The Hit List: New Houston Restaurants to Visit in March 2019
Spring has sprung (sort of) and with that comes some new Houston restaurants to check out. Among new places to visit this month are Verandah’s Progressive Indian Restaurant and the recently re-opened and revamped Uptown Sushi. March is also a good month to catch up with innovative chef incubator Decatur Bar & Pop-Up Factory and Elliot’s Table with its ever-changing menu.
Blood Bros. BBQ, 5425 Bellaire Boulevard: From the moment it opened, business at the Wong brothers’ first brick and mortar barbecue restaurant has been brisk thanks to the cult-like following they’ve cultivated with their food truck over the past few years. Pitmaster Quy Hoang’s oak- and pecan-smoked brisket, pork ribs, turkey and sausage are so popular that sell-outs are likely even before the 3 p.m. closing time. On Saturdays, be sure to get in line early for a chance to try a big beef rib with a side of roasted creamed corn. Blood Bros.’ intriguing east-meets-west daily specials include smoked turkey bánh mì and green curry boudin.
Decatur Bar & Pop-Up Factory, 2310 Decatur: This new restaurant from partners in the original Beaver’s, Adam Brackman and chef Monica Pope, aims to bring Houstonians a constantly new experience. The venue features a rotating chef-in-residence lineup that offers each one the chance to build momentum for his or her own brick and mortar concept. The first chef showcased is Evelyn Garcia, a world-traveled chef who won Food Network’s “Chopped” in 2014 and hosted frequent pop-ups around Houston. Decatur offers walk-in service for light bites, a full bar and tasting menus every Friday and Saturday nights for $65 per person. Seatings are at 6 and 8 p.m. On the beverage side, bartender Leslie Krockenberger curated a cocktail program with unique rotating drink selections such as the Red Silk Smoking Jacket made with Monkey Shoulder whisky, white port, Granada vallet bitters, ruby molasses, angostura bitters and smoked spice mix. There is also a selection of wines and craft beers.
Dish Society, 1050 Yale: The Houston-based, farm-to-table chain Dish Society recently opened a new location inside Heights Central Station. It boasts a bigger bar and larger beverage selection (including craft cocktails) along with a living room-style area for lounging and even playing a game or two. Like its predecessors, the new location has counter service for breakfast, lunch and brunch and switches to full service for “social hour” (Dish Society’s term for happy hour) and dinner. Some tried and true favorites include the Nutella French Toast on the breakfast and brunch menus, 44 Farms chimichurri steak tacos and deconstructed chicken pot pie, both on the lunch and dinner menus. With the bigger bar space and cocktail list, Dish’s social hour Mondays through Fridays from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. is worth checking out.
Elliot’s Table, 465 T C Jester Boulevard: Helmed by owner and chef, Elliot Roddy, who earned his stripes at the defunct Bramble, among others, Elliot’s Table offers a rotating menu served in a family-style atmosphere. Nestled inside the corner end of a strip center, the small space is comfortable and cozy and there’s also an outdoor patio. For dinner (served nightly except on Mondays and Tuesdays), guests can enjoy shareable starters like the Cake & Bacon bread service, deviled eggs and Thai chili ribs. For those looking for main courses, the Gulf Shrimp and Grits, 44 Farms Ribeye and the hand-formed cheddar or blue cheeseburger are perfect choices. While Elliot’s Table is currently only serving wine and beer, there are over a dozen well-priced wines by the glass and several by the bottle.
Perry’s Steakhouse River Oaks, 1997 West Gray: The popular, Houston-based steakhouse chain opened its first-ever location inside the 610 Loop this week. It’s a two-story, 12,000 square foot space in River Oaks. Diners can expect familiar dishes such as Perry’s Signature Fried Asparagus and ample, bone-in meat cuts including the 32-ounce Tomahawk Ribeye and the double cut lamb chops. On the Bar 79 menu are small plates such as Pork Chop Bites and Sliders 79. Another appeal of Perry’s newest addition is the outdoor patio that overlooks West Gray.
Roma, 2347 University Blvd: To start off the new year, restaurateur Shanon Scott decided to take his Italian eatery, Sud Italia, in a new direction. Roma, in the same Rice Village space now freshened up with fresh grey-blue paint, black-and-white photos of Italians and new furniture, is aimed to deliver a more slightly more casual dining experience. The menu reads like a sub-set of Sud Italia’s but has a greater emphasis on pasta (the revamped cacio e pepe with cocoa-infused fettuccine and pecorino-Romano cheese is a surefire hit) and introduces new menu items like the Roman-style pizza of the day at lunch. In the near future, Scott also plans to roll out the restaurant’s first cocktail program.
TruthBBQ, 110 South Heights Boulevard: Winter was a good season for new barbecue restaurant openings. Truth BBQ, which started with a modest shack in Brenham, opened its highly-anticipated Houston brick-and-mortar on Heights Boulevard in the former J. Black’s space. Pitmaster Leonard Bottello IV now has an expanded kitchen, more cookers and even some private dining options to bring Houstonians his accolade winning barbecue. When visiting the new, spacious restaurant, expect to wait in line and assume that sellouts of some items can happen within a few hours of opening. Try the brisket, the Saturday-only beef ribs and the jalapeño cheddar sausage — but be sure to leave room for decadent sides like corn pudding, macaroni and cheese with bacon and lush collard greens simmered with smoked meat.
Uptown Sushi, 1131 Uptown Park Boulevard: A staple in the Galleria area, Uptown Sushi closed its doors back in September for a major revamp of both the space and menu after 15 years in business. It reopened at the end of February, revealing a brighter, sleeker space. While the current plans are to retains most of the Donald Chang menu (like the popular Kobe Cubes with marinated Kobe beef served over crispy rice and topped with a quail egg), previously “off-menu” dishes are now regular offerings. These include the chicken wings, AK Bites and the tuna tataki. Expect additional new dishes along with a new cocktail menu in the coming months.
Verandah Progressive Indian Restaurant, 3300 Kirby Drive: Verandah opened in the upscale Kirby Collection, offering Indian food lovers an elevated and progressive dining experience. Diners who are already familiar with chef/owners Sunil and Anupama Srivastava (of Great W’Kana Café and W’Kana Express) know to expect a certain culinary panache from the husband-and-wife team. On the menu, Roasted Plantain Kebabs and the Tandori appetizer platter sit alongside hyper-traditional dishes such as Biryani Chicken, prepared using the dum pukht method of cooking the rice, meat, sauce and spices in a heavy-bottomed pot sealed with a dough lid. Food writer Carlos Brandon sampled the menu last month and cites the butter chicken and the chutney sampler as can’t-miss dishes.
Coming soon: The Houston food scene moves fast, so we are already keeping our eye on the next restaurant openings. These are likely to include Bravery Chef Hall in downtown (with any luck it might be open sometime in April); Eugene’s Gulf Coast Cuisine in the former Mockingbird Bistro space from the Danton’s Gulf Coast Seafood and Steaks team (currently anticipated for May); restaurateur Mike Tran‘s latest izakaya, Toukei and The Gypsy Poet artisan pizzeria in Midtown.
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.