Restaurant News

What's New on the Menu: Summer Edition

Emmaline Photo by Kirsten Gilliam

3210 W. Dallas

Emmaline opened in December 2017 as Sam Governale's first venture into owning his own restaurant after his eight-year stint at Fleming's in River Oaks. Drawing inspiration from his maternal grandmother, mother and three sisters, Governale named his muse Emmaline and that intangible spirit is what drives his vision for the space and its menu.

Though it may be a gender trope to say that the restaurant leans heavily toward a feminine sensibility, it has all the gorgeous details that make many a person swoon with delight. White rustic walls, black wrought iron lanterns, sparkling chandeliers are just part of the mystique. The rose-covered plates, vintage pewter salt and pepper shakers and silver flatware give a coziness to the elegant atmosphere.

Governale decided after 18 months in business that it was time to use feedback from customers and reorganize the menu with additions and subtractions that reflect the clientele  and the ever-changing landscape of the Houston dining scene.

click to enlarge Emmaline is refreshing its menu. - PHOTO BY LORRETTA RUGGIERO
Emmaline is refreshing its menu.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero
With the enormous popularity of poke, ceviche and sushi, more and more Houston restaurants are introducing raw bars into their concepts. Governale has gotten on board and introduced a variety of raw seafood dishes, including the scallop crudo. Its starts with very thinly sliced sea scallops laid in a circle of passion fruit habanero dressing and a refreshing and beautiful scoop of watermelon sorbet. The crudo di pesce bianco is served with raw red snapper, grilled pineapple, orange, apple, serrano chile, minced cucumber and lime. Both dishes speak to a need for lighter fare during the summer months. Also on the raw bar are East Coast oysters. Despite the fact that we live near the Gulf of Mexico, the smaller East Coast variety is on trend and many diners are requesting them.
click to enlarge Emmaline's meat and cheese board is an edible still life. - PHOTO BY KIRSTEN GILLIAM
Emmaline's meat and cheese board is an edible still life.
Photo by Kirsten Gilliam

The new meat and cheese board differs a bit from the previous selection, with Manchego, Delice de Bourgogne, Gorganzola dolce, 100-day aged prosciutto, coppa, pork rillette and seasonal fruits and preserves. For $24, it's a nice way to begin a meal for a party of four. Or to end it, as the Europeans do.

Whole branzino with Israeli cous-cous and a poached Chilean Sea Bass, served with cockles in a vibrant broth flavored with 'nduja, a pork salumi that deserves to be better known in the States, will please fish afficionados, while the introduction of a $42 massive veal chop with a green pepper demi-glace, served with polenta fries and herbed creme fraiche will satisfy heartier appetites.

There is also a stunning gelato banana split that you will want to split with a share-friendly table mate rather than go it alone and split your pants.

click to enlarge We're drooling like this perfectly poached egg. - PHOTO BY PAULA MURPHY
We're drooling like this perfectly poached egg.
Photo by Paula Murphy
Jonathan's the Rub Memorial Green
12505 Memorial

The Memorial Green location of Jonathan's has debuted out a brunch menu which features a variety of eggs Benedict and omelets, plus sandwiches, burgers and traditional breakfast fare. The brunch menu is not available at Jonathan's the Rub the Original BYOB.

On the Benedict side, there are four options from which to choose such as the crab cakes Benedict ($26), the salmon Benedict ($20), the California ($16) with avocado and tomato and the Denver ($18) with braised beef and chipotle aioli.

For omelets, there's veggie, shrimp and asparagus or the Carnivore ($20) which is an omelet with bacon, steak, sausage, cheddar cheese and a white cream gravy. A Michelada ($8) will help wash all that down. For lighter appetites, a frittata ($18) and a mimosa ($7) sounds like a perfect pairing, or try the lobster tacos and a refreshing Aperol Spritz ($8).

click to enlarge The caviar-stuffed ravioli at A'bouzy needs a bubbly companion. - PHOTO BY BECCA WRIGHT
The caviar-stuffed ravioli at A'bouzy needs a bubbly companion.
Photo by Becca Wright
A' Bouzy
2300 Westheimer

Shawn Virene's ode to tiny bubbles is a perfect escape from the summer heat for lunch, brunch or dinner. The French-style bistro with its glass bubbles overhead, brick and wood walls lined with bouteilles de vin offers a staycay in Houston for Francophiles. A' Bouzy has added some new items to its summer menus like caviar-stuffed ravioli ($21) and seared Gulf shrimp with herb butter, tomato and garlic, perfect for sopping up (okay, that's not very French) with bread. Imported Burrata ($12)with grilled peaches, arugula and balsamic is a cool way to start your lingering lunch and roasted warm beets ($9) from Huckleberry Farms gives a little health kick to your repast.

For seafood fans, there's the trout Meuniere or seared diver scallops with mushroom and asparagus risotto. On the meat side, there's a 14-ounce double bone sous vide pork chop and a French meatloaf. And the avocado crab salad, while not new, is a perfect, light dish for surviving the Houston humidity.

click to enlarge Chicken and biscuits with Veuve Cliquot. That's Houston, baby. - PHOTO BY BECCA WRIGHT
Chicken and biscuits with Veuve Cliquot. That's Houston, baby.
Photo by Becca Wright
The restaurant's brunch, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., has new treats like an heirloom tomato galette ($12) and chicken and biscuits. There are also two new desserts, the individual lemon meringue cheesecake with fresh berries ($9) and a German chocolate cake. 

The wine program at A' Bouzy is one focused on a wide-range of varietals. While one can spend some major bucks on high-end champagnes, those with fewer dollars to throw around will find an exceptionally curated list of reasonably priced bottles. Many delicious sparkling roses can be found for less than $30 while the list of sparkling Bruts and Proseccos also has some great bargains. For patrons who get their kicks from Champagne, well-priced bottles like the Veuve Cliquot Yellow Label Brut ($49) and the Piper Heidsieck Brut ($42) will impress your companions without depleting your bank account. However, if you got the money, honey, A' Bouzy's got the wine.

click to enlarge Benrie's Burger Bus Astros game Day hot dogs - PHOTO BY SABRINA MISKELLY
Benrie's Burger Bus Astros game Day hot dogs
Photo by Sabrina Miskelly

Bernie's Burger Bus
5407 Bellaire
2643 Commercial Centre Boulevard
6324 Highway 6
2200 Yale

Bernie's is getting into the Go Astros! spirit, even if there have been some ups and major downs recently with our favorite boys of summer. The burger restaurant is offering three special gourmet ball park franks on Astros Game Days, along with their usual array of tasty burgers.

The franks are made with 44 Farms USDA Choice Angus beef and are wrapped in thick-cut bacon. That's for starters. It's the toppings that will take you around the bases. There's the House chili dog with green chili queso, crispy jalapenos and house mustard on a cheesy Martin's potato bun for those who like it spicy. Then, there's the dog with guacamole, chipotle aioli, diced tomatoes and crispy tortilla strips for a south of the border variation. Last, but definitely not least, is the BBQ beef with aged white cheddar, pickled jalapenos, and Tabasco onions. If these fulsome franks don't scream "Texas!", we don't know what does. Apparently, not Whataburger anymore.

click to enlarge That crispy jalapeno is smiling at me. - PHOTO BY SABRINA MISKELLY
That crispy jalapeno is smiling at me.
Photo by Sabrina Miskelly
The special ball park franks are $7, but you can make it a combo with a novelty Astros helmet filled with Cajun-spiced potato chips and a cold pint of Texas craft beer or soda for $15.

click to enlarge Bisou is fusing Japanese with French flavors. - PHOTO BY DUC HOANG
Bisou is fusing Japanese with French flavors.
Photo by Duc Hoang

4444 Westheimer

Bisou has added a new sushi menu. Master Chef of France, Frederic Perrier is combining Japanese and French influences to create colorful and unique maki and nigiri. A hint at the menu includes foie gras nigiri with plum shisho and honey ($9 per piece) and hamachi crudo with cucumber, apple, tuile and nasturtium ($18). Bisou has also joined with many Houston restaurants in bringing the seafood tower to the Bayou City. Prices range from $65 to $190, depending on the size.

Bisou is adding a Sunday dinner service as well. In addition to its regular menu, the restaurant will offer a three course dinner for $30, plus there will be select wines for 50 percent off. Sounds like a brilliant way to spend a Sunday evening.

click to enlarge Assemble your own snack board at The Classic. - PHOTO BY LISA GOCHMAN
Assemble your own snack board at The Classic.
Photo by Lisa Gochman
The Classic
5922 Washington

Benjy Levit's bright and light American bistro is introducing its The Board Meeting happy hour which promises to be far more fun (and tasty) than any board meeting you've ever attended before. It's offering a Build-Your-Own-Board with a variety of snacks to choose from like French Onion Dip with barbecue chips ($6), Duck Pita Pizza with hummus, goat cheese and arugula ($8), Hot Chicken Bites with jalapeno and classic Ranch ($5) and Marcona almonds ($5). There's also the Cheese Board, a selection of Houston's Dairymaids cheeses, walnut toast and jam ($10). If you'd like to try all the happy hour snacks, the Ballin on a Budget gives you everything for $50.

The happy hour runs Monday through Saturday, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and offers $4 draft beers and cocktail specials like the Campari Spritz ($7), Classic Margarita ($7) and the Classic Old-Fashioned ($7). There's also a select wine list ranging fro $25 to $50.  Zafeirakis Malagousia, a Greek white, is on the lower end at $25 while there are mid-range options like Prince de Lis Brut Rose ($30) for a refreshing sparkler and a Mouton Cadet Bordeaux ($40) for a substantial red.

click to enlarge Grimaldi's BBQ Chicken Pizza - PHOTO BY PATRICK DARBY
Grimaldi's BBQ Chicken Pizza
Photo by Patrick Darby

12848 Queensbury Lane
20 Waterway Avenue
700 Baybrook Mall
16535 Southwest Freeway
2643 Common Centre Boulevard

This pizza chain originally began in 1990 in Brooklyn, New York selling its coal-fired brick oven pizza. Now there are a number of locations nationwide, most of them in Texas and Arizona. Grimaldi's is rolling out a new summer menu which runs from June 11 to September 9, 2019. There will be two new Chef's Selections starting with a prosciutto-arugula pizza and then a garden pesto pizza topped with mozzarella, nut-free basil pesto, ricotta, artichokes, red onions plus the signature cheese blend and spices.

click to enlarge Grimaldi's cheesecakes have fresh berries, so they're healthy! - PHOTO BY PATRICK DARBY
Grimaldi's cheesecakes have fresh berries, so they're healthy!
Photo by Patrick Darby
The Summer Selections menu will include barbecue chicken pizza made with Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce, oven-roasted chicken, smoked bacon, red onion and garnished with cilantro. Sounds perfect for the Houston market. Along with some new pizza creations, there are lighter options like the strawberry-spinach or lemon-arugula salad and for dessert, blueberry and strawberry cheesecakes with fresh berries. There are also new beat-the-heat cocktails like Summertime Sangria and the Watermelon Mule, made with Ketel One vodka.

click to enlarge Dish Society is offering breakfast all day. - PHOTO BY KIMBERLY PARK
Dish Society is offering breakfast all day.
Photo by Kimberly Park

Dish Society
23501 Cinco Ranch
712 Main (Finn Hall)
12525 Memorial
5740 San Felipe
1050 Yale

All five locations of this farm to table local will now offer selected breakfast items all day. Dishes like Brisket 'n Eggs ($14) and Nutella French Toast ($10.95) can be ordered when the mood strikes. Chicken and biscuits ($12) are yummy at any time of day, but there's also the Traditional Breakfast ($9.50) and buttermilk pancakes ($3.75/6.75). Remember when your parents served pancakes for dinner? That was awesome! Now, you can relive your childhood and add an adult beverage like a bromosa or sangria. Growing up has its perks.

click to enlarge The Roastery Benedict will tempt crawfish fans. - PHOTO BY LISA GOCHMAN
The Roastery Benedict will tempt crawfish fans.
Photo by Lisa Gochman
The Roastery Coffee Kitchen
5895 San Felipe

The coffee bar and cafe from Four J, the team of acclaimed Houston chefs Jason Giagrande, Jonathan Waxman, Jimmy Bradley and Joey Campanaro has been expanding across Houston with 3 locations with its San Felipe flagship store being its most recent. Now, the San Felipe location is launching a weekend brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  There are unique offerings like grapefruit brulee with mint and melon salad ($6) and posole ($13) plus standard breakfast favorites such as the Good Morning with 2 eggs any style, bacon or sausage, crispy potatoes and Texas toast.

click to enlarge We 'speck you'll like the Speck pizza at The Roastery. - PHOTO BY LISA GOCHMAN
We 'speck you'll like the Speck pizza at The Roastery.
Photo by Lisa Gochman
For those who like lunch in their brunch, there are four pizza options, including the Wild Boar Sausage pizza ($15) with broccoli rabe and mushrooms and the Speck ($14), with smoked prosciutto, cherry peppers and mozzarella, topped with a fried egg. There's also the Roastery Burger ($16) with Hooks 5-year cheddar, onions, house pickles, aioli, handcut-bacon, served with a choice of chips, fries or salad.

The Roastery Benedict ($13) switches up the traditional egg dish with a crawfish hollandaise and tasso ham. The Bread Pudding French Toast ($10) has lemon curd and fresh berries for an additional pop of flavor.
click to enlarge PHOTO BY DUC HOANG
Photo by Duc Hoang
Le Colonial
4444 Westheimer

Le Colonial is launching a new summer menu June 26. Light, flavorful dishes such as sui cao tom hap (steamed shrimp and chive dumplings) and sup ca chua mua (chilled tomato soup with charred octopus-dinner only) are refreshing additions. There are heartier plates like vit quay, a roasted duck half with pickled vegetables, tamarind ginger sauce with mushroom sticky rice plus ca hap, a dish of steamed bass filet, noodles, bok choy and shitake mushrooms in a light ginger-soy broth.

click to enlarge Sweet dreams are made of this. - PHOTO BY DUC HOANG
Sweet dreams are made of this.
Photo by Duc Hoang
There are also a couple of flavorful desserts including Kaffir lime and coconut panna cotta and a stunning coconut and pineapple cake.

Pepper Twins
1915 W. Gray

Lovers of the spicy Szechuan food at Pepper Twins now have some new summer specials to fuel their addiction. The Crystal Fermented Pork Belly options include fried rice, cauliflower, or steamed buns. And to sweeten the deal, there's a free dessert if you order one of the specials.

Twin Peaks
4537 Lomitas
12830 Northwest Freeway
11335 Katy Freeway
20931 Gulf Freeway
18310 Interstate 45

The sports bar has debuted a new Mexican-style lager, La Guera,  which is brewed at Twin Peaks Brewing Co. in Irving, Texas by brew manager Coty Bell. It's made with high-end corn to give it a touch of sweetness and it makes a great base for a Michelada. Look for specials on 22 ounce drafts such as La Guera for $3.50 until July 7.

click to enlarge Church's Bourbon Chicken is back. - PHOTO BY MILLER ZELL
Church's Bourbon Chicken is back.
Photo by Miller Zell
Church's Chicken
multiple locations

Church's is bringing back its Bourbon Black Pepper Smokehouse Chicken due to the demand from its fans. It's a generous bone-in 1/2 chicken, marinated in a savory and smoky seasoning and deep fried without batter or breading. The chicken is then glazed with a sweet bourbon-kissed sauce and topped with cracked black pepper.

“Guests cannot get enough of Bourbon Black Pepper Smokehouse Chicken. They ask us for it all year round and always want to know when it will be back,” says Jennifer Chasteen, Vice President of Brand Strategy & Activation for Church’s Chicken. “It’s a unique, innovative flavor you can find only at Church’s and the demand is growing every year.”

From now to August 21, 2019, it will be available at participating restaurants. Diners can order the 1/2 Bourbon Black Pepper Smokehouse Chicken for $5, which includes a regular side of mashed potatoes and a honey-butter biscuit. That's a deal.

Church's Chicken began in San Antonio in 1952 by George W. Church. It now has more than 1,500 locations worldwide in 23 countries. The stores located outside the United States are called "Texas Chicken". Armed with this little tidbit, you are ready to kick ass at any chicken-themed trivia game around town. You're welcome.
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Lorretta Ruggiero is a Houston Press freelance writer based in Cypress, Texas. She loves entertaining her family and friends with her food and sparkling wit. She is married to Classic Rock Bob and they have two exceptionally smart-aleck children.