Brickhouse Subs shares a space with the Nestle Toll House Cafe, a brick and mortar peddle of the iconic cookies, ice cream, and candy bars. The sandwich side of the shop enhances the menu with a variety of savory ingredients stuffed between two slices of bread. These lunch-ready meals can be combined easily with cups of coffee or smoothies to get one's sweets fix, since requests to replace mayonnaise with vanilla ice cream are usually denied.
The seasoned chefs at Dimassi's Mediterranean Buffet whip up unlimited portions of authentic Middle Eastern cuisine seven days a week. Partnered patrons survey the robust buffet to plot their takeover of fresh, house-made bread sauced with hummus or baba ghanouj, a roasted and seasoned eggplant purée. Endless supplies of savory entrees silence even the chattiest tummies with chicken kebabs and baked-fish-shaped pacifiers. Diners not on speaking terms with salt may opt for Dimassi’s spinach baked with chickpeas, onions, garlic, and cilantro, and herbivores can nosh on an assortment of seasoned veggies or a greek salad with feta, olive oil, and aged balsamic vinegar. Dining duos toast to the possibility of falafel shot put becoming a common party game with unlimited glasses of iced tea or soft drinks. Fistfuls of jam cookies or ladyfingers with walnuts, sugar, and rose and orange water give meals a delicately sweet sendoff.
A lifetime in the kitchen informs the menus of Mia Bella Trattoria Sugar Land's owner and head chef Youssef Nafaa, a native of Morocco who has been honing his craft in stateside restaurants since 1988. After toiling his way up from busboy in Chicago to culinary consultant in Houston, Youssef opened the first branch of Mia Bella on Main Street in 1998, promising "Italian food with a twist." Today, the bistro has budded into a quartet of fine-dining establishments. In 2011, the Houston Press awarded the restaurant Best Brunch Restaurant for its Mediterranean-fusion take on the popular hybridized meal and its "'bottomless' mimosas and bellinis; exceptional service that puts you in a good mood even mid-hangover; tall windows that stream sunlight into the dining room; and, of course, delicious food."
Named for one of Spain’s most prominent wine regions, Rioja restaurant's extensive wine menu is merely the icing on a cake made of tapas. Voted the best paella in Houston by the Houston International Paella Festival in 2004 and 2005, Rioja enhances traditional hot and cold Spanish tapas with an array of exotic ingredients. Below intricate wrought-iron chandeliers, entrées of seafood paella and grilled baby-lamb chops pair with more than 50 wines. Stuffed piquillo peppers, prime-beef short rib, and white asparagus imported from Navarra pair up with Spanish paprika and sweet pear purée. After questioning servers about Rioja’s homemade chorizo, guests can study flags on the wall emblazoned with the Spanish crest, the silhouette of a bull, and the silhouette of an astronaut drinking a martini inside a black hole.
The open kitchen at Ciro's Italian Grill lets visitors observe the chefs as they craft dishes from the recipes of Sicily, Tuscany, and Southern Italy. Using a wood-burning oven imported from Italy, the chefs fire both traditional and innovative pizzas while deftly tossing pastas and building rustic entrees. For especially health-conscious diners, they curate a heart-healthy menu that features nutritional information for each option.
Servers complement the Italian cuisine with a selection of Italian and international wines from the full bar. Guests enjoy the food and drinks inside the dining room or on an outdoor patio, where they can play traditional games of bocce ball—a game that actually made it over to the United States from Italy, unlike Pin the Tail on the Mona Lisa. Guests on the patio can also indulge in cigars from Ciro's own cigar selection.
Chefs inside the Daily Review Cafe's kitchen artfully mold American cuisine into elegant, contemporary renditions of traditional comfort food. The low-carb and standard dinner menus flaunt that culinary marriage in a spread that includes southern fried chicken as well as filet mignon. At brunch on Saturday and Sunday, the chefs give diners sweet and savory options for starting the day by stuffing french toast with cream cheese and nestling crab cakes beside eggs. Chefs pass off the entrées to servers who ferry them to the spacious dining room or to the porch, which overlooks a brick patio surrounded by colorful garden foliage. The patio holds 20 to 100 guests and hosts events including private parties, where Daily Review's food shines alongside expertly mixed drinks from the bar.