NOW THAT PATIO weather has (finally!) arrived, the rooftop terrace at newly debuted Georgia James is the place to take it in. The much-anticipated restaurant in the freshly constructed Regent Square mixed-use development is decidedly different than the original masculine Montrose haunt founded by chef Chris Shepherd. As reported this summer, Shepherd has departed Underbelly Hospitality.
“Creating memorable experiences for our guests is at the heart of what we do, and we believe that the rooftop and its outstanding views of the downtown Houston skyline will only elevate their experience at Georgia James,” says G.M. Raul Lorenzana.
Light-filled with wall-to-wall windows, the sprawling two-story, 11,000-square-foot space boasts a first-floor dining room appointed with curved camel tweed banquettes and round, marble-topped tables, each conducive to a cozy respite. White-tablecloth-draped dining tables are punctuated by plush, high-back, mustard-seed-colored velvet chairs. Near the entrance, a custom light fixture with amber-hued, hand-blown glass offers the illusion of smoke rising from a fire pit. Up on the rooftop, find two terraces with couches, cocktail tables and fire pits. But the best part is sweeping skyline views.
Shrimp and grits (photo by Michael Anthony)
Executive chef Greg Peters, an alum of Underbelly Hospitality, has designed a special menu for rooftop guests. Marinated crab fingers and mirliton slaw; pork rillette served with mustard, toasted focaccia and house pickles; shrimp and grits with country ham, and an addictive chicken liver pâté with preserves will get the party started alfresco style! In addition, the rooftop menu features Houston-centric Georgia James fan favorites including the smoked red-fish dip with fried saltines, and the juicy 44 Farms strip steak.
Down in the dining room, expect a full roster of decadent steakhouse riches starring Peters’ menu of beef cuts ranging from the 100-day wet aged 44 Farms hanger steak to the porterhouse and the prized 44 Farms dry aged long bone rib-eye and Wagyu Zabuton from Snake River Farms. Sticking to the original recipe, cast iron steaks are seared and then butter-basted in garlic and thyme. Cornbread stuffed whole lobster, fried Holmes chicken and Gulf fish round out the entrée selections.
For sides, Brussels sprouts fanatics — everybody knows one — should order this Creole vinaigrette iteration with crispy garlic and onions. Alternatively, try the charred corn inspired by elote street corn, its kernels tossed with diced red pepper and spicy crema topped with queso fresco. Also gussied up is the cauliflower with turmeric yogurt, feta and herbs. If you’re with a group, do start with the UB charcuterie board or the seafood tower stacked with a daily selection of fresh oysters and much more.
Its glassed wine room can hold 3,800 bottles in racks built by HTXmade, a local firm responsible for wood accents throughout the restaurant. A list of 500 global wines offers representation from all major producing regions, in addition to more obscure locations and varietals. Thankfully, Georgia James’ sommeliers offer an array of well priced wines that will challenge preconceptions about a steakhouse wine list. The beverage team is equally focused on a global spirits and introducing guests to new brands, while spotlighting producers close to home and reinforcing a passion for American whiskey.
Sourcing and Service
As with all Underbelly Hospitality restaurants in the past, the experience remains focused on sourcing quality products direct from farmers and ranchers, cooking technique and execution, plus an intelligent level of service. On our first visit, the friendly staff knew the food menu inside and out as well as the cocktail and wine menus.
Rooftop lounge (photo by Michael Anthony)
Parking options include valet or self-parking in the free garage. Walk-ins are welcome for the rooftop and upstairs indoor bar tables. Dinner is served nightly, and the rooftop will remain open for one hour after the dining room closes. For reservations, call 832.241.5088 or visit georgiajamessteak.com for the Resy link.
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