The Houston food scene has been growing so quickly in recent years that it’s almost impossible to keep up. Case in point, when Relish Restaurant and Bar debuted in Upper Kirby in October 2016, I heard about it. Sadly, I never made it in. And, because it’s been sitting there quietly, a bit back from the main street where it’s virtually hidden unless you’re looking for it, I drove by it frequently without getting that “you need to visit this place” visual trigger I might have gotten had it been more prominently situated.
So it wasn’t until recently that I stepped foot through its doors, kicking myself mentally for waiting so long. Because the space is adorable. And the fact that it’s locally owned — by husband and wife team Addie and Dustin Teague — made me wish, even more so, that I’d made it in sooner.
But never mind that, let’s talk about their new happy hour menu, which is one of the most flexible, extensive and affordably priced menus I've encountered in a long time.
Offered from Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., one of the most remarkable things about this happy hour is that all cocktails and draft beers are half off, with select wines by the glass for $6. With most cocktails regularly priced between $10 and $12, and drafts priced at $6, that chops the prices down to $5, $6 and $3, respectively, making it all too easy to indulge in a drink or two or three. Add in the food specials, offered from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.on those same days, and that's plenty of motivation to get you out of your office just a little bit earlier.
Eyeballing the menu, I ordered the Frozen Salty Dog to start, a frozen cocktail made of Deep Eddy Grapefruit Vodka, Aperol, rosemary and jalapeno shrub. Slightly spicy, refreshingly cold, with a hint of salt to keep things interesting, the peach-colored slush seemed custom-designed for Houston’s sweltering heat, and I loved it.
For snacks, our group tried a bit of everything. A chef’d up version of chips and dip featuring a caramelized onion dip hit the table first. Served on a large wooden board, the dip was creamy and slightly sweet, and at $4, a steal for what we got.
Individual deviled egg halves, topped with horseradish, crispy fried chicken and maple drizzle and priced at $1 each (pictured at top), were tasty one-bite wonders. You’ll want at least two.
I really enjoyed the healthful, seasonal snack options like the whole grilled artichoke with fresh herbs and a lemon aioli dip ($7); and the summer melon and prosciutto ($4) drizzled with drops of condensed balsamic-like saba, with fresh basil — both of which I’d happily order again.
A smoked beef carpaccio ($6), made of thinly sliced tenderloin dressed with capers, parmesan, whole grain mustard, arugula and lemon was just as good as anything you’d get at a swanky steak restaurant at a fraction of steakhouse prices.
Because happy hour isn’t really happy hour unless you’re munching on chicken wings, we got a compulsory order of grilled dijon wings. Served with tarragon ranch dressing and crispy celery sticks, the wings were a step above what would normally classify as bar food, with a finger-licking savory glaze.
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Along the way, my companions ordered another round of drinks, which included an Instagram-worthy Strawberry Spritz served in a champagne flute and garnished with a lemon twist; and a gorgeous Lavender Sour made of Ford’s Gin, Saint Germain elderflower liqueur, lavender and egg white.
Other dishes on the happy hour menu, which we didn’t get around to ordering, were the chilled tomato gazpacho, peach bruschetta, kale salad, classic burger, and cheese and charcuterie board. With the exception of the cheese and charcuterie board, none of the dishes were priced higher than $7 — the perfect excuse to try out this restaurant if you haven’t yet done so. It's such a cute place, you might even want to stay for dinner.
Relish Restaurant and Bar is located at 2810 Westheimer Road, and is open Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and is closed Sunday. For more information, visit www.relishhouston.com.