By Kaitlin Steinberg
By Minh T Truong
By Molly Dunn
By Brooke Viggiano
By Kaitlin Steinberg
By Molly Dunn
By Molly Dunn
By Eating Our Words
"Just from empirical evidence," Chiao says, "people tend to opt for Saturday brunch to avoid the crush on Sundays." Oh, but the crush of humanity during Sunday brunch is what makes the meal such an occasion! What would brunch at the old La Strada have been without the mad crowds? What would brunch at Saint Genevieve be without the amateur fashion show parading past your table every 15 seconds?
There are restaurants that offer Saturday brunch in Houston (and I'm talking about a full-court-press Saturday brunch, not just breakfast that's served past noon), however. And if the Saturday brunch crowds at places such as Down House, Ouisie's Table and Backstreet Cafe are anything to judge by, the trend may be working its way into our city, too. Even Baba Yega — Montrose's brunching headquarters since 1975 — has expanded its sprawling Sunday brunch into a smaller Saturday service.
Sean Beck, sommelier at Backstreet Cafe and its sister restaurant, Hugo's — where the elaborate Sunday-only brunch buffet is the stuff of legends — notes that there are typically "300 or 400 people who brunch at Backstreet most Saturdays." Regardless, Houston may still be behind the curve when it comes to novel brunch trends.
"The new frontier in New York is everyday brunch," says Sietsema. "In other words, the menu served seven days but still functioning as an alternative to the Walk of Shame."
I still maintain, however, that brunch on Saturdays is an unnatural affair. And at least one person on the West Coast agrees with me.
"Obviously, the only reason folks brunch on Sunday is otherwise they'd never get out of bed after Saturday night," says food critic Hanna Raskin at the Seattle Weekly. "Nobody really wants a crab cake on a sourdough biscuit."
Pies and Pints
The 5 best bar pizzas in Houston.
Responsible drinking is important. It's imperative to always have a designated driver, know when you've had a few too many and make sure you're at a bar that bakes a good pizza to soak up that premium booze.
Fortunately, crave-worthy post-drink pies abound in this city. And although the line between bars that offer pizza and restaurants that offer drinks is nebulous, with places like Crisp and Witchcraft Tavern serving up great pizza with standout craft beer menus, this list is made up of places that serve up serious food offerings wherever you go for a stiff drink.
Because when you've had a few too many, forks are just too fussy and Pizza Hut is a no-go because there are plenty of better-than-they-have-to-be pizzas baked up fresh at your favorite bar.
While this Montrose hangout is relaxed and laid-back, its food is anything but. This spot really blurs the line between bar and restaurant with Rishi Singh upping his menu, from winter's bone-warming curries to this impressive lineup of pizza made to suit spring and summer herbs and attitudes.
The return of a revamped pizza menu has caused much excitement after a hiatus forced upon this little Fairview favorite by city permitting problems, which temporarily shut down the major pizza operation. The standout for me, and one that I'm starting to crave as I write this, is the Dutchie, an addictive pie made of Sriracha, aleppo, fresh basil and toasted ribbons of pancetta. Also, the atmosphere is hard to beat on the patio or in the red-hued interior.
Kenneally's Irish Pub
Don't question the authenticity of this Irish hot spot; just give in to the melted cheese that melds into the crispy thin crust so well, you'll think you're having a pancake. It also won't make you feel guilty in the morning when you realize you never did share a slice with anyone else. While the pizza here is a thin-crust-lover's dream, the bar isn't known for its diverse or particularly fresh ingredients, so simple is best when ordering your pie here. But it's definitely the best pub pie I've had in town — and the only one that offers corned beef as a topping.
Over in the Galleria area is a red-tile-roof patio bar with live music most nights of the week and well-mixed cocktails that are enough to lure almost anyone into a Loop 610 traffic jam they won't soon regret; however, the pie alone is worth the drive, too.
The standouts here are the Steakhouse with gorgonzola dressing, skirt steak and bleu cheese crumbles; the Pina Picante Spicy with Tabasco-infused pineapple, barbecue sauce, smoked Gouda and cilantro; and last, the Capone's with prosciutto, d'Anjou pears, drunken goat cheese and a drizzle of white truffle oil — my favorite of the bunch. Ranging from $12 to $18, these are on the higher end of the pie price scale, but the menu is the most extensive and diverse I've seen at a bar. And the live music is a definite pairings winner.
Considering that this absinthe bar is next door to the owner's other spot, Bowl, bar patrons will be able to enjoy the fresh salad toppings baked into their pie late at night. Artist-inspired names and a satisfying hand-tossed crust that isn't too bready will fill you up after one slice or two. All of the pizzas are made with different flavor profiles in mind; from the pineapple and smoked Gouda on the Renoir to the salami and prosciutto with olives on the Gaudi, there's a pie on the menu for any one of your friends. At $11 a pizza, you'll be able to sip on more than one Czech-prepared glass of Pernod and munch on a few rounds of pies.