Houston Restaurant Weeks: 8 Restaurants Offering Drink Pairings

By Marcy de Luna  |  July 31, 2014
Credit: Americas River Oaks

Dining for charity (the Houston Food Bank to be exact) takes center stage this Friday when the month-long event Houston Restaurant Weeks (HRW) kicks into gear. Take advantage of specially priced menus including a few you can upgrade with optional alcohol pairings. We've highlighted eight of our boozy favorites.

Americas (pictured)
Details: Both the River Oaks and The Woodlands locations feature a  menu of South American fare ($35).
First Course: Beef or chicken empanadas, black bean soup, mahi-mahi fish tacos, angel (chicken) wings or tuna ceviche.
Second Course: 6-oz churrasco steak; grilled beef filet and spicy achiote shrimp; grilled beef tenderloin and shrimp over chorizo Caribbean rice; plantain-crusted chicken; sous vide pork shoulder and grilled shrimp with lemon guajillo sauce; grilled mahi-mahi or achiote seared ahi tuna.
Third Course: Tres leches cake, chocolate cake, kettle corn tres leches cake or alfajores (soft cookies).
Drink Options: Paired wine by the glass ($4-$8) or an $8 mojito.
Other HRW Meals: $20 two-course lunch (with optional wine pairing).

Details: Get your fill of Sardinia-inspired cuisine at the sophisticated restaurant near the Galleria ($35).
First Course: Lightly fried shrimp with arugula and artichoke salad, mussels simmered in tomatoes and garlic or Mediterranean salad (tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese and oregano).
Second Course: Braised veal and ricotta-filled ravioli; pasta with roasted calamari, zucchini, spicy cherry tomatoes and bottarga (fish roe); salmon with blue crab and vegetables; roasted half chicken with rosemary new potatoes; or cheese-stuffed pasta in tomato sauce.
Third Course: Chocolate tiramisu, pannacotta di saba or sorbet.
Drink Option: Recommended wine pairings ($10-$14).

Backstreet Cafe
Details: Choose from five dinner menus of American eats at the River Oaks staple: Vegetarian, Red, White, Beer (highlighted below) and Cocktail ($35).
Beer Menu: Fried green tomatoes, short rib risotto and milk chocolate crème brulee.
Beer Pairings: Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. Abrikoo, Clown Shoe’s Brown Angel and No Label Brewing Company Mint Stout ($20 for all three).
Other HRW Meals: $20 two-course lunch.

Details: Feast on regional Mexican seafood at the giant space inside the Galleria-area BBVA Compass Plaza; the five menu options include Vegetarian, Ocean Lover, On Dry Land (highlighted below) and Our Style ($45).
On Dry Land Menu: Gazpacho soup; beef tri-tip with jicama, corn, squash and avocado-tomatillo salsa; pork shank with sweet potato puree and mole and cinnamon coffee-orange custard.
Drink Option: Two glasses of wine plus a sparkling wine cocktail with dessert ($28 for all three).
Other HRW Menus: $20 two-course lunch.

Ciao Bello (pictured above)
Details: The Italian eatery in the Galleria offers a four-course HRW menu with carefully selected wines to complement your meal ($35).
First Course: Sweet summer corn pansoti, orecchiette pasta with sausage and rapini, caramelli bolognese or pastiera di mare (mascarpone souffle with shrimp and jumbo lump crab).
Second Course: Shellfish soup, tomato basil soup, insalata Vallone or grilled peach and burrata salad.
Third Course: Gulf flounder, snapper franchese, brick chicken or chianti braised Wagyu beef cheeks.
Fourth Course: Cannoli, carrot cake or red velvet cake.
Drink Options: A bottle of '13 La Fiera Pinot Grigio ($36) or '12 Poggio Brigante Morellino di Scansano ($42).
Other HRW Meals: $25 three-course brunch (with optional wine pairings).

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House
Details: The steakhouse inside the Galleria shopping center offers dinner with carefully selected wine options (available by the bottle) and a VIP cocktail ($45).
First Course: Dinner salad, Caesar salad or roasted poblano bisque.
Second Course: 8-oz filet mignon, 12-oz New York strip, roasted chicken breast with grilled shrimp, tempura fried lobster tail or pan seared Atlantic salmon.
Third Course: Lemon cake, banana bread pudding or chocolate mousse.
Drink Options: A bottle of Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon ($99), Cherry Tart Pinot Noir ($58), Clos de Los Siete Malbec ($60) or Jos Leitz Reisling ($50); VIP Martini with pineapple-infused vodka ($12).
Other HRW Meals: $20 two-course lunch (with wine pairings and VIP Martini).

Details: The Montrose-area restaurant gets a boozy lift for its authentic Mexican menu options, including Agave, Vegetarian (highlighted below), Vino Blanco and Vino Rojo  ($35).
Vegetarian Menu: Cauliflower soup, squash blossom salad, potato cakes with salsa de ajo and rice pudding.
Drink Options: Two wines by the glass and aged rum milk punch with dessert ($27 for all three).
Other HRW Meals: $20 two-course lunch.

Details: HRW is a great way to dine at the upscale restaurant in Greenway Plaza without breaking the bank ($45).
First Course: Squash-filled pasta; prosciutto- and mortadella-stuffed tortellini; salad with roasted grapes, baby arugula, tomino cheese and pecans; or risotto piave (Italian cow's milk cheese).
Second Course: Red snapper, lump crab meat and roasted peppers in bianco sauce, roasted duckling, seared Speckled trout or truffled beef medallions.
Third Course: Vanilla poached meringue with grand marnier cream, praline and vanilla bean creme puff, Devil’s Food Cake (with mascarpone, chocolate mousse and heath crunch), or chocolate or lemon individual souffle.
Drink Options: A bottle of 2013 La Fiera Pinot Grigio ($39) or ‘12 Poggio Brigante Morellino di Scansano ($48).

The month-long event runs August 1-September 1. For a complete list of participating restaurants and menus, click here.