3. Nancy’s Hustle

The gist: Every hustlin’ and bustlin’ city should have an outpost or two that matches its lively energy. For H-town, that’s Nancy’s Hustle. This buzzing bistro has only been around for a little over two years, yet has attracted a loyal following among both Texas- and non-Texas-based crowds. Emphasis on the word “crowd”—if you want to witness the well-deserved hype, be prepared to squeeze.
The food: Chow down on flaky Grilled Rockfish served in an unforgettable butter bean puree and pickled peppers, or cleanse your palate between bites of Smoked Trout and thickly cut Fries with a small Green Salad drizzled with Dijon dressing and diced apples.
The cost: Starters and mains $5 - $29, cocktails $11 - $12, desserts $10 - $12.

5. Le Jardinier
Museum District

The gist: Michelin star chef Alain Verzeroli, who worked under late culinary legend Jöel Robuchon for nearly 20 years, masterfully harnesses the power of peak-season ingredients at this artful French restaurant. Tucked away in the Museum of Fine Arts campus, guests can wine and dine in full view of the majestic sculpture garden.
The food: With Le Jardinier—French for “the gardener”—sporting a menu of well-balanced creations, guests with diverse palettes will have no problem scoring a dish overflowing with nutrients. Seafood lovers can bask in the buttery King Kampachi, emblazoned with squash and white sesame, while health nuts can slice into a grass-fed Tenderloin partnered with nutty ratte potatoes and gem lettuce. Pastry chef—and fellow Michelin Star recipient—Salvatore Martone’s desserts, like the Venezuelen Dark Chocolate Crémeux draped in salty caramel sabayon, are equally as stunning.
The cost: Seasonal tasting menus $130 - $240, a la carte starters $18 - $34, a la carte mains $30 - $48, a la carte desserts $15 - $25, a la carte cocktails and wine by the glass $13 - $34.

6. ReikiNa
Memorial City

The gist: Uchi alum Thomas Stacy brings his culinary chops to life in a thought-provoking Japanese concept in CityCentre. Guests can book a seat at the 20-person communal table and marvel at eight-course presentations from the restaurant’s private tasting menu. Even though well-crafted cuisines are gorgeous to look at, that’s not the only supreme view eaters will have—the restaurant’s intimate interior is decked out with a backdrop of vintage vinyl tunes and a 105-foot-long gallery wall featuring works from local artists.
The food: Highlighting Asian flavors through a European lens, expect Stacy and team—including sous chef Jacob Larimore (MAD, BCN) and pastry chef Carla Briseño (MAD, BCN, Roka Akor)—to switch up the tasting menus every six to eight weeks. Past highlights include plates of Char Siu Heritage Pork Belly and Tart Cherry Bao, Octopus Carpaccio with yuzu vinaigrette, and “Duck Duck Goose” Dumplings in blueberry-spiked hoisin.
The cost: Tasting menus $150 - $246.50, a la carte cafe dishes $18 - $30, soft drinks $14, cocktails $12 - $16, beer, sake, and wine by the glass $7 - $25.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating at the cafe, Wednesday through Saturday from 4:30 to 10 pm.

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