Some downtown dwellers and office workers in Houston have settled into a sweet routine that works for Happy Hour, After School or both.
Young professionals and families can be seen toting backpacks, bowling shoes or luxe carryalls up a broad set of stairs that leads to a large, airy restaurant/bar called Pinstripes, located in Upper Kirby.
Then, depending on their inclination, they either head for a reserved spot in an adjoining game room with bowling alleys, great food and a relaxed vibe, or they stay put in the spacious open loft-style dining room that offers an extensive drink menu and hand-made American and Italian fare. (The food and drinks on the menu are also available in the game room.)
To be sure, you don’t have to bowl to love Pinstripes, but the option is always available and it sure was a popular choice on a recent weeknight. Did I mention diners can reserve a round or two of bocce, as well?
Even without the fun and games, Pinstripes is a worthy dining destination near upscale shops and salons, as well as condos and luxury apartments.
There are several creative wood-fired pizza and flat-bread options, including an amazing Prosciutto Fig option with gorgonzola and mascarpone spread. Sandwiches and salads are similarly tempting, with options ranging from an updated Prime Rib Dip, to combo plates that come with a house soup or salad.
I chose the Cast Iron Rib Eye Steak entrée with crispy potatoes, Brussels sprouts, rosemary and (yes!) whole cloves of roasted garlic, a generous amount of food that delivered a wonderful combination of sweet/savory flavors.
My companion ordered the Italian “Jambalaya” which, rather than pretending to have Cajun aspirations, instead offered a swoon-worthy blend of spicy chicken, grilled shrimp, risotto, sausage and roasted peppers.
We couldn’t help but noticing the many plates of Tenderloin Sliders piled high on a plate, headed for bowlers. The sliders are accompanied by truffle potato strings, shallot mayo and a bordelaise sauce, and of course go great with the rotating selection of local craft beers.
Pinstripes offers seasonal specials in rotation, and popular Saturday and Sunday Brunches (10am-3pm and 10am-2pm, respectively) that regularly draw crowds and an outdoor terrace complete with fire pit, for al fresco dining.
The drinks menu contains extensive wine and cocktail options, as well as an always excellent selection of craft beers.
There are more gluten-free options (pizza crust, pasta and beer) available at Pinstripes than at most restaurants, and a great kids’ menu includes a starter, entrée, drink and dessert for $10. It’s also available for kids’ and adults’ birthday parties and other special occasions and is an awesome destination for large groups, given the spaciousness.
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Cover photo courtesy Pinstripes