The Cordua family’s flagship restaurant, newly relocated to River Oaks, cements their status as the local restaurateurs who have bet big on stunning modern design, making it echo and reinforce their South American menus with considerable wit. The food is not as consistently impressive as it once was, but the high points show why the Cordua’s influence continues to be felt: butterflied churrasco steaks bathed in chimmichurri; miniature pulled-pork arepas; the clever corn-masa “fettucine” (tallarines) with lobster sauce and achiote grilled shrimp and little cob-smoked crab fingers. Desserts, including the landmark tres leches cake, continue to impress; and the stylized rainforest dining room is a source of pure Seuss-like delight. This restaurant could and should rank higher on the list.
Cuisine: South American
Entree price range: $$$-$$$$
River Oaks: 2040 W. Gray St., 832-200-1492
Woodlands: 21 Waterway Ave., 281-367-1492