2012 Tasted Good: The Best New Restaurants That Opened In Houston

December 26, 2012 7:00 AM

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(credit: lolivierhouston.com)

(credit: lolivierhouston.com)

It’s been quite a year on the Houston restaurant scene. Restaurants opened their doors to wow diners with their chefs’ flavorful takes on familiar and unheard-of dishes. While many restaurants made their premiers, only a handful can be considered among the best 2012 had to offer. To ring in the new year, visit some of the best last year had to offer.
Oxheart (credit: Oxheart/Facebook)

(credit: Oxheart/Facebook)

Oxheart
1302 Nance St.
Houston, TX 77002
(832) 830-8592
oxhearthouston.com

Oxheart, which opened in March of 2012, bills itself as a new American restaurant that serves progressive dishes with their roots in local food. Chef Justin Yu draws from his international experience to bring innovative foods to Oxheart. Its cuisine features a selection of dishes served on its set of three tasting menus that change with the seasons. In the past, the restaurant has served sunflower seed soup, steamed Gulf sand trout and ice cream spiced with elderflower and persimmon. The chef’s whims and the available produce dictate exactly what will be included on the three menus served on any given night. 

Related: Best Tasting Menus in Houston

Uchi
904 Westheimer Road
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 522-4808
uchirestaurants.com/

Uchi was one of the most-anticipated restaurant openings when it greeted its first guests in February, due to the success of its sister restaurant in Austin, also called Uchi. Chef Tyson Cole was awarded the James Beard Award for the best Southwest chef in 2011, and he continues his career of excellence at Uchi. The restaurant specializes in Japanese cuisine and sushi with a twist. Try tasty dishes such as semifreddo with peanut butter flavor, sushi and sashimi of all kinds and a tasting menu featuring salads, soups, and warm and chilled items. Due to Uchi’s popularity, reservations are highly recommended, but they are not required.
(credit: underbellyhouston.com)

(credit: underbellyhouston.com)

Underbelly
1100 Westheimer Road
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 528-9800
www.underbellyhouston.com

In March 2012, Underbelly opened its doors as a testament to the variety of culinary flavors found within Houston. Chef Chris Shepherd’s idea was to create a restaurant that was a love letter to the city. Houston’s ethnic diversity and long growing season mean there is no lack of inspiration for chef Shepherd to draw from for his ever-changing menus at Underbelly. Seasonal fare and interesting flavor combinations are the hallmarks of Underbelly’s cuisine.

Guru Burgers and Crepes
2268 Texas Drive
Sugar Land, TX 77479
(281) 313-0026
www.gurukitchen.com

Hamburgers and crepes seem an odd pairing, but not if you visit Guru Burgers and Crepes in Sugar Land. Just minutes from downtown Houston, Guru opened in May of this year. As the name suggests, the restaurant serves burgers and crepes. The menu is packed with dishes made from all-natural ingredients, including natural, hormone-free meats used for flavorful burgers. If you visit, be sure to try the beet chips. You will never look at the red root vegetable the same way again. Add one of the many craft beers served at Guru to round out your meal.  

Related: Best Burgers in Houston

(credit: lolivierhouston.com)

(credit: lolivierhouston.com)

L’Olivier Restaurant and Bar
240 Westheimer Road
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 360-6313
lolivierhouston.com

Opened in April of 2012, L’Olivier is the individual venture of former Tony’s chef Olivier Ciesielski to serve European favorites with an American accent. Many of the dishes, including roasted chicken or boeuf bourguignon, have a French flair, hearkening to the chef’s birthplace. Other dishes, like the tuna steaks with Asian sauce, draw flavors from around the world. This is a place for simple, flavorful food served in an elegant atmosphere.
 

Crystal Hessong ia a freelance writer and a lifelong, fourth generation Houstonian. She is currently covering Home & Life. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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