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This Week in Houston Food Events: There's a New Hot Chicken Sandwich in Town

Chef Beto Gutierrez takes on Nashville’s hot chicken sandwich at The Tasting Room and Max’s Wine Dive.
Chef Beto Gutierrez takes on Nashville’s hot chicken sandwich at The Tasting Room and Max’s Wine Dive. Photo by Becca Wright
Here's a look at this week's hottest culinary happenings:


Crawfish Tuesdays at UB Preserv

UBP, 1609 Westheimer, is now open on Tuesdays, serving crawfish and only crawfish and rotating flavors throughout the season.

Thursday, April 29

Willie Nelson’s 88th Birthday at Eight Row Flint

Join a Willie Nelson look-alike contest, jam out to a Willie Nelson cover band (5 to 9 p.m.) and enjoy drink specials all day at Eight Row Flint, 1039 Yale.

Gary Farrell Wine Dinner at Del Frisco’s Grille

Del Frisco’s Grille is offering a Gary Farrell Wine Dinner at 7 p.m., offering in-restaurant or virtually and featuring a four-course dinner paired with hand-picked Gary Farrell Wines. Highlights include chilled lobster cocktail, Chilean sea bass with spring vegetable ragu, prime NY strip with Pinot and roasted grape butter and chocolate pecan torte with raspberry coulis. Tickets are now on sale for $125 per guest for the in-person dinner or $190 per couple for virtual dinner.

NFL Draft Party at Pluckers Wing Bar

Pluckers Wing Bar will be hosting a NFL Draft Party at all Texas locations. Each will select specific guests to act as a “general manager” for an NFL team in the first round, tasked with guessing who his or her team will draft. If the guess is correct, everyone at that Pluckers location will be eligible for an incredible food or drink special, available only until the next team’s pick. Everyone in attendance at the end of the draft who arrived before the tenth pick is eligible to win a $25 gift card.

Friday and Saturday

Maker’s Mark Derby Day Brunch and specials at Backstreet Cafe

Guests can enjoy a Maker’s Mark Derby Day brunch on Saturday, May 1 as well as drink and takeout specials from Backstreet Cafe, 1103 South Shepherd. Those watching the race at home can get Kentucky Derby Julep and Snack Kits for Two ($60), available Friday, April 30 and Saturday, May 1.; and $10 Maker’s Mark cocktail flights will be available both dine-in and to-go on Saturday, May 1. The Maker’s Mark Derby Day brunch runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and features three courses and cocktail pairings for $45 per person. Enjoy choices such as bacon deviled eggs, fried green tomatoes with crawfish remoulade, Hugo’s hot chicken sandwich, five-spice smoked duck leg with savory bread pudding, wood-grilled whiskey salmon, spaghetti carbonara, and blackberry cobbler with Maker’s Mark bourbon ice cream. Call 713-521-2239 for reservations.

Friday through Sunday

Year of the Ox(tail) at Phat Eatery

After a successful run during last month’s Oxtailpalooza celebrating the Year of the Ox, guest requests have prompted chef Alex Au-Yeung to add oxtails back to the menu at Phat Eatery, 23119 Colonial Parkway. For a limited time, diners will be able to order the Curry Braised Oxtails as a weekend-only special from Friday evening through Sunday, starting April 30.

Saturday, May 1

Spring Wine Fest at Brenner’s on the Bayou

Brenner’s on the Bayou, 1 Birdsall, is welcoming back its signature Spring Wine Fest, held on the grounds from 1 to 5 p.m. Attendees can enjoy sips of exclusive wine from award-winning vineyards alongside light bites from seven Landry’s concepts in Brenner’s beautiful scenery, plus live music and a Kentucky Derby hat contest with prizes. The event is held rain or shine and tickets are $99 plus tax.

Derby Day at Julep

After a year of pivoting with the JulepToGo delivery model, Julep, 1919 Washington, is reopening with its annual Derby Day party on Saturday, May 1. From noon to 6 p.m., guests can enjoy drinks from four satellite bars, two main bars, mint julep carts, a spirit-free cocktail bar and the JulepToGo truck, plus special features including bbq and smoked oysters by Blood Brothers BBQ and Feges BBQ, a Topo Chico station and Spritz bar, lawn games and a live DJ set, t-shirt pop up by Vinyl Ranch and a live stream of the race. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. After the festivities, the bar will be open until 2 a.m. and the Derby Day menu will be available on both May 1 and 2.

Kentucky Derby Party at B.B. Lemon

Guests are invited to join B.B. Lemon, 1809 Washington, on its outdoor patio and lawn for a Kentucky Derby Party from 2 to 6 p.m. Enjoy tunes by DJ Mohawk Steve, Derby-inspired cocktails by Four Roses Bourbon and dishes to match, plus a hat contest with prizes, photo booth, live pony and more. Guests can view the race on a big screen or two outdoor TVs on the patio and two inside TVs at the bar. In addition to the food/drink specials, guests will also be able to order from the regular lunch/dinner menu. Reservations are recommended. Call 713-554-1809 or visit OpenTable.

“Big Hat” Party at Loch Bar

River Oaks District seafood tavern Loch Bar, 4444 Westheimer, will celebrate “Big Hat Weekend” with a “best hat” contest and several bourbon-inspired cocktail specials, benefitting local nonprofit Bo’s Place. Spirit features include a Maker’s Mark Flight with Maker's Mark, Maker's 46, Maker's Loch Bar Private Select and Marker's Cask Strength ($22), Loch Bar’s rendition of a Mint Julep and a Maker’s Gold Rush cocktail with an edible gold leaf (both cocktails available for $10 or you can upgrade to Loch’s Maker’s Loch Bar Private Select for an additional $5). The eatery will also offer Kentucky Hot Brown Sliders served open face ($16). Offers are available all day on Saturday.

Talk Derby To Me at The Rustic (Post Oak)

The Rustic’s Post Oak location, 1121 Uptown Park, is bringing the Kentucky Derby to Houston with its Talk Derby To Me soiree. Guests are invited to come early and stay late to enjoy live music, sip mint juleps and dig into Triple Crown sliders, and dress to impress in their finest Derby attire for a chance at prizes in three Best Dressed contests, judged by local celebrities. Contestants must be at The Rustic by 4 p.m. to enter the contest.

Saturday and Sunday

Clutch City Cluckers food truck, 5550 Val Verde, is introducing a new novelty brunch menu, kicking off Saturday, May 2 and available every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The new brunch menu takes popular chicken sandwiches and adds a breakfast twist. Get the Cheesy Egg, a fried egg atop a classic hot chicken sandwich with queso and sliced pickles on a brioche bun; the Cluck It Waffle, which ditches the traditional brioche bun and instead incorporates a fluffy Belgian waffle, slaw mix and sliced pickles; and the Flamin’ Waffle, made with chicken tenders, a homemade jalapeno infused maple syrup and two Belgian waffles.

All month long (April)

Houston Oyster Month

Guests are invited to join Brennan’s of Houston, Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House, Tobiuo Sushi & Bar and other local restaurants in supporting the Galveston Bay Foundation’s mission to preserve and protect local waters by participating in the inaugural Houston Oyster Month. The event allows diners to purchase a $50 Oyster Month Card that grants 20 percent off oyster dishes and other discounts at participating restaurants. At Brennan’s, enjoy a half dozen cold oysters on the half shell or Jimmy’s Grilled Oysters topped with Jalapeño cornbread crumbs and crushed seaweed flakes. Head to Pier 6 for fresh oysters on ice or grilled oyster creations, such as the classic Prestige Oysters or spicy Hot Blooded Oysters. Visit Tobiuo for creative, Japanese-inspired oyster dishes. You can also upgrade your support of Houston Oyster Month by purchasing a virtual cooking class with Pier 6 Executive Chef Joe Cervantez and adding a dozen fresh oysters and a bottle of wine.

Complimentary Kids Meals at select Galleria restaurants

Galleria restaurants including Blanco Tacos + Tequila, La Madeleine Country French Café, Peli Peli South African Kitchen, Poke Fresh and Shake Shack are currently offering free kids meals with the purchase of an adult entrée. Families simply need to mention the offer to redeem between now and May 31.

Fight Hunger. End Waste. with Second Servings

Local food rescue nonprofit Second Servings has created the inaugural "Fight Hunger. End Waste." food and beverage series, held during the month of April in honor of Stop Food Waste Day on April 28. Throughout the month, 15 of Houston’s favorite restaurants — including One Fifth, Local Foods, '93 Til, Roots Wine Bar, Hando, El Topo and more — will showcase a zero-waste dish or cocktail, each with a small donation attached to benefit Second Servings. For every dollar donated, $50 worth of food is delivered to a local charity through Second Servings’ food rescue efforts.

Kids Meals Inc. Fundraiser at Etoile Cuisine et Bar

Over at Etoile, 1101-11 Uptown Park, chef Philippe Verpiand has created two special prix fixe menus, one for dinner and one for weekend brunch, to raise funds for the restaurant’s charity of the month: For Kids Meals Inc. and its mission to end childhood hunger in Houston. The cost for this dinner is $65 per person plus tax and gratuity, with $7 going to charity; and the special brunch menu on Saturday and Sundays is three courses for $36 per person plus tax and gratuity, providing $4 to the program for each one sold.

Taco of the Month at Torchy’s Tacos

Torchy’s fan-favorite Scallywag Taco is back as April’s Taco of the Month. Available for $6.50, the Scallywag features coconut-battered shrimp, bacon, green chiles, freshly grated jack cheese, pickled onions and cilantro with scratch-made peach habanero jam on a flour tortilla.

click to enlarge Spring has sprung at Tobiuo Sushi & Bar. - PHOTO BY DRAGANA HARRIS
Spring has sprung at Tobiuo Sushi & Bar.
Photo by Dragana Harris
New and ongoing specials

New Spring Menu Items at Brennan’s of Houston

Brennan’s of Houston, 3300 Smith, has launched its new spring menu, with features including herb crusted Colorado lamb chops, grilled Gulf red fish on-the-half-shell with olive and roasted garlic tapenade, a muffaletta salad, crawfish Nantua and pork belly BLT with Creole fried oysters.

Spring Menu at Musaafer

Musaafer, 5115 Westheimer, introduced its new spring menu with 18 additions that celebrate local produce with the help of Blackwood Farm. Enjoy dishes such as the Morel featuring Blackwood Farm’s Malabar spinach – an ingredient typically native to India’s Himalayan region, housemade malai (cream), mushroom soil, spiced creamed cheese and a yogurt stones and granny smith compote garnish; a new take on the signature Butter Chicken Experience, Musaafer’s interpretation of the Northern Indian dish served two ways with a classic tomato sauce and Texas tomatillo sauce; and the Phirni, a classic rice pudding elevated with the use of fresh black pepper, rose cremeux, panchphoron apple compote, prune cereal bar and a Texas bluebonnet mist.

“Hot Chick” Sandwich at The Tasting Room and Max’s Wine Dive

Corporate executive chef Beto Gutierrez is bringing the heat with his own take on Nashville’s hot chicken sandwich, available at The Tasting Room, 818 Town and Country, and Max’s Wine Dive, 214 Fairview, 4720 Washington. Made with a spicy fried chicken breast, kale slaw, house pickles and lemon aioli on a brioche, the “Hot Chick” sandwich sells for $13 and comes with a side of fries (you can also add bacon for $3 and cheese for $2).

New Seasonal Menu at Tobiuo Sushi & Bar

Tobiuo, 23501 Cinco Ranch, is launching seasonal menu additions, from Midori melon and yuzu kosho wagyu tataki to poblano filet with allium soubise to a Thai tea tres leches. 
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Brooke Viggiano is a contributing writer who is always looking to share Houston's coolest and tastiest happenings with the Houston Press readers.
Contact: Brooke Viggiano