Visiting Rice Univ - where to eat?
My son just got accepted at Rice and we're visiting in a few days to check out the campus. He loves good food and we'd love some suggestions for where to eat. Places closest to Rice are of most interest but we also want to venture further afield. We're especially interested in those typically Texas type places - the kinds of places you just wouldn't find in NYC, where we live. Thanks for any suggestions.
Congrats to your family. In Rice Village cAfe Jadeite (good french but no reservations so it will be a wait) or Prego. Go to breakfast at Buffalo Grille and have migas or anything. RIght now is the start of crawfish season so if you want a seasonal and casual fun scene go somewhere like Ragin Cajun on Richmond and have boiled crawfish. People have varying opinions, but I take East Coast and CA friends to Hugos for sort of interior/upscale Mexican and Reef for Gulf Coast style seafood (chef has won a lot of awards) and there is a newer place on the scene called Stella Sola (actually same chef as Reef and was recently written up in nYT, so make reservtions) that refers to itself as Texas Tuscan and I think is very good. RDG Bar Annie is the new opening of Robert del Grande who is a famous Texas chef with some Latin influence, that is great, too. That is the most Texas-specific ideas. If you want BBQ or Mexican specific places, check on the thread. There is great Asian here, but being from NYC, probably nothing different from what you can find there.
1301 S Voss Rd, Houston, TX 77057
2520 Amherst St, Houston, TX 77005
1001 Studewood, Houston, TX 77008
I prefer Mardi Gras Grill over Ragin Cajun, in fact I just got back from there a few minutes ago. While crawfish, like bbq is subjective, Mardi Gras' other dishes set them a part, such as standout fried oysters, and a poached oyster dish in wine and butter, Oysters Louisanne. Your son must become aquainted with boiled crawfish, very much a SE Texas dish, if he is to become assimilated with the locals. Also near off Durham/Shepherd is El Tiempo for great TexMex, try anything with crab, I prefer the nachos, beans on the side. They also have really good margaritas. Another fifteen minutes north off Shepherd and Crosstimbers is a throwback from '50's Texas in Barbeque Inn. Think fried food here instead of bbq. Fried chicken, made fresh, oysters, shrimp, and chicken fried steak, gravy on the side for me, are as good as anywhere in the city. For bbq, I'd go to Pierson's on TC Jester, maybe a 30 minute ride.
Mardi Gras Grill
1200 Durham, Houston, TX 77007
Rice is located near the Medical Center, the Village, West University Place, Montrose and Midtown. We've had several threads about eating in those neighborhoods lately. Here's one recently about the zoo in which I posted a link to a website listing eateries in the Village, just west of Rice http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/687681
Look for the other threads mentioning the other neighborhoods. I agree with James on Pierson and Co. Also don't find Ragin' Cajun very good but haven't been to Mardi Gras. There are lots of cajun and Tex-Cajun places here to choose from. My favorite place in the Village is Istanbul Grill. Kahn's used to be a great deli but has changed hands. Ruggles Bakery in the Village serves pretty food and is highly regarded for baked goods I think but not very impressive otherwise.
In Midtown is a small and declining group of VIetnamese restaurants in an area known as Little Saigon. Houston's Chinatown is huge and is about half Chinese, half Viet, and is on the far west side.
Near Rice along Kirby, the western boundary of the Village, is Goode Co. BbQ. It may well be better than anything where you're from but it isn't highly regarded by hounds and bbq fanatics locally.
If you son is a foodie he'll need a car or a friend with one - Houston is huge and very spread out and no neighborhood has a monopoly on great restaurants. He'll want to become familiar with this site http://www.b4-u-eat.com/ Reviews are not very reliable but it'll help find what's out there and where it is.
Here's another recent thread that may help http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/695779 It's about vegetarian but as is pointed out there are lots of non vegetarian places that will accomodate special requests. Some of the very best and amost notable restaurants in Houston are along lower Westheimer in the Montrose including Hugo's, Da Marco and Feast.