Roberto Rosa first discovered his love of cooking at age 13, when he began learning recipes from his grandmother Antonia. Two decades later, the owner of Antonia’s Cucina Italiana shares his love of all Italian fare, transforming chicken, seafood, veal, and house-made pasta into colorful dishes during lunch and dinner. Across the three locations, décor and amenities vary, from outdoor seating to exposed brick walls and checkered floors where diners can settle arguments over who pays the bill with games of human chess.
Leaping flames illuminate hibachi chefs' faces as they sear steak, chicken, and seafood in the kitchen of Nikko Sushi & Steak, a Houston eatery whose menu centers on the triad of sushi, steak, and sake. Signature house rolls, such as the spicy baked crawfish roll topped with crabstick, complement sashimi and udon noodles in clear broth. Meats such as tender rib eye and new york strip steak give the menu an American twist without printing it on the Liberty Bell. While they await their dinners, diners cozy up in plush red booths curtained for privacy, sit at traditional tables, or pull up stools to the bar illuminated by hanging lights evocative of traditional paper lanterns.
Inside the kitchen at Katy Cajun, bouquets of spices patiently wait their turns, ready to unleash waves of fragrant bayou flavors throughout traditional Cajun eats from seafood gumbo and dirty rice to étouffée replete with crawfish. In addition to serving as a secret ingredient in the dishes themselves, the spices also add complexity to all of the restaurant’s house-made dressings and sauces, including the Louis sauce that appears on po’ boys with oysters or shrimp. From the laid-back comfort of a dining room accented with exposed brick and quaint arched windows, diners discover the flavors for themselves, tearing into Louisiana mainstays including plates of fried catfish and blackened soft shell crab arranged in the shape of Huey Long’s silhouette.
La Generala Mexican Grill & Cantina’s chefs create a menu of authentic Mexican specialties, including favorites such as burritos and tacos with a Texan spin. Enchiladas are top sellers—try the ones that come smothered in red sauce and cecina (thinly sliced, grilled steak)—as are the fajitas, which feature beef, chicken, and shrimp. When the weather's nice, you can take your meal and margarita to the outdoor patio. There's a soccer field next to the eatery and a playground, too, making La Generala a fun place to bring the kids or David Beckham.
With traditional dinner and lunch menus chock-full of seafood, poultry, and meat plates, Las Alamedas quells a litany of cravings in an elegant dining room. In the fajita prime-sliced entrée ($16 for lunch; $20 for dinner), slices of mesquite-grilled beef mingle with onions and poblano peppers on a plate flanked by guacamole, pico de gallo, charro beans, and flour tortillas that can be used to smuggle bottles of hot sauce out of the restaurant. A serving of camarones Cozumel fills bellies with coconut pan-fried shrimp, a habanero and mango dipping sauce, and a side of potatoes ($18 for lunch; $24 for dinner), while the robalo chileno coats a serving of sea bass in herbs and sundried-tomato sauce ($27; dinner only). The vegetarian plate accommodates meat-free diets, slinging spinach-and-cheese enchiladas with grilled vegetables, rice, and guacamole ($15, dinner only) . Though the high ceilings and elegant arched doorways might tempt diners to stay indoors, Las Alamedas offers patio seating for those who want to breathe fresh air or make fake mustaches out of plant life.