Chef Silva's mussels in 'escabeche,' with an edible shell and trout roe

FOR BETTER OR worse, tasting-menu restaurants have always been a risky proposition in Houston. There's the promise of critical acclaim, as in the case of Oxheart, which catapulted Justin Yu into the national limelight, earning him one of Houston's few James Beard Awards. Ditto for Jonny Rhodes of Indigo, whose 13-seat restaurant, in its first year of opening, earned tons of national recognition, namely a place on Time magazine's list of the world's greatest places in 2019.

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Food

The seafood tostada at Comedor

SERVED ON THE patio at the sleek, sophisticated Comedor in Austin's warehouse district, the modern Mexican cuisine is executed so beautifully, it practically transports diners to Mexico. (Quite a feat mid-pandemic!) A tostada, topped with chunks of svelte snapper swathed in oyster emulsion and drizzled with shrimp oil, is simply dazzling. So, too, is the pork belly memela, wherein the crispy crunchy textures of pork belly chicharron are contrasted against the slow-roasted savoriness of Yucatán-style cochinita pibil; or the roasted bone-marrow tacos, served build-your-own style, with heirloom blue-corn tortillas, all plated to look like something that would grace the cover of Food & Wine.

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People + Places

Le Colonial's signature crispy red snapper

IN NAMING HUYNH (912 St. Emanuel St.), the beloved family-run eatery in EaDo, one of "100 Restaurants America Can't Afford to Lose" at the end of last year, the editors of Esquire opine: "Visiting Houston without eating Vietnamese food would be like going to Bologna and neglecting the pasta."

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Food