Begin your culinary journey with an order of spring rolls or cheese rolls, stuffed with raisin-studded rice paper and deep-fried (both $4.25). Classic dishes done well appease traditionalists, including spicy Tom Yum soup ($4.25–$5.25), pad Thai ($8.95), pad see eiw ($8.95), and five kinds of curry ($8.95–$9.95). Build a balanced meal with the entree and rice dishes including garlic and pepper lover ($8.95) with stir-fried meat tossed in black pepper sauce over cabbage. Diners can also pick from grilled selections ($10.95–$12.95), served with shrimp fried rice and steamed veggies. Cool off a spice-saturated palate with a sweet scoop of coconut ice cream ($3.50) for dessert. Expect friendly service, carefully curated curry, and a cozy ambiance at any of the eight outposts. Like the recipe for Play-Doh, Thai Cottage adheres to simple, timeless standards.
Beauty & the Bistro Café & Catering's uniformed staff add friendly elbow grease to their catered social and corporate events. Expectant mothers round up posses of up to 30 guests for a two-hour takeover of the bistro's party room, where a sign-in and gift table greet guests and assign code names written in baby talk. Load up on human fuel from a buffet spread, filling antique china, glasses, and silverware with comestibles including seasonal fruits, parmesan pasta salad, and sliced croissant sandwiches stuffed with generous portions of chicken salad. As light dinner music plays over excited conversations and debates on the origin of the rattle, the staff quiets wailing sweet teeth with slices of guest-provided cake.
TakeNiwa melds Japanese, Chinese, and Thai flavors into a delectable culinary chimera. Sushi hounds can sample from an extensive list of creative rolls and sashimi, with seaworthy selections such as the popcorn lobster roll with crabmeat and deep fried lobster ($12.50), or house specialties including the siracha-drizzled, crab-and-tuna-filled monkey brain roll ($10), which packs enough flavorful power to excuse the misleading nature of its name. Grill enthusiasts can marvel at fresh-flamed entrees prepared tableside via hibachi, choosing meaty morsels such as steak ($21.05) and salmon ($19.95). In addition to plentiful plates, TakeNiwa sports a generous array of sippable sakes, inventive mixed drinks, and an ample selection of globally sourced beers for the liquid-leaning.
Portis Kountry Kitchen's cooks prepare a down-home menu of Southern soul food served up in a cafeteria-style eatery. Baked or fried chicken, smothered steak, and fried fish compete for top billing, as a side of corn plays cupid with suitors of parsley-buttered potatoes, french fries, or spinach, to comprise Friday's lunch special of one entree and two sides ($6.99). Classic sandwiches, such as the Ruben ($5.50) and the triple-decker club ($4.99), stack meats and vegetables between lightly toasted white, wheat, rye bread, or a croissant and audition for mouths with a choreographed step-dancing routine featuring an ensemble of chips, a drink, and a pickle slice.
Dot’z Dawgs & Drafts transports diners back to a simpler time—a time when food was no-fuss and comforting and the world moved at a slower pace. There, diners drink beers and chow down on Chicago-style hot dogs, pizza, and wraps while gazing at vintage Coca-Cola advertisements and the photos of old Hollywood starlets like Marilyn Monroe and Lucille Ball that encompass every inch of free wall space. Amid the 1950s montage, vinyl-and-chrome chairs—striped with the scarlet and silver colors of a retro diner—tuck themselves beneath simple silver tables.
After dinner, patrons grab ice-cream cones and head outside for a stroll along Corpus Christi Beach. The adjacent outdoor playground area is perfect for entertaining kids with hula-hoops and rousing debates on the ethics of peeking during hide-and-seek.
Intent on supplying diners with healthy choices by making flavorful, readily available food, the chefs at Urban Fare Cafe craft a menu that mingles Mediterranean, Indian, Asian, and African cuisines. Piquant soups such as the carrot bisque with ginger and mint pair with guiltless sandwiches and wraps such as the Montreal-style roast beef. Alternatively, whole-grain-wheat pizzas stand in for starchier pies, and cooks prepare rice bowls with either white or brown rice. Baristas emit the aromas of roasted coffee beans throughout the eatery by brewing espresso drinks and practicing levitation with café mugs.