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10 Most Exciting New Restaurants in Houston

Ray Dennison and Robin Barr Sussman | June 26, 2017 | Feature Features

The 50 finest things happening in Houston's food scene right now.
Chris Shepherd's One Fifth prepares to transform into a Mediterranean concept at the end of the month.

1 CAFÉ AZUR
French chef Sidney Degaine’s restaurant opened last fall next to Pax Americana in Montrose. Degaine and his charming wife, Maria, bring flavors from the Côte d’Azur—hence the name—like grilled octopus, foie gras tacos, truffle linguine, bouillabaisse and branzino with clam sauce and vanilla oil. The standout dish is the Perfect Egg, which comes beautifully presented in a glass globe with beech mushrooms. It’s cooked for 45 minutes at a low temperature and then whipped with creamy potato foam. The couple have recently added lunch and brunch to the menu, and the upstairs balcony is a great place to enjoy a flute of Champagne and the Buddha Lounge-style soundtrack. 4315 Montrose Blvd., 713.524.0070

2 RIEL
Chef Ryan Lachaine, who cut his chops at Underbelly and Reef, has opened this intimate newcomer. It’s a fresh take on what Houston food is today, blending elements of Lachaine’s Eastern European and Canadian heritage with local and global influences. Plates are meant to be shared and include standouts like a seasonally changing crudo, a Sriracha-spiced cauliflower tempura and roasted heirloom carrots. Beverage Director Christopher Fleischman’s cocktail program is inventive. Try the Trudeau—named for Canada’s PM—made with Earl Grey cordial, gin, sloe gin, Cocchi Americano and bitters. A 12-top common table is great for meeting new friends. 1927 Fairview St., 832.831.9109

3 ONE FIFTH
James Beard Award winner Chris Shepherd's Underbelly was quick to break the mold when it opened in 2012. And last September, when he launched One Fifth in Mark’s famed church-turned-restaurant space, he once again changed the game. Each year, for five years, the concept reinvents itself. The first of the series, One Fifth Steak, closes July 31, making way for the next installment, One Fifth Romance Languages, set to hit the very next day. The omnitalented chef’s new menu explores French, Spanish and Italian cuisines, drawing from the bounty of the Mediterranean. For those who really plan ahead, prepare to dive into the sea for One Fifth Fish. 1658 Westheimer Road, 713.955.1024

4 XOCHI
Chef Hugo Ortega revolutionized the city’s—and the country’s—perception of Mexican food, presenting elaborate dishes from his home country’s many regions in a formal dining setting. Both his original mainstay on Westheimer and Caracol in the Galleria remain classics, but his latest venture is now open in the flashy new Marriott Marquis Downtown. Focusing on Oaxacan cuisine, dishes include wood-roasted octopus with masa pancakes, puya pepper adobo and toasted pumpkin seeds, and black-footed chicken with mole negro and creamy corn meloso. If you don’t recognize half of the ingredients, don't be alarmed. Here, it's hard to go wrong. 1777 Walker St., 713.400.3330

5 ELOISE NICHOLS
Brother and sister Nick and Katie Adair opened Adair Kitchen in tony Tanglewood in 2012, creating a neighborhood restaurant with healthy, simple recipes. Now, they’ve bowed a new spot, near Afton Oaks, named after their grandmother. It’s perfect for an upscale dinner that’s still family-friendly. The dining room has a classic, vintage feel, and the kitchen puts a spin on Southern classics. Think mussels and fries, sweet-tea-brined pork chops, and shrimp and grits. There’s a seafood bar offering, as well as a great poke, and an uberhealthy Super Foods bowl of brown rice, seasonal vegetables, almonds and miso. There’s also weekday breakfast, lunch and brunch service. 2400 Mid Lane, 713.554.0136



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