Houston has some vibrant 'burbs and none more so than the growing area known as the "Energy Corridor." With its mix of monied older neighborhoods and luxury apartment complexes filled with young professionals, you'll find a good mix of patrons at all of these spots. Here are 10 recommended restaurants in the Energy Corridor:
Le Mistral: Chef and owner David Denis is a perfectionist. His French fare is hearty yet plated to dazzle. For his guests, he commands an army of servers that are so unobtrusive that the dining room feels relaxed even on a hectic evening. For a bit of romance, request a table on the softly lighted patio.
1420 Eldridge Parkway, 832-379-8322.
Cyclone Anaya's: Cyclone Anaya was a Mexican champion wrestler who married a former Miss Houston and started a restaurant. Some of the recipes used at this sexy, high energy, high-end Tex-Mex joint are original.
800 Town & Country Blvd., 713-461-1300
Rattan Pan-Asian Bistro: This cafe’s sleek contemporary dining room suits the artfully plated food coming from the kitchen. Try the deftly fried tempura shrimp, the garlicky Vietnamese beef and the fragrant lamb satay. A sleek — there’s that word again — Enomatic wine-dispensing system makes wines by the glass a tasting adventure.
1396 Eldridge Parkway, 281-556-9888
Sharky’s American Grill: Casual, friendly Sharky’s aims to please with a wide selection of salads, sandwiches and grilled seafood. Signature dishes include the Great White Shark Burger (one pound of beef, bacon, cheddar and chipotle sauce) and baby-back ribs. Two things that bring us back: $2.50 happy hour wine and the best hush puppies in town.
1140 Eldridge Parkway, 281-496-7427
Goode Company Seafood: Gulf Coast seafood cooked with care (if not much flourish) is the focus of this local favorite. The dining room has an upscale feel, but sneakers and a T-shirt are acceptable attire. There’s frequently live music on the weekends.
10211 Katy Freeway, 713-464-7933
Las Ventanas: Gorgeous hacienda-style dining room, stylish and sprawling patio and Texas-size portions make this a perfect spot for feasting on Tex-Mex and downing H-Town’s favorite adult beverage, the margarita.
14555 Grisby Road, 281-752-6990
Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen: This big and bustling restaurant is part of a locally owned chain. The large menu is dotted with Cajun and classic Gulf coast fare. Here’s your chance to try the freshest seafood served by people who know how to treat it.
10499 Katy Freeway, 713-722-0221
Ruggles Green: There’s much to love at this home-grown casual counter-service operation: a emphasis on fresh organic ingredients, a large eclectic menu and a thoughtful beer and wine menu. You do want to save room for dessert here. (Pink Velvet cake, anyone?)
801 Town and Country Blvd., 713-464-5557
Taste of Texas : The best feature of this outrageously popular good-value steak house is that you can personally instruct the butcher to cut a rib-eye to your desired thickness. There are good breads, side dishes and grilled shrimp; also a distinguished wine list.
10505 I-10 West, 713-932-6901
Watson's House of Ales: There’s no mystery as to why this pub is popular with the kidz working in the Energy Corridor. Part of the Houston-born Sherlock’s Pub chain, Watson’s boasts terrific happy hour specials, an extensive menu of bar bites and burgers and arguably the best patio in Houston.
14656 Grisby Dr., 281-920-2929
This story originally was pubbed March 5, 2011; it was updated April 26, 2012.