Good upscale restaurants near Texas Medical Center?
Some Houston friends of ours have a very sick child, and they are spending a lot of time at Texas Children's Hospital. We would like to get them a gift certificate for a delicious and nice dinner someplace not terribly far from the hospital. Unfortunately, I don't know their food tastes, but we would like to treat them to a very very good meal -- I suppose something with a broad menu or widespread appeal, i.e. French, Italian, etc., might be safest. I do not know Houston at all, so any recommendations would be much appreciated. Thanks for any help you can give.
While it has been a few years, I did like Trevisio. It has a very nice dining room with panoramic views of the medical center. Here is the website:
Another restaurant which recently opened in the newly built Zaza hotel is Monarch restaurant. Here is the website for the hotel:
Both restaurants fit your criteria. They are the 2 nicest restaurants within close proximity of the medical center.
I am sorry to hear of your friend’s child’s illness. This is very thoughtful of you. In addition to the two already mentioned you might consider Brennan’s of Houston, a long established Creole restaurant affiliated with both Brennan’s and Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. It’s only a few blocks further than ZaZa:
All of these are very pricy in addition to being very good. Are your friends spending all their time at the hospital? I think in that situation, God forbid, I would feel a little guilty about pampering myself so. For some more modestly priced eateries you might consider
both in The Village, about a mile from the Med Center. Both have long hours and good food. It would be easy to pick something up there and take back to the hospital perhaps to share with the child, especially some treat from the Ruggles bakery.
There are many other good restaurants in the Village but they tend to be specialty cuisine - Thai, Indian, Turkish, etc.
We usually don’t recommend chains on Chowhound but given the circumstances I will mention two that might fit the bill:
Both have multiple locations, some near the Med Center, with different food specialties and are above average for chains. A gift certificate to one of them would allow your friends to select whatever appeals to them. Since your friends are Houstonians they will be familiar with these.
Have you thought of a gift basket? Groceries and treats, with something to share with the child and something to take home if they’re too tired to shop or cook? Rice Epicurean has a location just half a mile from the hospital and I know they do delivery since my neighbor gets goodies from there all the time and I presume it’d be okay to have something delivered to the hospital.
Select the location on Holcombe Blvd.
You have gotten some good suggestions, such as Trevisio, Brennan's and Hotel Zaza. Other possibilities in the Midtown area (which is not too far away and is between the Med Center and Downtown) are t'afia (http://www.tafia.com/), REEF (http://www.reefhouston.com/), and Ibiza (http://www.ibizafoodandwinebar.com/ib...). They all have excellent food and atmosphere, and might at least briefly help your friends take a break from a very difficult time. If I had to pick just one place, it would be Brennan's - an old reliable that is in a class of its own.
i second the vote for brennan's.
my next choice would be pappas b/c the wide variety of options they would have. they could go to pappas bros. steakhouse for a very upscale dinner, or they could opt for something casual like pappasito's or pappadeaux.
in my experience, after spending all day in a hospital day in and day out, they might not want to deal with getting dressed up for a 1.5 hour dinner. but you would know them better.
Brennans would be a nice choice I might even suggest sunday jazz brunch there? Its a great brunch atmosphere and Brennans happens to make great cocktails too.
Cafe Rebelaise is a favortie french place of mine. It is pretty cramped but the food and wine are very good.
Lexington Grill is old school nice solid food in a comfortable setting. If your friends need to relax this would be a great choice.