When we think of French dining in Houston, the following three chefs should assuredly come to mind: David Denis, Jean-Philippe Guy and Philippe Schmit. David Denis has made a name for himself with his elegant Le Mistral Restaurant on the Energy Corridor, where big-name oil execs come to sample exquisitely prepared classic French cuisine with a flair.
Jean-Philippe Guy, whose father, Georges Guy, was one of the first French chefs to make a splash on the Houston culinary scene some 30 years ago, serves the Westside with rustic Provençal fare at the quaint and lovely Bistro Provence. Like his trendsetting father, he and wife Genevieve also started the first-ever French Gourmet food truck, L'es-Car-Go, earlier this year.
Perhaps most recognizable is Philippe Schmit, whose Philippe Restaurant + Lounge on Post Oak Boulevard opened last year to rave reviews and splashy headlines, and who was recently inducted into the elite ranks of the Maîtres Cuisiniers de France, or Master Chef of France.
Let's see where these French chefs eat around town when they have some time off out of the kitchen.
Standard go-to: I love to visit my good friend Executive Chef Maurizio at Quattro in the Four Seasons Hotel downtown. He and I are good friends, and I think he's a great Italian chef. I always order the branzino filet -- it's to die for.
Favorite cheap-eats: Well, you've got to keep in mind that I have two kids, two restaurants and a bakery, so I don't get to go out too much these days. But when I do, I often go to Las Ventanas, which is not very far from where I live. I love authentic Mexican food, and this restaurant has a fine-dining feel but is also kid-friendly.
Happy hour: The Yard House in CityCenter. It is a casual bar perfect for happy hour. They have a great selection of imported beer and delicious fish and chips. It's a friendly crowd and a good hang-out. Jean-Philippe Guy Chef/Owner of Bistro Provence and L'es-Car-Go Food Truck
Standard go-to: RDG + Bar Annie is, by far, my favorite restaurant. I have never been disappointed with the food or the service. I usually eat the braised rabbit, which is packed with flavors, and will start with their foie gras.
Cheap eats: Rattan Asian Bistro in the Energy Corridor. We usually start with sushi rolls and a couple of their great appetizers. Will follow with one of their many great main courses. The spicier the better!
Food truck: We just discovered Kurbside Eatz food truck, and it has amazing food. Very intense flavors such as their taco with Asian spiced beef, or pork belly taco. Will hunt them down whenever I can!
Philippe Schmit Chef/Owner of Philippe Restaurant + Lounge
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Standard go-to: My favorite restaurant is Triniti. I like to order a drink at the bar, and then I ask Fred Zennati for a booth to have dinner. I usually order something with fish, and then any chocolate dessert from Jose is always delicious! My other go-to place is Starbucks. I'm completely anonymous there. I enjoy sipping a venti cappuccino while I write recipes and read the newspaper.
Cheap eats: Little Bigs. The classic beef sliders are always prepared perfectly. I get a side of French fries and their fabulous coffee milkshake they are known for to top it off.
Late night and drinks: Sometimes I have late-night drinks at Hotal Zaza. I love their Mojitos and tuna tartare. I recently went to Prohibition; I loved their artichoke and pesto pizza and Blake's great cocktails.
If you missed our previous posts, click below to see more of Where the Chefs Eat:
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- Brandi Key, Monica Pope, Jamie Zelko