Soaring white columns crowned by a pediment beckon guests to the door of Fernando's Restaurant?and once they're there, the aroma of char-grilled steaks, Latin seafood, and chicken simmered in wine sauce brings them over the threshold. At cloth-draped tables set with red linen napkins, diners settle into leather seats topping cherry-toned wood chairs.
Servers bustle through several feet of open space in between tables, carting such dishes as the tender steak Fernando, paired with asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes, and the signature paella: yellow saffron rice with a bounty of clams, mussels, scallops, shrimp, fish, crawfish, squid, chicken, and chorizo. Fernando himself often takes to the kitchen or waits on his guests alongside the servers.
The bar hosts both early and late-night happy hours, and a dance floor with music?sometimes live, sometimes blasted from a passing car outside?gets guests moving.
Three-sided tables house massive hot griddles at Koby Japanese Steakhouse, where chefs deftly dance with blades and flames to transform food preparation into a show. During dinner, they dice meats, juggle knives, and drum rhythms against the tabletops. They sculpt fried rice into massive hearts before slicing portions off and delivering them to guests’ waiting plates. For the finale, they prepare different proteins—from chicken to lobster—in signature sauces before they disappear in puffs of steam from their freshly cleaned griddles.
A native of Taiwan and veteran chef with more than 20 years of experience, Redfish Seafood chef David Chang whips up a culinary cornucopia of fresh seafood dishes that borrow from his experiences working in French, Chinese, and Japanese kitchens. Fresh grouper and bacon-wrapped scallops get a tropical spin thanks to a drizzle of key lime sauce, while parmesan dusted sea bass soaks up the salty notes of a miso reduction. Hot rocks shrimp and stuffed mushrooms provide a poppable prelude to a savory seafood dinner and lobster bisque or gumbo fill the spoons of lads and ladies who lunch. As guests gobble down forkfuls of fresh fish, their eyes take in an ambiance inspired by their own patronage. The second floor of the restaurant showcases a wall mural composed by frequent customer and local artist Ray Shipman, who painted whimsical caricatures of Redfish Seafood regulars. At the second location in Cypress, an aquarium designed and build by chef David himself sets a maritime mood and dazzles diners with its collection of eye-catching fish and their spot-on Don Knotts impersonations.
The Burger Bar stockpiles fine meats, cheeses, and toppings so that diners can create their own sandwich masterpieces. The menu promises hunger-fighters the ability to load a bun with such patties as ground beef ($6–$9), buffalo meat ($8–$13) and portobello ($5–$7). Like a sloppy nacho-loving James Bond, burgers dress in a neat tuxedo of cheese (one slice included, $.75/extra slice), including smoked cheddar, texas goat, and pepper jack. Toppings such as jalapeños, bacon, and avocado (one topping included, $1.50/extra topping) crown majestic meat towers, only to be rained upon by torrents of garlic or bacon aioli, violet-mustard cream, or smoked-chipotle ketchup. Diners can pair a sirloin sandwich with grilled vegetables ($3.50) for a dose of daily nutrients so they don’t have to get their vitamins by devouring old tapes of The Flintstones.
In 1984, Becks Prime was hardly more than a double drive-thru and a mission: to serve fresh, made-to-order burgers that upped the ante on traditional fast food. The restaurant has grown to 13 locations since then, and fewer customers are wearing "Vote Mondale" buttons, but not much else has changed. Cooks still prepare the food using never-frozen Angus Beef burgers, Boar's Head hot dogs, and marinated chicken breasts, all grilled to order over mesquite wood coals. Thick-cut fries and milkshakes round out the menu of American classics. The restaurant's passion for fast, high-quality burgers has caught the attention of the press in a big way?Becks Prime has been lauded by Zagat, Thrillist, and The Daily Meal.
A swanky ambiance defined by an elegant decor, including stained-oak mouldings and maroon drapes, complements the high-caliber steakhouse cuisine served at Post Oak Grill. The Houston bistro has been around for 23 years, so it just got out of college. The restaurant’s chef, Polo Becerra, pairs bold flavors in starters such as duck-confit crepes with blackberry sauce and melted gorgonzola. For a main course, he might grill Gulf Coast red snapper or cook a center-cut steak and augment its juiciness by adding a port-wine-and-fig reduction. Chef Becerra and his team can even bring their culinary services to homes and offices with their catering.
At a jade-green bar, servers pour a long list of international wines. Nearby, a pianist tickles the ivories during happy hour. On Thursday–Saturday evening, musicians perform classic songs or melodic readings of the newspaper fine-arts section.