The soothing sounds of the saxophone and the call of the trumpet fill the air inside the Red Cat Jazz Café. Several nights a week, artists such as Brian Best and Dean James play on the café's stage, which also hosts boisterous events including the Sunday Jazz Brunch. Open-mic nights let lesser-known acts make a splash, and happy hours and special events encourage artistic expression through words, mixed drinks, and opportunities to complain about coworkers in song.
In 2011, King’s first year in business, owner Johann Sitter had to expand his space from a 40-seat dining room to a 200-seat restaurant and beer garden. The customer response aligned with the press response: That same year, Houston Press included King’s sausage sampler on their list of 100 Favorite Dishes and in 2012, GermanDeli.com voted King's the Best German Restaurant in America. They were excited to find the restaurant served “the kind of hearty yet fresh sausages and schnitzels that Houston has long lacked,” and singled out the weisswurst for having “the texture of sifted pate, light and airy.”
In addition to meals built from family recipes, patrons can revel in an extensive selection of German brews. Beer tour samplers allow guests to sip on four or all of the draft beers, but those ready to commit to a single draft can sign a marriage certificate for a 3-liter das boot. Thursday through Saturday, groups can listen to live music from German house bands on the beer garden.
When one thinks of an ice rink, the next thought is not typically of freshly baked bread, cured meats, and roasted beets with apples and blue cheese. Jambone's Grill Pub might just change that. Adjacent to the rink at the Sugar Land Ice & Sports Center, Jambone's menu of upscale pub food provides welcome respite for ice skaters. Chefs press fresh ground beef or tarragon-turkey burgers stuffed with a choice of cheese between challah buns or surround grilled chicken, salami, and provolone with slices of ciabatta. Jambone's servers pour Wayne Gretzky Estates wine or other libations from the full-service bar on the spacious patio before diners dash back to the rink to watch it not melt.
Favorably featured on Fox News, Char House Bar and Grille dishes out a menu of meat-laden comfort fare. Launch edible excursions from an onion-ring tower, a skyscraper of deep fried onion rings erected next to a diving pool of spicy chipotle mayo ($8). The Malibu burger, cloaked in sliced avocado and buttermilk ranch, transports noshers to the sunny West Coast ($10), and the open-faced flank-steak sandwich painted with horseradish cream harkens back to a gentler time before overprotective bread smothered its meaty offspring ($10). Meat abstainers can munch the grilled swiss cheese slathered in tomato pineapple chutney ($7) or the roasted artichoke garlic hummus ($8). The New Orleans-style crème brûlée tops the short-but-sweet four-item dessert menu ($5).
Baker St. Pub & Grill’s menu offers pub classics along with soups, salads, sliders, generously portioned sandwiches, and lunch plates (most for less than $8). Patrons can start with a medley of chips, fresh salsa, and creamy queso ($5.29) or a hard-boiled scotch egg, encased in traditional english sausage, then breaded and fried ($5.29). Hearty helpings of shepherd's pie, a delicacy of ground sirloin, cheddar, whipped potatoes, and tomato mixed and served with green beans and potatoes ($8.99), and the Baker St. club-house sandwich with roasted turkey, black-forest ham, bacon, and cheddar cheese ($6.99) fill gastro-suitcases. Those needing a break from not eating the House of Parliament mushroom burger can gobble the House of Parliament mushroom burger, slathered in HP steak sauce and crowned with crispy onion straws and smoked gouda cheese ($7.99).
Though Diego Cantina's over-the-top decor welcomes diners inside, its authentic Mexican cuisine crafted from fresh ingredients urges them to stay. Alejandrina Garza and her three children opened Diego's Cantina in an attempt to bring their Mexican heritage to Sugar Land. Described in Living magazine as a "little piece of Tampico, Mexico [the Garza family] left behind," the restaurant impresses visitors with its oversized replicas of Mayan hieroglyphics and paintings. Bathed in soft lighting emanating from chandeliers and tabletop candles, diners eat traditional dishes fueled by family recipes while sipping on beverages served from a blue, glowing tequila bar.