After 35 years at the forefront of Houston’s dining scene and a year into being called Cafe Annie after an eight-year hiatus in which it was known at RDG + Bar Annie, chef Robert Del Grande's iconic eatery is once again reconcepting. Along with a new menu and full reconfiguration of its interior, the restaurant shall henceforth be known as Cafe Annie: Wood Grilled Steaks and Oyster Bar, or, as locals will call it, Cafe Annie.
As the Houston Press reported earlier this year, restaurants in Houston rebrand for a variety of reasons — customers can be fickle; it can be a much-needed shot of energy for an aging restaurant or a last-ditch effort to save a sinking or lackluster ship. A press release from Cafe Annie notes that the revamp aims "to evolve the restaurant’s culinary offerings and expansive two-story space in order to fully maximize gastronomic creativity and entice the new-age diner," and though we don't have access to the amount of LSD needed to fully translate that enlightened bit of information, it seems to mean that customers want steak, so they're giving them steak.
However, the press release also says that the eatery "is not morphing into a steakhouse." There is no wedge salad anyway. Various cuts of dry-aged beef, from a coffee-roasted tenderloin to a flat-iron steak to a bone-in rib eye, will set you back anywhere from $35 to $125, and sides are à la carte, which all sounds very steakhouse-like.
"While Cafe Annie can rival any steakhouse in terms of quality of beef and cooking methods," Del Grande says in the release, "the other signature dishes make Cafe Annie stylish, unique and local.”
Those signature dishes include wood-grilled rabbit and quail, roasted pheasant, Gulf seafood, and the chef’s beloved rabbit enchiladas.
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In addition to the menu overhaul, a new downstairs prix fixe-only Prime Room eatery will debut in early November. The menu will change seasonally, with the first iteration focused on prime rib — which Del Grande is known for preparing on Christmas and New Year's Eve — along with oysters, shrimp cocktail, salads and dessert options. In summer, expect a fried chicken menu.
Upstairs, the main dining area is also getting a revamp with the addition of a new private dining area called Annie Hall, which can host up to 120 guests. It will be the only private event space in Houston attached to a James Beard award-winning chef.
Cafe Annie,1800 Post Oak Boulevard, 713-840-1111, CafeAnnieHouston.com