These Five Fabulous Fine-Dining Opportunities Are Worth the Splurge This Summer!

Foraged fungi ravioli at Le Jardinier

THE DOG DAYS of summer have arrived, and all too soon. Why not escape home — and its overworked electricity bill — for a special restaurant dinner and an evening of entertainment? From guest-appearance dinners with special NOLA flair to wine pairings, omakase and Champagne dinners to-die-for, here’s what’s cooking this month.


Bludorn

Aaron Bludorn (photo by Michael Anthony)

Critically acclaimed restaurant Bludorn and beloved Senegalese New Orleans pop-up Dakar NOLA team up for dinner on July 27. The special event benefits Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), with proceeds going towards a new chapter in Houston. Long co-chaired by celeb-chef Marcus Samuelsson, C-CAP’s mission is to provide culinary, job and life skills to underserved middle- and high-school students.

Chef Aaron Bludorn and Serigne Mbaye, Eater’s 2021 NOLA Chef of the Year and 2022 James Beard Finalist, will create a unique four-course dinner pairing Bludorn’s French-inspired Gulf Coast cuisine with Mbaye’s modern Senegalese cooking ($105 per person). Expect starters like red-snapper yassa with benne seed, roff and shellfish emulsion, leading up to the main event: Goat will be fire-roasted in a smoker.

Bludorn and GM Cherif Mbodji have been following Mbaye since the start of his career. “We had a lot of fun creating this menu together, and I think guests will be surprised to find a lot of commonalities between our two cuisines,” said Chef Bludorn.

For more details and reservations, click here.

Le Jardinier

Pol Roger Champagne

The team at Le Jardinier at MFAH is collaborating with French winemaker Bastien Collard de Billy from Pol Roger Champagne for one exquisite meal, also on July 27. The dinner ($350 per person) features a five-course menu with Pol Roger Champagne pairings. Courses include chilled Maine lobster with stone fruits and Royal Kaluga caviar paired with Pol Roger brut 2008; foraged fungi ravioli with truffle shavings and Pol Roger Blanc de Blanc 2013; and spiced Crescent duck with foie gras, caramelized figs and cherries paired with Pol Roger Winston Churchill 2012. For dessert, indulge in peach melba and raspberry mousse finished off with Pol Roger brut rosé 2015.

Tickets can be purchased on Resy.comhere.

Lulu's River Oaks

If you haven’t yet visited Lulu’s — in the same center with Armando’s, by the same owners — here’s your chance for a sparkling experience: Aug. 2 is the Acqua e Sale dinner in conjunction with Möet-Hennessy ($225 per person), starring chef José Monterrosa’s five-course menu inspired by water and salt.

The menu, with Champagne pairings selected by Moët-Hennessy, was designed to transport guests to the Italian coast through cuisine. A peek reveals courses like Three Truths and a Lie, or caviar three ways; Parthenope’s Purses, which are lobster dumplings stuffed with butter-poached lobster-tail and -claw meat cloaked in a pink lobster roe sauce and drizzled with a 25-year-old balsamic; and Risotto di Capri with exotic mushrooms and chunks of lobster in cognac-spiked sauce. Included are two cocktails, a Chandon garden spritz and a Belvedere espresso martini.

Tickets can be purchased here.

Kata Robata

Chef Hori (photo by Julie Soefer)

Chef Hori and the Kata Robata team is pairing up with longtime Kata regular and Houston Wine Merchant manager Antonio Gianola to offer high-end wines that complement Kata’s food, available on the daily specials menu. They’re kicking this off with an epic seven-course omakase lunch ($300 per person) July 30, featuring Chef Hori’s food paired with French wines selected by Gianola.

“The original inspiration for this event came from a meal of sushi and Burgundy in Beaune, France in 2019,” says Gianola. “I knew about chef Hori’s history working at Sushiko Honten in Japan, and I immediately approached him about a similar event here in Houston. We’re a few years late, thanks to Covid, but I’m thrilled it’s finally happening.”

Purchase tickets here.

Max's Wine Dive

Photo by Becca Wright

Chef’s Table Dinner is a new series that will alternate between the two locations of Max’s Wine Dive. The first dinner kicks off at the original Washington Ave. location July 26. The berry-themed four-course meal ($55 per person) sounds like a good deal, as each dish is paired with a different wine.

Start with a spinach salad composed of strawberries, goat cheese and lemon vinaigrette paired with Selbach Incline Riesling, then on to heartier pork medallions with blueberry mostarda paired with Albert Bichot Macon-Villages. Duck breast with blackberry glaze and white polenta is the third dish paired with Last Judgement pinot noir, followed by buttermilk panna cotta dessert and bold red Chateau Roumieu ‘Haut Placey.’

Call the restaurant for reservations. And don’t the Montrose dinner Aug. 9 — look for details coming soon!

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