Mark's American Cuisine - CLOSED
There's something magically peculiar about this space. It began as a church, then became the Dream Merchant, a freaky little clothing store. Now completely transformed into a restaurant, the former vestibule houses a dramatic, attractive wine cellar. The comfortably sedate furnishings flank a small glowing bar. But chef Mark Cox's cuisine outshines even these beautiful surroundings. He is an expert at balancing Houston's taste for comfort food (Mississippi-style grits served with chicken breasts) with a flair for the dramatic (black pearl risotto). But be sure to bring the corporate card, so you won't blanch when you learn that dessert costs a cool nine bucks.

Teotihuacan Mexican Cafe
Come for the cheap and excellent food, but come back for the bizarre mix of Heights yuppies, ethnic groups, gay couples and long-haul trucker types that populate this second location, the first one being the much smaller version on Irvington. With the Aztec mural on the wall, the Mexican soaps on the bar TV and the piped-in music (often in competition with the jukebox), it's possible to get overstimulated while dining here. If that happens, you can just get your tacos to go. There's no better food or people-watching for the price.

The Fish
Whatever its name, The Fish (formerly known as Blowfish) is exceptionally titillating. It's identified on the outside solely by the abstract image of a spiny puffer fish. And on the inside, the color scheme is repeated in everything from the waitstaff's red ties and black shirts to the black napkins and red banquettes. And the after-hours scene here is as intriguing as the original name suggested. Blowfish, or fugu in Japanese, is the most dangerous and exciting of sushi experiences. Treated improperly, the delicacy will kill you. They may not serve any fugu here, but the food is as wild as the interior design. Try a science-fiction sushi creation like the fiery Godzilla roll or the wacky but delicious cookie-crusted shrimp. The off-the-wall menu and eye-popping decor have made this Midtown sushi salon one of the hottest hangouts in the city, the place to make a bold fashion statement and do a little late-night grazing.

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