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10 Most Exciting New Restaurants

Ray Dennison and Robin Barr Sussman | June 26, 2018 | Feature Features National

The 50 finest things hitting the Houston food and drink scene
Crispy pork ribs with fermented black bean mole and spring onion at UB Preser

1 UB Preserv
After winning a James Beard Award for best chef in the Southwest in 2014, Chris Shepherd has expanded his culinary empire to include multiple concepts in the city. This latest venture takes dishes from several ethnic backgrounds and reflects the local landscape and the city’s position as one of the country’s most diverse. Pork dumplings with soy chili and black vinegar, rice salad with herbs and tomatoes, and chicken wings are great for sharing. Crawfish and crispy noodles come smothered in a garlic butter sauce and show off Shepherd’s affinity for Asian flavors, while a roasted Gulf red snapper is served whole and covered in a bright salsa verde. For dessert, a carrot cake gets upgraded with a unique spice blend, and on the weekends the kitchen doles out a dim sum brunch. 1609 Westheimer Road, 346.406.5923

2 Mastro's Steakhouse
Tilman Fertitta’s The Post Oak Hotel has landed as the city’s newest luxury addition, and the massive compound on the West Loop glitters with Las Vegas glamour. Mastro’s Steakhouse is the culinary jewel in the crown, offering up classic steakhouse fare like prime steaks, a jaw-dropping tomahawk chop and Japanese wagyu served with sides like lobster mashed potatoes, Gorgonzola mac and cheese and truffled sauteed mushrooms. Across the valet circle, Willie G’s Seafood serves locally and internationally sourced fruits of the ocean in an equally elegant setting, while the hotel itself also has dining options. Colorfully decorated Bloom & Bee—think pink—serves New American cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner, while dimly lit cocktail lounge H Bar serves martinis and sushi. 1650 W. Loop S., 713.993.2500

3 Fig & Olive
The Galleria continues to transform into a serious dining destination, and one of the latest additions is a branch of this Mediterranean concept from New York. Next to Saks, it features an outdoor terrace great for brunching, while the interiors have warm accent colors, light wood floors and rosemary bushes between banquettes. A huge display of olive oil greets diners at the host stand, setting the stage for the menu's inspiration. A large selection of crostini offers must-have starters; then, enjoy entrees like a balsamic-glazed short rib, squid ink paella or Chilean sea bass with roasted sunchoke, rapini and mascarpone. The signature Fig & Olive cocktail—a potion of muddled grapes, basil, lemon and New Amsterdam gin—and an international wine list pair with everything. In the Galleria, 832.871.3468

4 Emmaline
Seasoned restaurateur Sam Governale brings a new hot spot to Montrose, offering American fare with European flare. The large space sports massive windows that allow floods of natural light and take in the view of the large, dog-friendly terrace, with its stoic massive oak tree. Roasted eggplant served with country bread, and charbroiled mollusks with robiola cheese and caviar begin the meal, which can then move on to pasta and oven-fired pizzas or main dishes like cioppino, seared scallops with mushrooms and squash, or a pork chop with fennel apple sauce and glazed root vegetables. The weekend brunch is hopping, or swing by for a leisurely lunch and enjoy the Sammy, a stack of seared steak, horseradish cream and provolone on Italian bread. 3210 W. Dallas St., 713.523.3210


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