It’s NBA All-Star Weekend, so we’re playing point guard for your trip around Houston’s food court.
Here are recommended restaurants (a three-pointer) for each major visitor hub:
The Breakfast Klub
The line out the door says it all. The casual, folk art-filled dining room is buzzing all day with patrons fueled by wings with waffles, catfish with grits and a smiling staff.
3711 Travis, 713-528-8561
Named one of America’s best new restaurants last year by Bon Appetit, this 31-seat jewel is known for its precision plating and vegetarian-friendly fare. Expect to be wowed by any of the three tasting menus served nightly.
1302 Nance, 832-830-8592
If you can find this homey little cafe hidden in the townhome canyons of east Montrose, you’ll be treated to one of the city’s best burgers. There’s Texas-size breakfasts for early-risers.
88 Dennis, 713-522-9555
Galleria/ Upper Kirby
Chef Randy Evans showcases his farm-to-table philosophy in this dreamy contemporary dining room. Try the assertive wild boar chili, the comely pork chops with sauerkraut or just a perfectly fried egg. This guy is gifted ... you can just taste it.
2502 Algerian Way, 713-581-6101
Philippe Restaurant + Lounge
Helmed by the self-anointed French cowboy, Philippe Schmit, this restaurant boasts a striking dining room with a playful menu (duck confit tamales, anyone?). And the bar scene? One word: party.
1800 Post Oak Blvd., 713-439-1000
Craft beers and finely crafted British/Indian fare (the chutney flight alone is worth a stop) make this a pub to seek out. The deep-red dining room with its exposed brick and polished woodwork feels flush with promise of a special night.
2712 Richmond, 281-533-0022
Chef Chris Shepherd stages the “story of Houston food” on each plate at this Montrose hot spot. Think shrimp and grits, seared super-fresh Gulf fish and house-cured charcuterie.
1100 Westheimer, 713-528-9800
This Austin transplant turns out inspired sushi and sashimi that is as pretty as the dazzling dining room. Walk-ins are welcome, but expect a wait.
904 Westheimer, 713-522-4808
This temple of Tex-Mex was built by would-be Iron Chef Bryan Caswell and partner Bill Floyd — creators of Reef and Little Bigs — in collaboration with cookbook author Robb Walsh. Housed in the restored Tower Theater, the restaurant serves vintage fare such as puffy tacos and cheese enchiladas topped with chili gravy. Try the No. 10. You can thank us as you waddle out the door.
1201 Westheimer, 713-524-1201
This idiosyncratic take on an icehouse offers some seriously wonderful meats, including smoked sausage and pork ribs. (Try the carnivore’s carnivore version of Pork and Beans. A thick stew of flavorful shredded smoked pork with about four beans.) Behind the bar are some of the city’s top mixologists concocting cocktails with a chef’s eye for flavor. Awesome patio.
2310 Decatur, 713-864-2328
You can’t leave Texas without tasting some barbecue. This family-owned business has been serving up the smoke for 80 years, so they must be doing something right. The ribs and brisket are noteworthy, and try the amazingly moist chicken deboned and rolled up in a tortilla.
1703 Shepherd, 713-227-2283
Laurenzo’s Prime Rib
The handsome dining room in this clubby but comfortable restaurant is decorated with framed sports memorabilia (the good stuff, not just gimme junk). The menu is dominated by manly fare: prime rib (check out the carving station just past the hostess stand), marinated rib-eyes, burgers with bacon and chiles and racks of pork ribs.
4412 Washington, 713-880-5111