Amidst social distancing guidelines, The Houstonian Hotel’s TRIBUTE restaurant delivers not only safety and service but also delicious food.
Pass through the front doors of The Houstonian Hotel, and you will be greeted by a warm smile and a request to take your temperature. These procedures are the new norm for many hotels across the country as health and safety become a priority. Amid the pandemic, The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa took their role as a leader in Houston’s hospitality industry seriously and created an in-house guide of sanitation protocols that meet or exceed the CDC’s guidelines to ensure the health of everyone on the property.
After the formality of a short health questionnaire and temperature check, guests receive a bracelet indicating they have completed the health screening and are free to move about the lush 27-acre property.
If you’re headed to the hotel’s restaurant, TRIBUTE, you won’t have to go far – it is located right off the main lobby. The tables in the restaurant are spaced at least 6 feet apart, and all the staff inside the restaurant are wearing gloves and masks. Again, it takes a minute to get used to, but the team at TRIBUTE goes out of their way to make guests feel comfortable.
Guests will fee even more comfortable with a drink in hand. The TRIBUTE Margarita or the Del Maguey Vida Mezcal are both new additions to the summer cocktail lineup and are good places to start.
Refreshing and potent, the drinks are a perfect way to segue into the menu, which celebrates regional favorites from Texas, Louisiana and Mexico. The (disposable) menu has brief histories on several of the restaurant’s regional dishes. It also notes local farmers, ranchers and seafood purveyors whose products make the summer menu sing with fresh authenticity.
A meal at TRIBUTE wouldn’t be complete without their signature appetizers – Wood-Fired Gulf Oysters or Smoked Blue Crab Claws. Both dishes are buttery packages of Gulf Coast seafood at its finest with just the right amount of flavor from the wood-fired grill. New to the summer menu is the Enchiladas Veganas stuffed with cauliflower and potato, and topped with avocado crema and house-made salsa roja. Who needs meat or cheese? These enchiladas are a refreshing break from typically heavy Tex-Mex fare. Rocky Mountain Lamb Chops, with lamb shoulder birria, are also a great choice and new to the menu. Served with smoked tomato and seasoned with oregano and lime, they are sure to be a seasonal favorite.
Linger over dessert and take in the restaurant’s view of the century-old Live Oak tree adorned with a myriad of twinkling lights. The Tres Leches and Salted Caramel Fudge Terrine are splurge-worthy, especially when paired with an after-dinner drink.
Despite our “new normal” after a meal at TRIBUTE, you will have a sense of normalcy that only a good meal and a well-crafted cocktail can bring. These days, it’s a great way to feel, even for a moment.
Cover: Snapper Zarandeado. Photo Steve Lee Photography
Gabi De la Rosa lives in Houston with her husband and three children. Before the pandemic, you coul usually find her at a great local restaurant or out exploring HTX with her family. Visit her on Instagram @gabioftheroses_htx