The weekend is here, and in Houston that means even more brand-new eateries await your busy dining schedule. Once again, the month of May has seen no shortage of restaurant debuts. Here are five spots to put on your to-do list now, from a picnic hub to a new Korean pub.
Chengdu Taste, 9896 Bellaire
The Houston Press first reported that signage for Chengdu Taste was up in the former Banana Leaf space in the H-Mart Shopping Center in early May. Now, the California-based Szechuan restaurant is open, with spice-loving fans lining up out the door at this BYOB spot that does not (we repeat: does not) take reservations. Highlights include the boiled fish in spicy broth, dried pepper chicken and mung bean noodle dish. Weekend Hours: Daily, 11 a..m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch and 5 to 9 p.m. for dinner.
Ohn Korean Eatery, 9630 Clarewood, Suite A-16
This new gastropub from chef Mike Tran (Mein, Night Market Curry & Grill, Tiger Den) is inspired by his travels through Asia with a menu of anju, or Korean bar food in the $8 to $15 rang —- don't miss the cheesy tteokbokki rice cakes and the donkkaseu, a crispy panko-crusted pork cutlet — along with a sweet selection of soju, a distilled rice wine similar to sake, including soju-based cocktails even available by the pitcher. Weekend hours: Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday, 5 p.m. to midnight.
Balls Out Burger, 1603 North Durham
Making its official debut on Saturday, June 3, this new eatery and patio-hang spot offers a menu that includes classic hamburgers, cheeseburgers and double stacks sourced from 44 Farms, with buns from Slow Dough. Fries can be ordered in the shoestring, hand-cut and sweet potato variety. Plus, there are Saint Arnold brews, a rotating selection of Texas wines, and milkshakes sourced from Amy's Ice Cream, along with a 4,000-square-foot, dog-friendly patio with yard games and 20 bike racks. Weekend hours: Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
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The Ivy & James, 4400 Bellaire
This is a new casual spot from the masterminds behind former Heights gem Zelko's Bistro, now open in Evelyn's Park, a renovated refuge at the former Teas Nursery site. Chef Jamie Zelko turns out a menu spanning breakfast, lunch and dinner, with picnic grab-and-go items, sandwiches, flatbreads, cool desserts (including ice cream in a waffle cone and popsicles), local beers and more. Dine in the cafe for breakfast or lunch, or take a picnic out into the park to feast under the oak trees. A weekend chef prix fixe dinner is also planned to launch in June, which will reprise Zelko's famed shrimp and grits and Captain's Chicken. Weekend hours: Daily, 8 a.m. until 10 p.m.
FM Kitchen & Bar, 1112 Shepherd
Brand new to the Heights, chef Ryan Hildebrand's casual new restaurant and bar officially debuted on Friday, May 19, with loads of comfort food, from queso to burgers to fried chicken, and beer and cocktails on tap and wines by the glass for $7. It's what summer dining is all about, with kids and dogs welcome, plenty of yard games and outdoor seating, live music slated for the weekends, and great food from a chef who has proved himself to be one of Houston's finest. Weekend hours: Daily, 11 a.m. to midnight.