On The Radar: Hot New Sips & Bites In Houston

Week of June 5, 2017

Summer is here, and it’s time to dive into cool drinks and light fare. Here are the Houston-area restaurants keeping it fresh by adding new dishes, drinks, dinners and even new meal times this week.

Harold’s Tap Room, 350 West 19th: Starting on Thursday, June 8, the downstairs bar at Harold’s in the Heights is rolling out new items that include coffee drinks, coffee cocktails, breakfast pastries, salads and pizzas. To-the-trade local supplier Cake & Bacon is providing scones, muffins, croissants and other baked treats. The breakfast-y goodness is available starting at 9 a.m. Tuesdays through Sundays.

Mid Ocean Cooler at Izakaya
The Mid Ocean Cooler is just one of several frosty new beverages at Izakaya. Photo by Paula Murphy

Izakaya, 318 Gray: This casual Japanese hangout in midtown led by chef Philippe Gaston has rolled out a dozen new libations for its summer cocktail menu. That’s in addition to what it says is the “city’s largest selection of shochu” as well as a big inventory of Japanese and Taiwanese whiskies. Here are a few examples of the new cocktails: the Mid-Ocean Cooler, made with bourbon, rhubarb and Thai ginger; the Tokyo Sunset, made with tequila, Aperol and beet juice; and JP’s Dream Girl High Ball with blanco tequila, grapefruit soda and Shiso. If you were waiting for an opportune moment, happy hour runs from 5 to 7 p.m.

Killen Steakhouse
Killen’s Steakhouse is hosting a six-course wine dinner this week. Photo by Chuck Cook

Killen’s Steakhouse, 6425 Broadway, Pearland: Winemaker Pax Mahle is the guest of honor at a six-course wine dinner showcasing Pax wines on Thursday, June 8. Pairings include Tamarind Glazed Denver Style Lamb Rib with 2012 Pax Grenache; and Kumquat & Vanilla Panacotta with Brown Sugar Cake and Roasted Pineapple with 2012 Pax Red Blend from the James Berry Vineyard in Paso Robles. Cost is $135 per person. Call 281-485-0844 for reservations.

Bubbling Blue Cheese Dip at Max
Take a dive into Max’s new Bubbling Blue Cheese Fig Dip. Photo courtesy of Max’s Wine Dive

Max’s Wine Dive, 4720 Washington and 214 Fairview: ‘Tis the season for warm-weather foods, so both Houston locations of Max’s Wine Dive have rolled out new menu items. The highlights include Steak Caprese Salad with the grilled butcher’s cut of the day, fresh mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, balsamic caramel and herb basil dressing; Spicy Coconut Quail ‘Wings’ with coconut curry quail, sambal-honey glaze, lime and fresh herbs; and confit St. Louis spare ribs with chipotle BBQ sauce, loaded “cowboy potatoes” and poblano creamed corn. Of course, there are wine pairing suggestions for each of the new dishes—a magical part of this complete dinner.

Taco Pierre at Tacodeli
Tacodeli’s special this month, the “Taco Pierre.” Photo courtesy of Tacodeli.

Tacodeli, 1902 Washington: The “Special of the Moment” is the Taco Pierre, dedicated to Tacodeli founder Roberto Espinosa’s father, Roberto (aka “Pierre”). It’s a grilled gulf shrimp taco with fresh tomatoes, garlic, roasted olive and corn pico, grilled serranos, lime and soy. Be aware that Tacodeli is only a breakfast and lunch place. It opens at 7 a.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. on weekends, then closes at 3 p.m.

Toulouse gnocchi
A wealth of gnocchi at Toulouse in River Oaks District. Photo courtesy of Toulouse.

Toulouse, 4444 Westheimer, E100: This French restaurant in the River Oaks District shopping center is celebrating its first anniversary by rolling out new dishes and cocktails. The new fare includes potato gnocchi made with cream of delice de bourgogne cheese, wild mushrooms, arugula and the Shrimp Louie with Boston lettuce hearts, avocado, baby heirloom tomatoes, fresh herbs, thousand island dressing. New summery drinks to sip alongside includes a Cucumber Mint Margarita, a Spicy Mango Paloma and the Peachy Keen made with vodka, royal combier peche de vigne (peach liqueur), lemon juice, basil, simple syrup and Prosecco.

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