Houston Matters

The Full Menu: The Best New Restaurants In Houston Of 2019

As the year winds down, local food writers discuss their favorite new places to eat.

As another year winds to a close, our local food writers discuss their favorite new restaurants in Greater Houston on this special, two-part edition of The Full Menu.

Our panelists are Eric Sandler of CultureMap Houston, Felice Sloan of the Swanky Maven lifestyle blog, and David Leftwich of Houston Food Finder.

The Full Menu Panelists 2019
(L-R) Eric Sandler of CultureMap Houston, Felice Sloan of the Swanky Maven lifestyle blog, and David Leftwich of Houston Food Finder, discuss the local restaurant scene on The Full Menu.

HIGHLIGHTS

From Eric Sandler of CultureMap Houston:

Rosie Cannonball: The Goodnight Hospitality team has created something special at this Montrose restaurant. Whether someone wants a casual pepperoni pizza and a beer at happy hour or a multi-course dinner anchored by signature items like the focaccia di recco and grilled mushrooms with preserved lemon and egg yolk sauce, the lively atmosphere and polished service help make any meal memorable. Having two master sommeliers as partners means Rosie also has one of the city’s most interesting wine lists.

Candente: Houston probably doesn’t need another Tex-Mex restaurant, but the cuisine is such a staple that we always have room for another high-quality option. This new establishment from the owners of The Pit Room adds some barbecue touches like brisket enchiladas and tortillas made with smoked brisket fat, but it’s staples like wood-grilled beef fajitas and classic cheese enchiladas that have kept me coming back again and again. Frozen palomas and an expansive patio don’t hurry either.

From Felice Sloan of Swanky Maven:

Candente: I happen to consider this place an open love letter to folks that hold a special place in their hearts for Tex-Mex and BBQ. They do a nice mix of old school dishes like fajitas, enchiladas, and carnitas, which are above average delicious, and combinations like brisket nachos, smoked chicken flautas, and taco birria de res. And I would be remiss not to mention the delicious frozen paloma that is a must-have with any dish.

One/Fifth Gulf Coast: If you put Chef Chris Shepherd and Gulf Coast in the same sentence you are sure to end it with success. Gulf Coast is the fourth in the concept, and it represents fare from all the states along the gulf. Dishes like Texas stone crab claws, boudin stuffed quail, and wood roasted flounder Amandine standout and are crowd favorites. The menu offers a nice balance of fare from land and sea.

From David Leftwich of Houston Food Finder:

Blood Bros. BBQ: Houston has long been a city where cultures rub shoulders. In no place is this more evident than in Alief, where co-owners and brothers Robin and Terry Wong and their partner and brother-in-smoke Quy Hoang (the first Vietnamese-American pit master in Houston) all grew up. Their collaboration, which evolved from backyard cookouts, karaoke, and pop-ups, has resulted in a brick-and-mortar shop in Bellaire that is serving some of Houston’s most interesting food: barbecue brisket fried rice, smoked turkey bánh mì, brisket burnt end steam buns, Rueben sausage stuffed with house made sauerkraut and Swiss cheese, a decadent smoked prime beef sandwich with grilled onion and buttery Texas toast, peach/habanero/bourbon pork belly burnt ends, and Thai green curry boudin — to name just a few of the dishes evolving from this unique confluence of cuisines. 

La Vibra Tacos: Inspired by Mexico City’s taco culture, La Vibra serves sumptuous costra tacos: shredded cheese — at La Vibra, a slightly smoky gouda — melted and crisped on a griddle until it transforms into a beautiful rich, chocolate brown “tortilla” with your choice of filling folded in. I recommend the rajas (smoked poblanos). Be sure to add one the complimentary house made salsas. The tangy tamarind salsa served as a zippy counterpoint to the smoky pablanos. They also offer classic tacos on house made corn tortillas and volcán-style tacos — your choice of topping and melted Oaxaca cheese on a toasted corn tortilla that resembles a wavy tostada. Don’t forget to order a side of nopales and an agua fresca.

Restaurants Mentioned in Part 1:

Candente
Eddie O’s Texas Barbecue
JQ’s Tex Mex BBQ
Truth BBQ
Blood Bros. BBQ
Rosie Cannonball
One/Fifth Gulf Coast
Squable
MAD
The Annie Café and Bar

Restaurants Mentioned in Part 2:

We’re Dough Bakery
Boh Pasta & Pizza
The Gypsy Poet
Rosalie Italian Soul
La Vibra
Bori
1751 Sea & Bar
Momo House
Understory
Bravery Chef Hall
Politan Row
In-N-Out Burger
sweetgreen
Ike’s Love & Sandwiches
Neyow’s

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