If a large crowd happily swaying and singing loudly to a cover band belting out "Purple Rain" at only 9 p.m. on a Tuesday night is any indication of success, last night's Houston Press Menu of Menus was a hit.
Clever folks who bought V.I.P. tickets started noshing at 6 p.m., on everything from Laurenzo's thick prime rib to Sushi King's dazzling jewelry box of sushi and hand rolls. The drinks flowed all night, from Fleischer Wines' glasses of vino to cups of Saint Arnold beer. And the desserts... My Dee Dee's Pies, Ooh La La cupcakes, and Ritter's frozen custard that was so good, it inspired guest Christine Tremoulet to remark of her lemon drop Italian ice, "I think I heard angels singing, it was that good."
When the floodgates opened at 7 p.m. and the general admission ticket holders began to rush in, the lines got long and the interior got hot. Luckily, there was plenty of space outside at West Ave to cool off and enjoy the evening breeze. SmartWater set up a cozy yet sleek lounge area close to the music stage filled with sofas and easy chairs. Eagle-eyed guests scoped out the sofas early on and enjoyed their perch for the rest of the evening.
Back inside, although the lines were snaking around, the food moved quickly. Garlic bread knots from Italiano's, creamy risotto from Textile, baklava from Harry's, and crudites from Cork Soakers all went as quickly as the hungry guests could get them on their plates. Throughout the night, people dropped their wooden tokens off at the booths they deemed "Best Restaurant" or "Best Dressed."
But after all that eating and drinking, who won those honors?
Best Dressed went to newcomers Cork Soakers, the just-opened wine bar on Rusk. And the coveted Best Restaurant award went to Italiano's, the little family-owned restaurant in Humble that's been serving great Italian food for years -- even if some of us have to make quite a drive to get there.
For more photos from the event, check out our slideshow.