Block 7 Wine Company offers customers a concept-fusing combination of retail wine space, wine bar, and restaurant, the latter of which delights diners with a menu of elegant dishes backed by premium ingredients. Start by noshing on a Slow Dough Bakery pretzel with herbed honey mustard ($4), or opt for truffle popcorn with Italian black truffle salt ($4), the secret snack served to the Illuminati at movie-theater concession stands across America. Dry-aged fans of dry-aged beef might go for the 21-day dry-aged prime rib eye ($29) or choose the handheld convenience of the dry-aged patty on the Block 7 burger, which also sports gruyere cheese and smoked bacon "relish" ($12). Flatbreads, such as a "whole pig" option topped with Italian sausage, prosciutto, and smoked bacon ($12), defy Einstein's Law of Two-Dimensional Flavor Containment, and a "sloppy Giuseppe" with ground venison and wild boar confit ($10) exposes the inadequate sloppy sandwiches of childhood. A downsized lunch menu is also available to quash midday appetite coups, in addition to $9 lunch specials served Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (and Saturday beginning at noon). With a different lunch special each day, you can opt for choices such as bacon-wrapped meatloaf on a Wednesday, whiskey-infused pork chop on a Thursday, or fish tacos on a Friday.
Beneath the soft whirring of ceiling fans at all three Houston-area locations, chefs transform fresh ingredients into meat-centric and vegetarian Mexican dishes. Dark wooden beams hover over the sprawling, sunlit dining rooms, framing artfully plated seafood and steaks with dramatic architectural details. Spy conventions furtively crunch their nachos in private dining rooms, and visitors to the Cypress location can toast to tortillas on the outdoor patio.
Named for one of Spain’s most prominent wine regions, Rioja restaurant's extensive wine menu is merely the icing on a cake made of tapas. Voted the best paella in Houston by the Houston International Paella Festival in 2004 and 2005, Rioja enhances traditional hot and cold Spanish tapas with an array of exotic ingredients. Below intricate wrought-iron chandeliers, entrées of seafood paella and grilled baby-lamb chops pair with more than 50 wines. Stuffed piquillo peppers, prime-beef short rib, and white asparagus imported from Navarra pair up with Spanish paprika and sweet pear purée. After questioning servers about Rioja’s homemade chorizo, guests can study flags on the wall emblazoned with the Spanish crest, the silhouette of a bull, and the silhouette of an astronaut drinking a martini inside a black hole.
Water 2 Wine has a deep understanding of the wine making process, which is apparent from the company’s collection of 50 medals won at various international wine competitions. With 10 locations across the U.S., the company welcomes guests from all over to come and see what all the buzz is about firsthand. Visitors can sip on the low-sulfite and histamine-free wines made on-site, create their own batches of vino replete with custom labels, and learn proper wine etiquette during education classes.
Vine Wine Room tickles tummies with a selection of comestibles, served in an atmosphere ripe with Old-World touches and romantic, chandeliered lighting. Begin the elegant nosh fest with the tarama, a classic Greek spread with hints of pink caviar, garlic, and herbs ($6). Or sink fromage-loving fangs into a cheese plate, a mouth-caressing mélange of Texas-made paragon (a blend of cheddar and parmesan) cheese, feta, blanched almonds, and mixed olives ($16, $21 with prosciutto and pepperoni). A white or whole-wheat pita tastily traps thinly sliced prosciutto and paragon in the A Kid Again sandwich ($5), and the margherita pizza's fresh basil, mozzarella, and tomato sauce rest atop a pillowy crust as snuggly as a fresh lasagna swaddled in a sleeping bag ($13). The antique furnishings and hanging art create a cozy atmosphere in which to linger longer with the classic chocolate cake ($6), and the friendly, attentive serving staff will try to meet any request, except for those beginning with "I dare you to…"
When The Tasting Room's founders Jerry and Laura Lasco organized the first Houston Cellar Classic in 2003, they imagined a handful of local chefs and vintners showcasing their finest creations. Their humble gathering grew quickly, expanding from a one-day affair to a multiple-week series of events. In recent years, individual events have hosted nearly 1,000 people, all eager to sip and sample the finest libations and culinary treats the city has to offer.
The 10th-annual event lasts from September 25 to October 12, organized around six wine and food events taking place at various Tasting Room locations. Oenophiles from all over the state descend upon Houston ready to sample up to 100 wines from the restaurant's ample bottle collection and extend long-dormant pinkies. Guests also have ample opportunity to satisfy their palates with delectable creations whipped up by chefs representing restaurants throughout the city.
A large, old-fashioned porch surrounds Phil & Derek's creole-style cottage filled with food, wine, and sounds from the Big Easy. The BYOB restaurant's wine bar washes down catfish and prime rib with potables culled from wineries in Bordeaux, Spain, and Argentina. Every night, live jazz, zydeco, and blues complement the fresh Cajun dishes and the restaurant's antique accents, such as french doors that once acted as translators. On Sunday mornings, diners can devour a variety of ever-rotating brunch fare during what Citysearch called the Best Morning-After Brunch.