A swanky ambiance defined by an elegant decor, including stained-oak mouldings and maroon drapes, complements the high-caliber steakhouse cuisine served at Post Oak Grill. The Houston bistro has been around for 23 years, so it just got out of college. The restaurant’s chef, Polo Becerra, pairs bold flavors in starters such as duck-confit crepes with blackberry sauce and melted gorgonzola. For a main course, he might grill Gulf Coast red snapper or cook a center-cut steak and augment its juiciness by adding a port-wine-and-fig reduction. Chef Becerra and his team can even bring their culinary services to homes and offices with their catering.
At a jade-green bar, servers pour a long list of international wines. Nearby, a pianist tickles the ivories during happy hour. On Thursday–Saturday evening, musicians perform classic songs or melodic readings of the newspaper fine-arts section.
Coco Chocolate Lounge has more to offer than just chocolate. That's why readers of the San Antonio Express-News voted the spot Best Neighborhood Restaurant and Best Nightclub in North Central San Antonio in 2011. Though there are plentiful cacao-based desserts served, including single-origin chocolate mousse and chocolate fondue with housemade marshmallows, Chef Hector Villarreal also experiments with savory dishes. Among his creations are stone-baked pizzas topped with house-smoked brisket and venison steaks with fried okra and béarnaise sauce.
The cuisine complements decor the San Antonio Express-News called “scrumptious with plenty of chandeliers, candlelight, and plush ruby-red velvet booths and bar seating.” As the sky darkens and everybody throws away sundials that seemed cool during the day, Coco Chocolate Lounge transitions into a nightclub, and chocolate martinis, wine, and champagne flow more freely. DJs on a dance floor and an outdoor patio spin Latin music, hip-hop, and club hits until 2:30 a.m.
When Ben Googins met Rio de Janeiro native Elias Martins while teaching English in Brazil in 1998, he couldn't have guessed that the two would wind up making pão de queijo—cheese bread—on an episode of the Cooking Channel's FoodCrafters with celebrity chef Aida Mollenkamp. Their journey began as Googins learned more and more about the Portuguese language and the generous, hospitable Brazilian culture via Martins's family and their flavorful cooking. The duo eventually moved to Austin in 2006, bent on realizing their dream of opening their own restaurant. After their handmade foods gained popularity at the downtown farmers' market, their all-natural malagueta sauces appeared in Austin's flagship Whole Foods store. They finally opened Rio's Brazilian Café in 2010, where Googins now makes caipirinhas and Martins creates contemporary and traditional Brazilian recipes from scratch. The last Saturday of every month, Martins treats diners to feijoada, a classic Brazilian stew made with pork, beef, sausage, black beans, and the juice of one soccer ball.
He still, of course, makes the restaurant's renowned cheese bread. The basil variety was the favorite of Fearless Critic, which noted that the restaurant is "one of the few places where carnivores, vegetarians, and gluten-intolerant diners can all happily coexist." The restaurant was also a Critics' Pick for Most Charming Brazilian Outpost in the Austin Chronicle's Best of Austin 2011, and has appeared in numerous publications and on TV shows such as Good Day Austin and Fox 7 News. According to Eater Austin, celebrities Ryan Gosling and Rooney Mara have noshed at the cozy eatery, whose bright yellow and green exterior and outdoor patio give way to a similarly vibrant and eclectic dining area.
Brownstone is the result of award-winning designer Hatsumi Kuzuu's vision. Combining the expertise of the restaurant visionaries at Sameni Entertainment Group with the innovative architecture of her own imagination, she's given life to an airy, 5,000-square-foot space that crackles with convivial energy. As patrons fill the air with the din of friendly conversation or watch HD televisions from the comfort of their residential-style seating, the waitstaff ferries plates packed with forward-thinking takes on American cuisine. Juicy Angus burgers topped with fried eggs, cuts of chicken-fried steak, and delicate sea scallops seem right at home amid the din of friendly conversation. A well-stocked bar encourages diners to linger at tables on the open-air patio long after plates are cleaned, socializing while sipping on the specialty cocktails that were named some of the best in the city by reporters from Fort Worth CVB.
The Great American Land and Cattle Company provides steaks that are cut onsite and cooked precisely to specifications. They arrive with an eclectic smorgasboard of sides: pineapple coleslaw, fries or veggies, and "Texas caviar"—that is, beans. The most popular cut is the tender ribeye, but the menu has all degrees of fanciness covered, from filet mignon to country-fried steak in gravy to steakburgers. If you'd like yours extra-spicy, you can order it tampiqueña—covered with grilled onions and green chilies or jalapeños.
Though the company produces its many seasonings and sauces with steak in mind, the kitchen's not a beef-only zone. It also makes room for pulled-pork sandwiches, Cajun-style chicken, and charbroiled cold-water lobster tails, among other proteins. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, music and other live entertainment drifts through the dining room and onto the patio as the mountains in the background sway gently to the beat.