Houston’s wide range of restaurants ensures that diners never get bored. To get the best sense of a restaurant without ordering several large entrees, consider those places in Houston that offer tasting menus. These feature various dishes the restaurant makes in portions just large enough to tantalize your taste buds. Take some time to explore the tasting menus of Houston for a sample of some of the best dishes in town.
1302 Nance St
Houston, TX 77002
Price: $49 for four-course menu; $75 for seven-course menu
Oxheart is one of the newer restaurants to hit the Houston scene. Chef Justin Yu specializes in using local products to create progressive dishes. The list of dishes served on each of the tasting menus change frequently but each are delicious, including the vegetarian option. Some previous dishes served include barley and sunflower seed stew, purple broccoli, vine beans, brandade of gulf hake and a peach and mulberry tart with lemon thyme. All products at Oxheart are locally sourced. Produce comes from the Three Sisters Farm in Needville and meats are from Revival Meat in Yoakum.
3701 Travis St
Houston, TX 77002
Price: $50 for five-course menu; $70 for five-course menu with wine
Located in Mid-town, chef Monica Pope’s t’afia has been providing Houston with food made from locally grown produce that changes with the seasons. This creates an ever-fluctuating restaurant with an evolving menu. The tasting menu is chosen from the various dish offerings listed on the restaurant’s menu. Many of the options for the tasting menu can be found at the lounge as some of the best bar treats in Houston. Since the menu changes so often, you may not have the same dining experience twice at t’afia. However, some dishes that have appeared in the past include chicken soup with red rice, chocolate bread pudding, chicken confit, winter slaw and mushroom dumplings.
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4100 Westheimer Road
Houston, TX 77027
Price: Varies with changing menus
For a taste of Indian with an American twist, try Kiran’s tasting menu. The dishes and number of courses on the menu can vary depending on the time of year and chef Kiran’s whims. However, you can constantly expect the tasting menus to be paired with wines from Kiran’s extensive wine collection at the restaurant that ranks as one of the most well-stocked supplies in the city. Some of the dishes previously featured on the tasting menu included tandoori sea bass with mango chutney, apricot biryani, a trio of crème brulee featuring saffron, pistachio and cardamom flavors, a soup flight with goat cheese naan and a crab cake with vindaloo aioli.
Related: Best Vegetarian Spots In Houston
1400 Eldridge Parkway
Houston, TX 77077
Price: $55 for four-course tasting menu
There are not many French restaurants in Houston, but Le Mistral stands out from the crowd of all cuisines. Its tasting menu consists of four courses, but its availability may vary. Call ahead to see if the menu is being offered on the day you wish to visit. Previous featured dishes include eggplant galette, foie gras and smoked duck breast terrine with fig puree and black-olive-crusted rack of lamb. What better way is there to get run the gamut of French cuisine?
415 Westheimer Road
Houston, TX 77006
Price: $55 for three-course menu; $65 for four-course menu; $75 for five-course menu
Wild mushroom and sage ravioli with white truffle oil and double lamb chop stuffed with goat cheese are just two of the dishes that have appeared on the three “sample menus,” as Sorrento calls its tasting menus. These menus are available as three-, four- or five-course meals, however any wine is extra. If you have a party of four or more, you can sample a $100-per-person wine dinner that features samples of the chef’s best dishes at this Italian hot spot along with his choice of the best accompanying wines.
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.