At most restaurants, behind-the-bar activities include popping off the tops of beer bottles, shaking cocktails, and cutting lemons into wedges. At Jimmy G’s Cajun Seafood Restaurant, the staff boils crawfish and shucks fresh oysters behind the bar, granting customers the opportunity to see seafood preparation and check oysters for leftover pearls. Guests then dig into these southern specialties and others, including shrimp creole, crawfish étouffée, broiled catfish, grilled choice-cut ribeye, broiled redfish, chicken-and-sausage gumbo.
One look inside The Fish Place, and it's clear that restaurant lives up to its name. Chalkboard menus brim with all manner of Cajun and creole seafood, and within the restaurant's open-air kitchen, chefs fry oysters and fill bowls with seafood gumbo and and blacken shrimp. They construct inventive po' boy sandwiches, such as The Fish Place Original: fried or grilled catfish and shrimp served atop a french roll and covered in housemade rémoulade. The chefs also cook chicken, mainly because no one has told them yet that it isn't actually a fish.
The Fish Place ebbs cravings for Cajun fare with platefuls of deep-fried and grilled tilapia, blackened catfish, and creole favorites. Dinner guests edify taste buds by licking scientific journals or introducing them to dapper appetizers, such as the shrimp brochette, crab ball, or stuffed jalapeño. Then chefs immerse five pieces of catfish, tilapia, oyster, shrimp, or chicken tenders in a deep fryer and serve the crispy morsels with garlic bread and two selections of jambalaya rice, Cajun fries, or hush puppies. For quick nourishment between meetings or poetry throw-downs, the kitchen yields portable eats such as po boys and crawfish étouffée.
Southern Italian dishes adorn white linen tablecloths inside both locations of Little Napoli Italian Cuisine. Chefs plate casual classics such as baked ziti and calzones as well as more elaborate entrees such as linguine pescatore, loaded with shrimp, calamari, clams, and mussels. The downtown location heats up its griddles for breakfast on weekday mornings, and the Westheimer location dishes out brunch fare such as omelets, waffles, and Napoli pasta on Saturdays and Sundays. Also on Westheimer Road, Friday nights entertain patrons with karaoke, and both locations host a VIP private-dining section that can seat up to 40 people or one very hungry velociraptor.
Alberto Alfonzo, the chef and owner of Pesca World Seafood Restaurant, has spent the majority of his 21-year culinary career cooking seafood. His love for underwater edibles stretches to all corners of the world, including Spain, Asia, Peru, the coastal United States, and the Caribbean. “Our dishes are representations of different countries and continents as well as local,” Alfonzo says.
Pesca’s brunch and dinner menus are peppered with international specialties such as grilled red snapper veracruz, valencian black rice, and the chef’s personal favorite, portuguese seafood stew. A trio of turf selections includes New Zealand lamp chops, a center-cut fillet, and roasted pork carnitas. The menu also lists organic and gluten-free options.
Thanks to a special license issued by Dionysus himself, the restaurant offers a wide selection of wines at retail price. Guests can savor a fish and white-wine pairing out on Pesca’s outdoor patio, a romantic spot adorned with palm trees and water fountains.
Towering palm trees, shady cabanas, and flickering tiki torches help create a distinctively Caribbean ambiance in El Pueblito Patio's outdoor seating area, distinguishing it from the rest of the dining area and earning the restaurant the award for Best Patio from Houston Press in 2007 and 2008. The chefs also look for inspiration beyond the borders, combining Mayan, Aztec, Spanish, and African culinary influences that typically characterize Guatemalan and Mexican cuisine. Fried plantains, fiery salsas, and a closely guarded blend of house spices help to lend iconic Latin flavors to the menu of grilled redfish, sautéed gulf shrimp, and roasted chicken. Large fronds and domesticated clouds shade the patio, which encourages diners to enjoy their meals out in the fresh air while savoring a drink with one of the bar's numerous tequilas.