Comfort food is known by many names but in the Bayou City, particularly in February, one dish takes the [King] cake. These local chefs draw on family recipes and cultural inspirations as they create decadent bowls brimming with the rich steamy flavors of a classic southern staple.Read More
14 Hearty Shrimp and Grits Fixes in Houston
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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
1. Backstreet Café
Dining at Backstreet Café is akin to spending the afternoon with a good friend: calming, rejuvenating, and of course personal. This makes Chef Hugo Ortega’s connection to sourcing local ingredients all the more fitting; his cornmeal comes from Texas favorite Homestead Gristmill and he supports the Gulf fishermen through sales of their shrimp. Cheese, green onions, and crispy leeks lend warmth and texture to his simply stunning dish.
Cost: $22/Brunch, $23/Lunch,$23/Dinner
[Photos: Billy Miller and Backstreet Café]
2. BB's Cafe
Since 2007 these fine folks have been dishing out the best of Tex-Orleans cuisine and Mama B’s Shrimp N’ Grits are a quintessential example. Jumbo blackened shrimp are sautéed in a zesty Andouille cream sauce with celery, onions, bell peppers and garlic, which ensures every bite is infused with deep flavor. The whole shebang is then served over a bed of cheese grits, which also contain fresh corn kernels for extra bang for your BB’s buck.
[Photos: BB's Cafe]
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3. Big Eyed Fish
Your eyes are guaranteed to get big when this impressive dish from Executive Chef Xavier Martinez is placed before you: homemade grits are blended with smoked cheddar before being topped with sautéed shrimp, wine, herbs, and butter. The end result is so rich and creamy you will want to scoop up every last bite. Ask for a spoon so none of the sauce gets left behind.
[Photo: Ellie Sharp]
4. Boudreaux's Cajun Kitchen
Smoked Gouda grits are fried to a gorgeous golden brown before layered and topped with juicy shrimp in a rich cream sauce. Everything is made from scratch which ensures a tasty experience from the first bite to the last.
[Photos: Boudreaux's Cajun Kitchen and Ellie Sharp]
5. Brennan's of Houston
Creole meets comfort in Chef Danny Trace’s rendition of this classic dish that brings together fresh seafood, butter, cream, and wine – seriously, what could be better? Six premium 16/20 Gulf shrimp from Jimmy Evans of J&J Shrimp Company in Houston are coated in Creole seasoning, seared in hot pan, and nestled into what Trace refers to as “the best grits you can buy.” Sourced from the Homestead Gristmill in Waco, the stone-ground yellow grits are cooked down with milk, butter, Texas goat cheese, and roasted corn in a pan deglazed with white wine and brandy.
Cost: $25/Lunch, $36/Dinner
[Photo: Gary Wise]
6. Kitchen 713
Global influences are woven into deeply rooted Southern fare at this under-the-radar East End gem. It's a formula masterfully executed with each dish, including the generous helping of shrimp and grits. Stone ground grits peppered with poblanos, white wine and white cheddar cheese topped with Gulf Coast shrimp and Spanish-influenced shrimp chorizo sausage. The dish may not be traditionally Southern but it doesn't matter when it tastes this amazing.
Cost: $18/Lunch, $20/Dinner
[Photos: Jakeisha Wilmore]
With great history comes great responsibility and Chef Chris Williams takes this mantra to heart using his great-grandmother Lucille as his culinary inspiration. His presentation of stone-milled grits, succulent shrimp, and Andouille sausage in a sherry tomato broth serves as an exemplary homage to his ancestral past, not to mention it’s just freaking good.
Cost: $19/Lunch, $25/Dinner
[Photos: Lucille's and Ellie Sharp]
8. MAX's Wine Dive
Chef Michael Pellegrino is famous for flavor and this execution is no exception. He mingles bacon, scallions, parsley, and jalapeño cheese grits in a spicy butter broth, and tops it with a poached egg. “The key to making a delicious grits dish is the stock you cook your grits in,” he says. “By adding the flavors you are looking for, you will be creating layers of flavors, and you can customize the dish in that way.” Which is to say the end result is shrimply scrumptious!
[Photo: MAX's Wine Dive]
9. Mockingbird Bistro
Native Houstonian and culinary mainstay Chef John Sheely offers diners something a little less ordinary at his beloved Montrose restaurant. His presentation of traditional flavors gets a visual kick via blue grits from Homestead Gristmill, which set the stage for star players Gulf rock shrimp and spicy Andouille sausage. The dish further shines with Redneck Cheddar sourced from Veldhuizen Family Farm in the Texas Hill Country.
[Photos: Paula Murphy]
10. Ouisie's Table
Executive Chef Elouise A. Jones and Chef de Cuisine Chef Martin Bolanos serve this comfort favorite with true Southern charm using grits from Anson Mills in South Carolina. Heirloom corn is stone-ground and milled for authentic flavor that complements the lure of Gulf shrimp, mushrooms, bacon, and scallions for a meal that is as memorable as it is satisfying.
Cost: $18 Brunch/$20 Lunch/$24 Dinner
[Photos: Brian Vogel, Ouisie's Table]
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11. Punk's Simple Southern Food
Sometimes grits end up as heavy, lumpy, flavorless piles of edible cement; such is not the case at this popular Rice Village locale. Here, generous servings of white hominy grits evoke creamy clouds due to their fluffy light texture when cooked. Fresh Gulf shrimp elevate the dish and a light tomato based sauce jazzes up Executive Chef Brandi Key’s fitting tribute to Louisiana’s Creole heritage.
Cost: $19/Lunch and Dinner
[Photos: Punk's Simple Southern Food and Jack Thompson]
12. Tony Mandola's
Festive as a NOLA parade, Chef Sam Beier’s dish is a lively combination of jumbo gulf shrimp, roasted mushrooms, onions, and bacon over stone-ground grits and topped with a brilliant Pomodoro sauce. Rich without being too heavy this meal pairs perfectly with the patio, especially this time of year.
[Photos: Ellie Sharp]
13. Trevisio Restaurant
Come here for a distinctive spin on the wondrous combination of corn and crustacean, this time with Italian flair. Luscious wood-grilled shrimp align atop creamy polenta with spinach and a liberal dose of lemon butter. Read as scampi on the menu, we aren’t fooled. But we do want seconds.
Cost: $24 Lunch/Dinner
[Photo: Paula Murphy]
14. Dish Society
Enjoy excellence at its best with Executive Chef Albert Vasquez’s locally sourced and inspired menu, which features a beautiful variation on this timeless dish. Order the Gulf shrimp sautéed in Tabasco shallot butter with smoked Gouda bacon grits for lunch and dinner or the extra decadent variation at brunch served with an over-easy open range egg on top. Um, yum!
Cost: Cost: $15 Brunch/Lunch/Dinner
[Photos: Dragana Harris]
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