According to most restaurant critics, the perfect paella is served on a plate, which rests on a table with legs. Try some authentic Latin cuisine the way it was meant to be served with today's Groupon: for $25, you get $50 worth of Latin cuisine with Italian flair at Fernando's Restaurant, a Sugar Land eatery featured as one of the Houston Chronicle readers' Ultimate Houston Food & Drink spots.
Fernando's menus showcase South American ingredients and flavors amid an elegant supper club atmosphere, where weekends herald live music and dance-floor tours. An appetizer sampler ($7 for one, $12 for two) relieves decision-making anxiety with a bundle of favorites: golden-fried battered shrimp, shredded yucca crab cake with black bean sauce, and ceviche de pescado (diced marinated snapper, onions, tomatoes, and cilantro lime). Make good on your promise to eat the entire ocean with Fernando's classic seafood paella (saffron rice, clams, mussels, scallops, shrimp, fish, crawfish, calamari, chicken, and Spanish chorizo, $28), or dress your plate in a juicy steak Hickl, 12 ounces of char-grilled marinated rib eye served with mashed potato and asparagus ($28). For carb-fueled feeding, experience the signature mind-meld of European and American cuisine exemplified in the pasta Fernando's, which graces angel-hair pasta with tomatoes, black beans, garlic, basil, cilantro, and grilled chicken breast ($12.50).
Fernando's story is the classic tale of a boy, his dream of restauranteering entrepreneurship, and the evil dog-lizards that stood in his way. Stroll through the doors and into the curved booths and elegant dining atmosphere to taste his story of heroic food preparation.
The Zagat-rated restaurant was named the Houston Chronicle's Place to Dine and Dance in 2008 as part of the Ultimate Houston Reader Picks poll, and also grabs a great review from the paper. B4-U-Eat reviewers also dish positive reviews.
- His Latin-American-inflected fare can be surprisingly delicious, the service is courtly and the unstudied, slightly ad hoc live entertainment is a whacked-out joy especially when dressed-up suburban couples on a Big Night Out take to the dance floor. Bet you won't be able stay in your seat. – Houston Chronicle
- They deliver dishes that possess their own brand of offbeat delight. Any of the churrasco-style beef dishes can score here, from the simple carne-asada steak basted in a garlicky, parsleyed chimichurri marinade, to the baroque-sounding Steak Wallace. – Allison Cook, Houston Chronicle
- Our food was delectable! Fernando and his staff saw that every need was satisfied. Following plantain chips with cilantro sauce, we had sampler appetizers. The ceviche excells! The other appetizers were top notch, too. – Blouiser, B4-U-Eat
Soaring white columns crowned by a pediment beckon guests to the door of Fernando's Restaurant—and once they're there, the aroma of char-grilled steaks, Latin seafood, and chicken simmered in wine sauce brings them over the threshold. At cloth-draped tables set with red linen napkins, diners settle into leather seats topping cherry-toned wood chairs.
Servers bustle through several feet of open space in between tables, carting such dishes as the tender steak Fernando, paired with asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes, and the signature paella: yellow saffron rice with a bounty of clams, mussels, scallops, shrimp, fish, crawfish, squid, chicken, and chorizo. Fernando himself often takes to the kitchen or waits on his guests alongside the servers.
The bar hosts both early and late-night happy hours, and a dance floor with music—sometimes live, sometimes blasted from a passing car outside—gets guests moving.