The flavors on Verde Cali-Mex Grill and Cantina's menu serve as a kind of road map of Chef Andrew's career. Born and raised in California, the chef still appreciates West Coast?style eats, such as his crispy codfish tacos with cilantro coleslaw, housemade baja sauce, and avocado. His menu also includes a few Cajun notes reminiscent of his time spent in New Orleans, where he cooked for French Quarter hotels. He finally arrived in Houston, where he found his home and founded his dream restaurant. He caps off his menu with a few Tex-Mex specialties, such as slow-roasted prime rib in ancho spices. The drinks list also focuses on flavorful twists on classic cocktails, such as the blood-orange margarita, comprised of Patron Silver tequila, Cointreau, and fresh-squeezed lime and blood-orange juices?a favorite of locals and vegetarian vampires alike.
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."
The original Ragin' Cajun joint opened in 1974, treating visitors to hearty po' boys, red beans and rice, and authentic Louisiana boiled crawfish. Today, visitors make the pilgrimage to one of five area locations, including the Woodlands location, newly-opened in 2014, plopping down at tables to sup on meals of Gulf Coast shrimp and crab, gumbos, rib eye, and homemade bread pudding. The intense flavors and cuisine of southwestern Louisiana unfold in a dining room decked with vintage signage, college-sports memorabilia, and buzzing neon. Ragin' Cajun also keeps customers in the know with a Craw Club and can customize catering packages for off-site Acadian feasts, filling banquet halls with food, DJs, and live zydeco bands.
G3 Great Greek Grill's three owners, who came together over their love of Greek food, opened the first of their five Houston–area eateries to bring traditional Greek dishes to fast, casual diners. Unlike most Greek restaurants, where the eats come out of the kitchen in a set way, G3 offers patrons a choice between building their own gyros, gliders, or pita sandwiches and devouring classic Mediterranean morsels. G3's chefs also make each generously portioned dish quickly to get patrons in and out the door and on with their lives. In addition to slinging custom falafel to dining-in customers, the grill delivers vittles to houses and caters parties and Greek gods' rap battles.
In 1984, Becks Prime was hardly more than a double drive-thru and a mission: to serve fresh, made-to-order burgers that upped the ante on traditional fast food. The restaurant has grown to 13 locations since then, and fewer customers are wearing "Vote Mondale" buttons, but not much else has changed. Cooks still prepare the food using never-frozen Angus Beef burgers, Boar's Head hot dogs, and marinated chicken breasts, all grilled to order over mesquite wood coals. Thick-cut fries and milkshakes round out the menu of American classics. The restaurant's passion for fast, high-quality burgers has caught the attention of the press in a big way?Becks Prime has been lauded by Zagat, Thrillist, and The Daily Meal.
Nikoz Fusion Grill's cooks fill their kitchen with aromas from sizzling mediterranean kabobs, Indian spices from the baking samosas, and the subtle peanut scent from the drizzle of sauce over the asian salads. Blending flavors and dishes from the Mediterranean, Greece, and Asia, the chefs craft savory gyro sandwiches alongside beef short ribs with special spices and fresh hummus. In addition to dine-in meals, they also fill trays with fusion cuisine for catered events such as birthday parties, retirement lunches, and retiring from the birthday-party circuit.