The Hit List: New Houston Restaurants to Visit in January 2020
Welcome to a brand new year and a brand new decade in Houston food. Luckily for hungry Houstonians, our city’s food scene shows no signs of slowing down after a year of can’t-miss restaurants. To help start your dining off right this year, here’s our first Hit List of 2020.
Bamboo House, 5901 Westheimer: Thanks to Bamboo House’s new Galleria-area location, Peking Duck aficionados no longer have to venture all the way to Humble for some of the best in town. Bamboo House’s signature dish is served dry roasted in a specially-imported duck oven, carved and served on a bamboo tray with housemade pancakes, hoisin sauce, plum sauce, brown sugar, scallions, cucumber and duck soup. The new location’s expanded menu includes larger dishes such as the whole Thai-Style Curry Crab (a whole Dungeness crab) and Sizzling Sautéed Diced Beef. There is also a selection of dumplings that includes soup dumplings filled with crab or pork; Drunken Dumplings stuffed with pork, chicken or crab and pan–fried buns with pork or chicken. While a liquor license is still pending as of press time, there are plans for beer, wine and cocktails in the coming months.
Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company, 2101 Summer Street: Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company’s new brewery, taproom and restaurant opened its doors in November. The impressive, three-level facility on Summer Street offers an indoor/outdoor taproom on the first level, a second-level restaurant run by former Beaver’s chef Arash Kharat and a rooftop beer garden complete with televisions, picnic tables, fire pits and stunning views of the downtown skyline. Currently on Kharat’s menu of innovative pub fare are dishes such as the veggie pakoras — kale, cauliflower, onions, jalapenos, garlic, pickles and potatoes breaded in a chickpea batter and fried — the BBQ Chicken Sammie with smoked and shredded chicken, cole slaw, pickles and crispy fried onions smothered with Figaro BBQ sauce, and the Smoke On The Bayou Pizza with slow-smoked 44 Farms short ribs, red onions, pickled jalapeños and smoked gouda.
Eugene’s Gulf Coast Cuisine, 1985 Welch: From the team behind the now-closed Danton’s Gulf Coast Kitchen comes Eugene’s Gulf Coast Cuisine, located in the space formerly occupied by Mockingbird Bistro. While the menu leaves room for new additions, Danton’s lovers will find all their familiar favorites such as roasted Gulf oysters, stuffed redfish, roasted Debris Sandwich and seafood gumbo. Eugene’s Gulf Coast Cuisine is open Monday through Saturday: lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 10 p.m., with an Oyster Bar Happy Hour from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 2 to 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Handies Douzo, 3510 White Oak: From the team behind Bravery Chef Hall’s Kokoro — Patrick Pham and Daniel Lee and Secret Taste’s Andrew Lin — comes Handies Douzo in the Heights. The seasonal menu focuses on chef-driven hand rolls, sashimi and crudos. The hand rolls can be ordered à la carte or in sets of three, four or five. Current choices include Ōra King salmon, hamachi and negitoro. The sashimi comes three pieces per order; options include a selection of bluefin tuna cuts (akami, chūtoro and ōtoro), hamachi, Ōra King salmon and sake (salmon) toro. Current crudos includes bluefin tuna with pickled cucumber and ponzu and Ōra King salmon with ikura (salmon roe) and chili garlic. While Handies Douzo currently only serves non-alcoholic beverages, guests can sip on Topo Chico, Mexican Coke, Sprite or a refreshing melon soda.
Momo House, 6121 Hillcroft: This new Nepalese spot located just south of 59 has been garnering a lot of attention lately. It’s deserved. Houston Food Finder named it one of the best new restaurants of 2019. It offers diners traditional dishes such as piro aloo, potatoes that have been boiled then sautéed in Nepali spices, butter, onions and tomatoes until the outside is perfectly crisped and poignantly spicy. But Momo House’s menu centers around variations of vegetable and chicken momos, Nepalese dumplings with wheat flour wrappers that can be served steamed or fried. Those looking for more complex dishes won’t be disappointed with the chicken chili momo, chicken dumplings fried and coated with a spicy tomato sauce until the outside is a “cathartic layer of piquant crispiness.” Also, don’t overlook goat-centric mains like sekuwa and bhutan.
Politan Row, 2445 Times: Though Houston’s food hall scene has been busy this past year, it’s been focused mainly on downtown. Now, one has opened outside the shadows of the skyscrapers. Politan Row, Houston’s newest food hall, recently opened in Rice Village. It’s from Politan Group, which launched similar concepts in New Orleans, Miami and Chicago. Politan Row is currently home to Bar Politan and nine food kiosks developed by independent Houston owners:
- Ate Kitchen, Caribbean-inspired cuisine by Keisha Griggs
- Breaking Bao, bao and other Asian-inspired plates by Phillip Kim
- Bronson House, Italian by Nelson Joao
- Conchinita & Co, tacos and other Mexican dishes by Victoria Elizondo
- Kin, Thai-inspired dishes by Evelyn Garcia
- Nice Sprout, plant-based cuisine by Amanda Alman & Niaz Sanchez
- Pacha, Japanese-Peruvian fussion by Masara Fukuda
- Susu Kopi and Boba, coffee, boba tea,and Indonesian-inspired soft-serve icecream by Nicken and Ecky Prabanto
- Torshi, Egyptian food by Rafik Abohattab
While there is no shortage of food or drink options at Politan Row, including Politan Bar, be sure to sample some of the offerings from Ate Kitchen, the signature bao sliders from Phillip Kim and the kare-kare from chef Evelyn Garcia, a savory concoction of oxtail, green beans, sweet potatoes and toasted coconuts.
One Dim Sum, 510 Gray: Fresh out of its soft opening phase, One Dim Sum is now offering midtown Houston a menu of classics such as xiao long bao alongside seasonal items like pumpkin puffs with roasted duck. Highlights on the menu include prawn and pork shu mai, sautéed pea shoots, Salted Egg Yolk Sesame Balls and Crispy Prawn Cheung Fun. Those looking for a full-service meal instead can check out the Peking Duck. One Dim Sum also offers a selection of white and red wines by the glass or bottle and local craft beers.
Sixty Vines, 2540 University: With a Napa Valley-influenced menu, Dallas-based Sixty Vines, a wine restaurant now open in Rice Village, offers a lot of variety and a lot of space — over 8,000 square feet for general seating, group dining, and private dining in a wine-cellar-inspired room. The dinner menu features pizzas such as the Fig and Prosciutto with white sauce, arugula, mozzarella, local honey and sesame seeds and mains such as the C.A.B. Burger with Cabernet-soaked beef, raclette, caramelized onions, Worcestershire mayo, and tomato. All the dishes are intended to pair well with a selection of over 60 wines by the glass and over 40 on tap. The brunch menu includes a honey-smoked Salmon and Bagel Board with scallion cream cheese, chopped egg, capers, onions and tomatoes and the Orange Morning Bread with brown butter, citrus icing, candied walnuts and coffee crumble. For more details on what Sixty Vines has to offer, check out Phaedra Cook’s full article.
Sticky’s Chicken, 2311 Edwards: The heralded Sticky’s Chicken food truck from siblings Patsy and Benson Vivares has just opened in its first brick-and-mortar location. In addition to popular dishes like chicken over rice made with a proprietary “sticky” sauce, chef Michael Pham (California’s Shomi Noods and Hottie’s Nashville Hot Chicken) has been developing an expanded menu for the official full-scale launch this month. As of press time, the menu, which will include wine and beer from nearby Buffalo Brewing Company, was not available, so stay tuned for updates!
About the author: Beth Levine writes about food, drinks, lifestyle and travel for local and national publications including My Red Glasses, Houstonia, Local Houston Magazine, Charlotte’s Book and Houston Food Finder. An executive assistant by day and freelance writer by night, Beth is originally from both New Jersey and California, but currently calls Houston home. You can follow her on IG @Yogaspots.