Beaver's celebrated the start of 2017 by opening its second outpost at 6025 Westheimer on January 2. Known as Beaver's West, the Galleria-area location has a quirky charm and dishes out Texas southern comfort foods and pretty good barbecue.
A high, arched ceiling with low-hanging, dark wooden beams and a wall littered with mounted game trophies in the main dining room evoke the inside of a rustic hunting lodge. The Beaver's Den, a separate area set off from the outside back patio, is similarly decorated, with lots of high-top bars and chairs for an adults-only kick-back without the kiddos. AstroTurf lines the home of the giant criss-cross fire pit that captures the eyes immediately. The larger-than-life signage by the front entrance reminds diners that the "less you give a dam, the happier you will be." Complete with Adirondack chairs, a vintage Airstream trailer and whimsical white lights strung from tree to tree, Beaver's backyard has all the makings of a great gathering place for friends.
The kitchen and beverage team seems to be a solid crew, helmed by executive chef Arash Kharat (a.k.a. @SpaceCityCowboy to his legions of pop-up eaters and social media followers). Former Eleven XI chef Kevin Bryant oversees daily business as the director of operations, and Mike Sammons (of 13 Celsius, Mongoose versus Cobra, and Weights + Measures) manages the wine and cocktail program.
From barbecue and tacos to po-boys and burgers, the West menu is currently a bit clunky, but we were told that it will be tightened up soon as more R&D reveals what's hot and what's not. We tried the barbecue sampler plate with beef brisket, pork ribs and sausage. The order comes with two sides, house-pickled red onions, jalapeños and pickles. At $17, it's a healthy heaping of food and a great way to share the cue, if you're willing to share. Generous portions of the fatty brisket, ribs and sausage were tender and flavorful, but the star on the plate was the roasted Mexican street corn and dirty (basmati) rice with chunks of chopped brisket and sausage. Two sauces were served alongside, but only one was really necessary. The darker, more tomato- and vinegar-based sauce was simple, yet deep and satisfying. The lighter, honey-caramel-colored sauce tasted like cooked-down onions in an overly sweet syrup.
The buffalo cauliflower was a surprise hit with the carnivores at the table. Each piece is crispy-fried and coated perfectly in a tart, vinegar-y orange hot sauce, then drizzled with a light blue-cheese dressing and topped with celery and carrot shavings.
The bar is simply badass. With taps for nitro coffee, two nitro beers, a Lambrusco wine, a weekly rotating house cocktail and 24 craft beers, including local favorite brews from Brash, Holler and Buffalo Bayou, Beaver's bar satisfies the thirst for all kinds of imbibing. The Beaver Went Down to Georgia, a twist on peach iced tea with Makers 46 and an in-house smoked rye, was dangerously good.
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With whetted whistles and plump bellies, we didn't think there was any room left for dessert until someone mentioned the Slow Dough croissant bread pudding. For someone who normally lacks a sweet tooth, this was one occasion I wished I had been eating alone. It was crafted perfectly, topped with Blue Bunny vanilla ice cream and dripping with a boozy chocolate syrup.
Currently, the Westheimer location only opens for supper, starting at 4 p.m., but it hopes to open for lunch come Super Bowl time. Chef Kharat told the Houston Press that the menu should be ready and complete in a couple of weeks. Expect a stage to be added to the patio area and brunch service to begin on the weekends.
Beaver's West, 6025 Westheimer, beavershouston.com
Hours: Sundays through Thursdays, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.