Special atmosphere in Houston
I have to host a dinner in Houston next May and am traveling to the city next week to look for suitable venues.
It is for a dinner for about 30 people in a setting that is within reasonable access to the convention centre but has good food, a warm atmosphere and maybe something unique to either Houston, Texas or the area in general.
What shouldn't I miss?
The idea is a little old-fashioned, but I've done a couple of events at the Spindletop restaurant at the Hyatt. It revolves, so you get the view of the Houston skyline. The food is not wildly creative, but it has always been very well prepared, and their staff has done a good job. To do the BIG Houston thing for a group from overseas, I rented a stretch Hummer (you'd need 2) for transportation. It was really fun! I arrange lots of corporate events downtown, so if you'll give more details about your needs, I could throw out some more ideas.
I hosted a dinner last night at Pappas Steakhouse/Westheimer for 35.. Now, this restaurant is no where near the convention center but worth renting a couple of shuttle buses to get you in the galleria area for a terrific meal, service and venue. The seperate side room can easily accommadate 40, is isolated from noise and foot traffic. The room allows for pwr point presentations and is a/v friendly. Warmly lit with a very comfy feel, the staff is terrific to work with.
Closer to town and b/c of the #'s u r trying to serve, u could try similiar digs at Vic and Anthony's Steakhouse, Quattro in The Four Seasons, or the nearby Hilton Hotel.. The Grove,, operated by an award winning chef (you either like him or not) might also fill the bill.
It's the number's and location that may limit your choices as Mex(Hugo's) or Tex Mex (El Tiempo) would be a natural go-to here for local flare.
If you're willing to do a little bit of a drive (not too far from DT), I'd look into Ouisie's Table http://www.ouisiestable.com/rooms.html . It's a Houston institution known for lovely food and lovely, warm hospitality. They have private rooms suitable for your group. Staying right downtown doesn't give you a huge number of options outside of hotels (which aren't that interesting). Brennan's is downtown, and is wonderful, but it might go over budget with wine. You could discuss your options with them. Sambuca Jazz Cafe has done a great job for me on more casual events. You can use a space upstairs, but it's more like cocktails and appetizers. My groups seem to really enjoy it, though. Kind of depends on how much formality you want, if the group is friends or strangers, etc. Plenty of interesting options in mid-town, where more of our best restaurants are located.
3939 San Felipe Road, Houston, TX 77027
909 Texas St Ste 106, Houston, TX 77002