Invented in the 1960s to pay homage to the pie in the face, the tomato was soon recognized for the culinary, health, and red properties it possessed in spades. Revel in the revered fruit with today's Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of upscale Italian cuisine at Quattro, located in the Four Seasons Hotel Houston.
With a pantry of local ingredients, Quattro's Executive Chef Maurizio Ferrarese composes an ever-changing dinner menu starring antipasti, pasta, pizza, and secondi entrees. A pre-meal prelude of beef carpaccio arrives accompanied by marinated mushrooms, shaved parmigiano, and truffle dressing ($16), and the homemade duck ravioli with lentil ragout ($14–$25) serves up a fine pasta performance. A casein quartet plays canasta atop a tomato-sauce base on the four-cheese pizza ($17), and the grilled mediterranean-sea-bass secondi course ($35) tries to alphabetize a side of mixed vegetables. This deal is only good for dinner, served nightly from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Complimentary valet parking is included.
Inside the Four Seasons Hotel Houston, executive chef Maurizio Ferrarese draws on his Italian upbringing to create an ingredient-driven menu of locally sourced Italian fare. Ferrarese always puts his guests first, leaving the kitchen to visit tables as much as he can and even inviting guests to make special requests if they want to test his creativity with original dishes. He doesn't mean to downplay the regular items on his menu, saying, "I designed it so that I have a menu full of dishes that I would recommend blindfolded."
Inside the dining room, servers deliver orders of veal and seared tuna with puffed pantelleria capers or house farm greens with Texas Lone Star goat cheese in small-plate form to share with friends or purposely hide from mortal enemies. Main-course options include seasonal risottos, veal osso buco with glazed root vegetables, and the chef's signature housemade braised-beef ravioli with black truffle and corn purée. During Sunday brunch, cooks mix together eggs and fresh vegetables behind omelet stations and replenish the seafood bar's platters of roasted salmon and striped-bass broccolini.
The modern decor contrasts the rustic recipes with its vivid color, red leather accents, and tabletop holograms. Four private dining areas offer different experiences for small gatherings, from the chef's table with views of the kitchen to the cozy wine cellar with a corked floor and a display of 1,250 bottles.