If you are longing for a taste of New Orleans but are unable to plan a quick trip to the Big Easy, Brennan’s of Houston offers the transportive southwestern Creole culinary answer at the Houston landmark where fine dining is alive and well.
As the doors opened to the upscale Midtown restaurant, my family, including two elementary-age sons were ushered from the buzzing streets by the warm southern hospitality that has made the Brennan family a Houston mainstay for over 40 years.
As we gathered around our impeccable table, coiffed business professionals, young jet setters and families began filling the sun-drenched room. The New Orleans-style historic building designed like Vieux Carré (the French Quarter) has survived fires, tornadoes and hurricanes. Brennan’s of Houston’s wait staff, pressed white linens and shimmering chandeliers exude the longtime New Orleans tradition.
After a round of cucumber and basil cocktails and a few Roy Rogers, our waiter offered bourbon apple and pecan salad and the restaurant’s specialty, snapping turtle soup. Surprisingly, the 10-year-old devoured the mainstay. The second grader’s answer to the waiter’s offer was, “No thanks, I’m allergic to shellfish.”
The southern cast iron seared salmon dissolved on my taste buds in a wonderful maque choux of sautéed peppers, roasted sweet corn, charred tomatoes and sliced okra. We also enjoyed the cast iron ranch strip Lyonnaise over Boulangere potatoes, charred onions and baby spinach with garlic butter.
Brennan’s of Houston offers its guests a variety of alternative special events, including date night cooking classes, Big Easy Family Style dinners and cocktail parties. They even offer The Kitchen Table, which is the opportunity to sample a variety of foods at a private round table in the middle of the kitchen. In celebration of Thanksgiving, executive chef Danny Trace will share a three-course, price-fixed meal, including lobster-stuffed Texas flounder, Texas Creole roasted American turkey, Gulf Coast seafood gumbo, grilled oysters and cinnamon-spice pumpkin pie for $60 per person. For more details, visit brennanshouston.com/events/368/
After the sumptuous meal, we toured the kitchen and witnessed where the finely tuned machine creates the Brennan’s of Houston magic; the boys mixed a huge vat of turtle soup. Just when we thought the night was complete, our waiter invited the boys to assist in cooking our table’s banana foster dessert. We were treated to a tableside flambé of bananas with Puerto Rican rum and cinnamon served over vanilla bean ice cream, and the fifth grader was named the cinnamon sprinkler sous chef.
Brennan’s of Houston effortlessly merges rich, memorable flavors with its signature southern hospitality. Don’t miss the chance to experience it this year at Thanksgiving.
By Autumn Rhea Carpenter