THE HEIGHTS IS HOT
The Time is Ripe to Hit a Breezy Patio and Grab a Bite in the Burgeoning Heights Neighborhood
By Robin Barr Sussman
The Heights, a quiet, family-friendly residential hub dotted with charming Victorian homes and boasting its own town square, is exploding with new eateries. Most restaurants and bars are “mom-and-pops” offering a wide net of culinary concepts designed for the neighborhood’s mixed demographics. We don’t have room to mention them all, but here’s a start. Dig in!
BCK KITCHEN AND COCKTAIL ADVENTURES
From the group behind BCK Kitchen comes this kid-friendly modern diner serving nostalgic eats and drinks in the former Glass Wall space. Deep booths and antiques sourced from the area have redefined the look as retro. Childhood faves include a giant Shake ‘n’ Bake® pork chop, burgers with “secret sauce” and strawberry shortcake ice cream with shortbread crumbles, a la Good Humor Bar.
933 Studewood, 832-831-7155, www.eatatbck.com
EIGHT ROW FLINT
It’s the newest concept to join Agricole Hospitality’s Heights pioneers Revival Market and Coltivare —an icehouse featuring tacos, bourbon, amazing frozen margaritas, and homemade chips and guacamole. Come for the grub but stay for the live music and occasional demo cookout on the wraparound patio.
1039 Yale, 832-767-4002, www.agricolehospitality.com/eight-row-flint
HELEN GREEK FOOD & WINE
What started as Arthur Ave soon morphed into a second location for the original Greek taverna in Rice Village. The sophisticated menu proffers variations on classics like gyros, pastitsio and moussaka, along with fish specials and an all-Greek wine list. Exposed brick, dim lighting and a tiny patio create a cozy aura.
1111 Studewood, 832-582-7146, www.helengreek.com
Benjy Levit’s popular counter-serve outposts, including this newcomer in the Heights, sport patios and dish out creative, contemporary fare. Crunchy chicken sandwich, avocado toast, truffle egg salad and harvest salad are a few greatest hits on the all-day menu.
714 Yale, 713-360-6133, www.houstonlocalfoods.com
Can’t make it to the Heights? Local Foods also has locations in the Village, Upper Kirby, Tanglewood and downtown.
Owner “Buffalo” Sean Carroll has stored away his portable crepe stand and opened his first brick-and mortar in the new Mercantile Center. Expect sweet and savory French-inspired crepes, plus creative weekly specials and rotating salads. Pull up a chair on the pint size patio adjacent to the second Cloud 9 Creamery.
711 Heights, 713-393-7578, www.houstoncrepes.com
POSTINO WINE CAFE
Another worthy newcomer to the Mercantile Center is this slick wine bar from Phoenix. With a full flavored menu, an edgy vibe and an inviting patio in a repurposed building, expect competition for a table. The wine list is unique yet approachable, plus beer also is served. Don’t miss the loaded bruschetta, creative chef boards (the pub board has soft pretzels, aged Cheddar and more) and happy hour.
642 Yale, 346-223-1111, www.postinowinecafe.com
Lauded Atlanta chef-restaurateur (who also owns State of Grace in Houston) is opening side-by-side concepts in the shuttered Hunky Dory/Bernandine’s space. Superica is a Tex-Mex spot serving classics like tamales, tacos and queso. La Lucha pays homage to Fry’s childhood favorite, the San Jacinto Inn. Expect Gulf oysters, fried chicken and shrimp along with a full bar, patio seating and lawn bowling.
1801 North Shepherd, www.superica.com
THE CLASSIC ALL DAY
The former Benjy’s spot on Washington near Memorial Park has been rechristened a bustling modern diner serving upgrades on classics. For breakfast, don’t miss the Baby Dutch pancake with fresh fruit. Small plates to consider include cucumber melon with crab and Thai chili or mains of grilled cheese sandwiches, smoked salmon platter, and bucatini pasta with pork sausage.
5922 Washington, 713-868-1131, www.theclassicallday.com
Grilled Salmon With Japanese-Style Marinated Cucumbers
This luscious yet healthy grilled salmon recipe was inspired by one of the dinner specials at Local Foods. It’s impressive but so easy to make — you can even prepare the cucumber salad a day ahead — and beautiful to serve.
2 large English cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
4 6-ounce wild salmon filets (½-1 inch thick)
salt and ground black pepper to taste
To make the cucumber salad, add salt, sugar, soy and rice vinegar to a large bowl and stir until sugar dissolves. Add cucumbers and toss gently. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Heat the grill to medium high. Coat the fish filets with olive oil and season to taste with salt and ground pepper. Place the fish with the skin side down on an oiled grill or in a fish basket to cook. Grill for about six minutes per side or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
Yield: Four servings