Brennan's Turtle Soup
New Orleans is known for its classic Creole cooking, and Brennan’s delivers those bold flavors in an elegant, white-tablecloth setting. The bananas Foster is prepared tableside for dessert, and you can’t go wrong with any of the mains, but start it all off right with a bowl of the turtle soup, a velvet treat with a rich roux and spike of cognac.
Cafe Annie Bacon-Wrapped Quail
Father of Southwestern cuisine Robert Del Grande has an illustrious career pioneering Texas flavors and bringing them into the realm of haute cuisine. Crab tostadas are at the top of his best-dish list, but nothing beats the bacon-wrapped quail with jalapeno, molasses, buttermilk and ranch dressing.
Da Marco Truffle Pasta
The leg of prosciutto on the front table at this jacket-required temple to Italy beckons, and it’s a great precursor to just about anything with seasonal truffles. One iteration is the raviolo with ricotta, egg, Reggiano and a generous shaving of black truffles.
Houston’s Grilled Artichokes
Few kitchens turn out consistent quality and have stood the test of time like this member of the national Hillstone Restaurant Group. The French dip and Thai noodle steak salad are tops, but the biggest treats are the simple, smoky, grilled artichokes. They’re seasonal and not always listed on the menu, so ask your server.
There’s a scene in the 2000 remake of Charlie's Angels in which Lucy Liu’s character bakes a souffle only to have it fall when a villain shoots a bullet through it. Luckily, unlike Liu's, the iconic souffles at this primo establishment are massive clouds that would float if not for their ramekins. They can do almost any flavor, but Grand Marnier and cinnamon are two classics.