Under the direction of local restaurateur Gigi Huang, Gigi's Asian Bistro & Dumpling Bar at the Galleria culls together a variety of culinary traditions. Stepping through the doorway into the sleek dining room, Gigi's provides a passageway for diners to experience the aromas and flavors of modern Asian cuisine. Oftentimes, the eatery's offerings are true to traditional recipes from Vietman, Thailand, and China, such as Peking duck. Other times they offer a twist on classic dishes, such as edamame dumplings and seven-flavor prime sirloin steak.
In the exposed-brick dining area, patrons clasp red-curry shrimp with chopsticks beneath an impressive display of flower blossoms on the ceiling above. Snaking branches stretch out overhead, directing diners’ gazes upward and leading them to believe that the floor is actually the ceiling. A collection of cocktails at the whiskey bar includes the blackberry old fashioned, blood sand, and Gigi's signature lychee martini. Gigi's also hosts an all-you-can-eat dim sum–brunch, letting diners feast on veggie dumplings, chicken and shrimp rolls, and tamarind-glazed spare ribs.
Smashburger isn't just the name—it's the way chefs, otherwise known as Burger Smashers, cook every burger. First, they form never-frozen, 100% Certified Angus Beef into a giant meatball. Then they season it, place it on a butter-glazed grill, and smash it into a patty. The process caramelizes the beef, locking in flavor while keeping the meat juicy and tender. Each slab is then sandwiched in an artisan bun and is turned into one of an array of standard burgers or locally inspired specialties unique to each market.
This handcrafting approach typifies everything else the restaurant does, from blending handspun shakes to hand painting Smashburger's logo onto every beverage cup. Letting its food stand for itself and relying mostly on word of mouth for advertising, the Smashburger franchise expanded from one restaurant in 2007 to 220 today, with its swift growth from zero to 100 stores making it one of the nation's fastest-growing restaurant companies. This rapid development even caught the attention of Forbes and Inc. along the way.
Though Clementines Restaurant began as a humble burger-and-malt shop, it has blossomed in the last 35 years into a fine-dining establishment. Voted best restaurant and best dessert at the NW Houston Chamber of Commerce's Epicurean Night 2012, Clementines Restaurant has proven its reputation. Chefs pack lunches of snapper Alexander topped with shrimp and crawfish in a white-wine cream sauce. For dinner they prepare seafood, steak, and veal specialties, as well as pollo dishes. Just as operas conclude with the main character eating cake, meals conclude with diners eating croissant bread pudding with english cream and old-fashioned shakes and malts. Much of this culinary goodness makes its way to Clementines’ catering and banquet menu; the private banquet room seats up to 77 for special events such as weddings, rehersal dinners, birthdays, business functions, and baby and bridal showers–menus can be customized for events. Additionally, the sound of live entertainment can be heard Tuesday through Saturday nights.
When patrons pop into Berri Swirl, they don't just come for the tasty frozen treats; they come for the chance to take control of their own dessert destinies. As they march confidently to the self-service dispensers stocked with 12 flavors of frozen yogurt, they're already calculating which bits of Butterfinger chunks, blackberries, and gummy bears they're going to pluck from the do-it-yourself toppings bar packed with more than 40 toppings. Swirls of delicious low-fat yogurt infused with tastes ranging from snickerdoodle-cookie-dough to triple chocolate descend into holders including cups, cones, wafer bowls, and 55-gallon drums made of marzipan. Along with this variety of toppings and flavors, the fro-yo gurus maintain their healthy standards by concocting their creamy creations from genuine dairy, milk, and fruit purées and handpicking their ingredients from a variety of sources. After patrons take one last look at their creamy creations, they can browse magazines or surf free WiFi while wolfing down their sweet achievements.
Specializing in regionally influenced international provender since 2000, Farrago World Cuisine presents worldly wonders with the help of a local network of farmers, growers, butchers, fishermen, and people to fact-check the fisherman. Awarded both “Best Posole” and “Best Brunch” by H Texas Magazine, the adventurous chefs prescribe remedies for bored palates such as chilaquiles, Cajun eggs benedict with crawfish cream, and Hawaiian sweet red crab cakes. Noteworthy dishes lurk between the pages of the other menus as well—Elizabeth Searcy of the Midtown Paper was enamored of the curried mussels, saying, “The marriage of basil, cilantro, and lime in the sauce is not spicy, but wonderfully fresh and aromatic,” while the reviewers at Guyot praised the grilled salmon with sweet potato puree and nectarine salsa.
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.