The Required: Houston

The Required: Houston

A definitive guide to Houston's tried and trues, as chosen by over 5000+ of the nation's top chefs, sommeliers, bartenders, & other food and beverage pros.

July 27, 2020
The Required: Houston

The Required: Houston

A definitive guide to Houston's tried and trues, as chosen by over 5000+ of the nation's top chefs, sommeliers, bartenders, & other food and beverage pros.

July 27, 2020

Houston, We've Landed.

The Required is our expert version of a "best list," comprised of the stand-out restaurants that have garnered the all-time most recommendations from our expert community. That's 5000+ all-star chefs, sommeliers, bartenders, and more–no black box of food editor committees or user surveys, just plain, crave-able cred.

Read on to plan your next trip—or just to be sure you've checked all the boxes on your home turf. 

State of Grace

The Story: Expert Ford Fry is an American chef and restaurateur based mainly in Atlanta, Georgia but in 2015 he opened his first Houston restaurant, State of Grace, in the River Oaks neighborhood. Fry and executive chef Bobby Matos make sure to pay homage to Houston's diverse palate with Southern and Tex-Mex staples with Pan-Asian influences thrown in for good measure. 

What to Eat: Our Experts rave about the Nashville Style Chicken Sandwich with Bread and Butter Pickles and Slaw, and the Oak Roast Oysters with Garlic Parmesan Butter and Oysters for lunch. For dinner it’s all about the Sticky Smoky Beef Rib For Two, with Vietnamese Herb Salad, Pickles and Roti. You should also venture in their Oyster Room for oysters on the half shell, seafood towers, and jumbo lump crab cocktails.  

What to Drink: Craft cocktails, fine wine, and beer in both bottles and cans.

The Vibe: Set in the refurbished Mid-Century Lamar Oaks shopping center, game heads are mounted on the wall and elegant lighting illuminates the wood, brick and leather accents of the décor. State of Grace is a place to get dressed in your Sunday best to meet and mingle with friends and family. 

When To Go: It’s all about Sunday Supper, where for $29 per guest you can get a green salad, main protein like Fried Chicken or Pork Shank Ragu, three sides per table like Mac and Cheese, and Kimchi and Collards, and a slice of Lemon Meringue Pie for dessert. This place is jumping for weekend brunch as well, so make sure to make reservations. They also host an Oyster Happy Hour Monday through Friday 11-6 p.m. featuring $1 Gulf Coast Oysters. While they are open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, their hours vary slightly, so make sure to check their website before heading over. 

State of Grace
Spot
River Oaks, Houston
$$$, Happy Hour, Modern, Full Bar, Seafood, New American, Southern / Soul
4 Recommendations

Himalaya Restaurant

The Story: A casual BYOB Indian-Pakistani eatery located in a strip mall off the freeway, Himalaya is a Houston institution. Despite its location, the restaurant is always busy which is a testament to Chef Kaiser Lashkari's cooking.

What to Eat: The menu ranges from kebabs to curries, seafood and vegetarian dishes. The Goat Biryani is an Expert favorite - marinated in yogurt and spices overnight, nestled in a bed of warm basmati rice. Their signature Chicken Hara Masala in Green Cilantro Curry and the "Pakistani Fajitas" – spicy and charred Steak Tikka served on Naan are not to be missed. 

What to Drink: BYOB or enjoy a Rose Lassi, Hot Chai, or a Masala Soda. 

The Vibe: The Paprika red walls lend warmth to this bustling, unpretentious family restaurant. 

When To Go: Open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. you should have no problem fitting a visit or two in. 

Better Luck Tomorrow

The Story: Experts Justin Yu and Bobby Huegel teamed up in 2017 to bring the historic Heights neighborhood a good-time bar in an old gas station that’s been retrofitted to look like a 1980’s version of what “The Future” (2020) was supposed to look like, with asymmetric neon in a Rubik’s Cube color palette backlighting this otherwise dimly lit bar. 

What to Eat: The Patty Melt with Crispy Cheese, Caramelized Onions, and Thin Shaved Red Onions on Toasted Bread is a perennial favorite with our Experts. The Lamb Belly also hits all those great notes on Asian comfort food: fried, spicy, salty, sour, sweet, and crispy. 

What to Drink: We find their Houston Weather Specials to be a particularly clever promotion: when it’s hotter than 95 degrees, Highballs are half-off, when it’s raining, Hurricanes are half-off, when it’s below 40 degrees out, Hot Toddies are half-off. They also offer craft cocktails and beer. 

The Vibe: Named for the 2002 Asian American Crime Drama-Comedy of the same name, we love their mission statement that reads like a toast: “This is a place to drink. And to eat. A place to celebrate your friendships. And defeat your enemies. A place to cheer. And sulk. And to sulk at the people who are cheering. Whatever it is, we sincerely hope you have a great time, and if not? Well. Better Luck Tomorrow.” 

When To Go: They offer daily specials like “Pasta Tuesdays” and  “Chicken Bucket Monday”– a whole fried chicken with three sides. On Saturday and Sunday they serve brunch from 11-3:30 p.m. – complete with Hangover Hashbrowns or their famous Spaghetti Sandwich, for when you just need to carb and grease load to either power through your day or admit defeat and crawl back into bed, or even more fun: back onto the barstool. They also offer “Happy Hour and A Half,” weekdays from 3:30-5:00 p.m. with 50% off cocktails, 25%-off wine bottles, and “Chicken Surprises.” 

Better Luck Tomorrow
Spot
Greater Heights, Houston
$$$, Happy Hour, Outdoor Seating, Modern, Full Bar, Gastropub, Cocktail
3 Recommendations
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