Editor's note: Today starts our annual Best Of Houston® and Readers' Choice awards that will run throughout January across all four segments (food, news, arts and music) of houstonpress.com.
Best New Restaurant: MAD
The moon spy-glassing a gentleman in a peculiar predicament. A stairway that leads to nowhere. An illuminated hallway of mirrors. Welcome to the whimsical world of MAD, the young, hot counterpart from the team behind BCN Taste & Tradition, Ignacio Torras and chef Luis Roger. From the spirited mural done by interior designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán, to the subtle, 130-year-old olive tree transplants that flank the valet, with cuisine as playful and refined as the setting and bar presentations to match, undoubtedly this restaurant is a world unto its own.
The menu offers dishes both colossal and compact in size, all with the intention of sharing. Small-bite spherified olives or a whole pulpo straddling a cutting board, pristine foie gras cornettos or a sizzling pan of suckling pig paella for six. Spend some time in the Gin Revolution portion of the bar menu, where Jerry Argüelles showcases creativity within the balloon-glass and more. Just like BCN, museum-caliber artwork can be found throughout the space. And the late-night lounge pulses with energy. This year, the Spaniards really outdid themselves.
4444 Westheimer, Houston
Ambriza Social Mexican Kitchen
10115 Louetta, Suite 400, Houston