Few local restaurants have the capacity to keep surprising even loyal fans. Yet Houston’s groundbreaking nose-to-tail restaurant does exactly that with its constantly revolving menu, wowing the adventurous with an unfamiliar species of Gulf fish; its roasted collar propped up like a Chardin still life; or coaxing pig cheeks into a strange delight called Bath Chaps. Co-chefs James Silk and Richard Knight weave enough comforts into their archival British and European repertoire to soothe the cautious eater, too, from cassoulet to Cock-a-leekie, a splendidly creamy chicken dish. They have made the admirable (and locally rare) commitment to use only meats that have been humanely raised, and among their reliable staples are definitive versions of crispy pork belly and calf’s liver with bacon. The Old World wine list is both personal and affordable. Even the small touches are worth celebrating, from the house-made bread and the delightful chicken-skin cracklings, to the Exmoor Toasts of anchovy and clotted cream, one of Houston’s best bites. Silk’s wife, Meghan, runs the front of the friendly old Craftsman-style Montrose house with warmth and humor. In a world full of formulaic claptrap, there’s not a restaurant quite like it anywhere.
Entree price range: $$-$$$
Where: 219 Westheimer Road
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