this upscale butchery and steakhouse.
SaltAir Seafood Kitchen is serving up global flavors and giving off a West Coast vibe. Don't miss their Moroccan-spiced redfish on-the-half-shell, or their PEI mussels with uni cream and hamachi crudo with foie gras.
This place serves biscuits made from scratch and served with a whole lot of goodness. Favorites are the Daddy Warbucks (with CFS, raspberry preserves, and sawmill gravy) and the El Chapa (with scrambled eggs, chorizo, and habanero salsa).
This Japanese eatery is unique for its global inspiration. Menu items include katsu pork sandwiches and duck and shrimp shumai.
Cureight is what happened when Chef Austin Simmons (of Hubbell & Hudson Bistro, where Cureight is located) let his imagination run wild. This intimate restaurant's menu, hand-picked by Simmons himself, changes weekly and revolves around tasting (that is, very small portions with very chic presentation) and always features fresh, sustainable fish, dry-aged meat and creative desserts. Despite its Woodlands location (a 30-minute drive from the city), it has no problem keepings it's 25-seat chef's table packed, so be sure to lock down a reservation before you show up.
This restaurant serves up the much loved goodies of Rebecca Mason. Try a SHOS, otherwise known as a Sugar Hooker Oreo.
Though they’ve only been around since 2011, Karbach has already made a name for itself as one of Texas’ fastest-growing breweries. That’s thanks to a solid line up of monster brews, including the crisp and refreshing Sympathy for the Lager and rich and hoppy Rodeo Clown double IPA. Find them all over town or visit the sparkling facility for tours and tastings, movie nights, and good vibes.
Kill time in this former watch factory by sipping on crafted cocktails and fine spirits.
Chef William Wright (of Philippe Restaurant & Lounge and Table on Post Oak) and respected sommelier Evan Turner assure this Rice Village spot isn’t your typical falafel-fueled Greek restaurant. Instead you’ll find refreshed Greek fare with a touch of Gulf Coast soul alongside a Greek wine list that is just as thoughtful as it is impressive (it’s the second largest Greek list in the US). Nosh on a dolma, sip on Hellenic wine, and let yourself feel godly for at least as long as the meal lasts. This intimate and romantic is great for small groups or dates.
You'll find these pho joins dotted all over the city, but this location near Westchase is the only one open late, specifically until 3am on Friday and Saturday (the perfect landing spot after a bar crawl). The menu's full of standard pho options, but you won't even need to look at it, for there are only three little words that need be said here. Bone. Marrow. Pho. The flavorful broth and noodle soak the flavor of the baked bone marrow right up, and the Vietnamese spice gives it an edge you don't normally get in a pho bowl.
Mike Tran, of Tiger Den fame, brings you this Cantonese comfort food oasis. Tuck your napkin in your collar but try not to make a fool of yourself in the spacious art deco joint.
Barringer quite literally takes your drinking experience to new heights: on the list of performances at this downtown speakeasy-style spot are aerialist shows. They also feature live music and DJs that contribute to the energy in the space, which is punctuated by antique furniture and light fixtures. Sip on a craft cocktail from their house or classic menu, like their signature drink, The Barringer, made with whiskey, Dry Curacao, simple syrup, and lemon.
Just because you call it a taco doesn't mean you need to stick with the classics. No one knows this better than Velvet Taco. What you'll find nestled inside the homemade tortillas is globally inspired, like crispy tikka chicken and Thai basil, or Cuban pig with gruyere cheese, shaved ham, peppered bacon, grain mustard, and house cured pickles.
Lat's call this one SoCo chic.
Modern, woodsy interiors set a fresh scene for fine sushi consumption in the Museum District. It is the revival restaurant of Chef Chris Kinjo, affectionately known as “Magic Fingers", who shut down his former restaurant to come back with this badass version. If you're dining alone, reserve a seat at their 12-seat sushi bar where you can experience an umami-filled omakase alongside showy entertainment, course after impeccable course.