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Photo by Troy Fields

State of Grace

Photo by Troy Fields
State of Grace is outstanding when it’s not suffocating under the weight of its own popularity. At least for now, smart diners will visit at non-peak hours, like 5:30 or 9:30 for dinner. Once safely ensconced in a seat, revel in the glory of unabashedly affectionate takes on Houston food culture. The menu is all over the map—but State of Grace does most of it well. There’s good Korean, Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine, but the tributes to Tex-Mex are truly superb. Cut to the chase and order one Cheese Enchilada “A La Felix” for each person at the table. Right after everyone tastes the hot, gooey cheese mixed with the thick chili (note that it’s real chili, not chili gravy), they’ll each want his or her own. The Queso Oaxaca, garnished with hen of the woods mushrooms and accompanied by warm, bacon fat tortillas, is just as exquisite but more sharable. That aside, the Woodroasted Bobwhite Quail is a fun, hoisin-sauced take on Moo Shu (complete with a Chinese style pancake hiding under a bed of kimchi) and the Twice Fried Hot Chicken (a.k.a. Korean Fried Chicken) is better than that served by chains that specialize in it.