THANKSGIVING DINING GUIDE

Where to go in Houston on Thanksgiving: New restaurants and surprises

Get an Italian-American feast at Carmelo's. Photo by Jenn Duncan

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

Making Thanksgiving dinner may be a beloved tradition in some families, but not everyone wants to spend a rare vacation day prepping and cooking a meal that will be devoured in 30 minutes. For those who are cooking, we wish you nothing but success. 

For others, we offer a few suggestions for places to dine. As always, the options include some new establishments serving Thanksgiving for the first time, as well as some fancy-pants hotel feasts that are worth a splurge. This guide even offers a few options for turkey haters; maybe spicy tuna hand rolls are a better fit. 

Act quickly. Reservations book up fast. If all else fails, never forget that select Pappas Barbecue locations are open until 6 pm.   

New this year

Bloom and Bee
The Post Oak Hotel restaurant brings its signature fresh and locally inspired take to Thanksgiving dinner. For $65, guests can enjoy a four-course meal featuring butternut squash bisque with maple cream, candied pecans, pumpernickel croutons and chive oil; fall salad with kale, Brussels sprouts and seasonal greens, dried apricot, green apple, crispy shallots, Stilton blue cheese, and champagne vinaigrette; a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings; and a variety of miniature desserts. The restaurant is open from 11 am to 8 pm Thanksgiving Day and reservations are recommended. 1600 West Loop S.; 346-227-5139

Bosscat Kitchen & Libations
Open from Noon to 7 pm, the Highlight Village spot has a Thanksgiving feast perfect for parties large and small. The menu includes heaping helpings of two proteins with salad, family-style sides, and dessert for $45 ($55 for three proteins; $15 for kids 12 and under). Choose from maple-bourbon brined turkey, brown-sugar baked ham or dry-aged roast beef; green bean casserole, pecan-crusted sweet potatoes, cornbread stuffing, winter spiced cranberry sauce and more; and desserts like apple cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream. Best of all,   co-owner John Reed, executive chef Peter Petro, bar director Matt Sharp, and managing partner Tai Nguyen will be serving diners while celebrating with their own families, given the experience a personal touch. They’re also offering half-off all bottles of wine and $5 Texas draft beers all day. Reservations are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome. 4310 Westheimer Rd.; 281-501-1187

Carmelo's Cucina Italiana 
This Memorial-area restaurant may be an institution, but it has a new spirit under owner Ben Berg (B&B; Butchers) and his brother, chef Daniel Berg. Priced at $45 ($20 for kids 11 and under), the three-course, prix fixe menu includes choices like butternut squash soup and pumpkin ravioli to start; turkey or bourbon-glazed ham as the entree; four vegetable sides for the table; and pecan pie, pumpkin pie, or apple crumble for dessert. Call 281-531-0696 to make a reservation. 14795 Memorial Dr.

The Classic
Thanksgiving is super laid back here, with a three-course, pre-fixe menu for $40 per person. The menu includes Red Kuri Squash Soup served with gluten-free croutons and vegan herb crema, maple-glazed turkey breast, and herb-crusted roasted butchers cut with red wine au Jus, all of which are served with butter whipped potatoes and smoked turkey gravy, fall market vegetables, and challah dressing. Hazelnut and cranberry sauce is available upon request. Dessert options are sweet potato layered cake served with orange-cranberry jam or Mom’s Chocolate Cake with fudge pecan icing and vanilla ice cream. 5922 Washington Ave.; 713- 868-1131

Eunice
The newly opened Cajun Creole brasserie near Greenway Plaza is serving a four-course, prix fixe Thanksgiving menu from 11 am to 6 pm. Starter options include roasted oysters, fried quail, and cajun duck poppers. Continue with chicken and sausage gumbo, butternut squash bisque, or a butter lettuce salad. The five entree options include turkey with all the trimmings ($58), Gulf shrimp and grits ($56), the signature Duck Duck Rice ($59), a grilled ribeye ($69), or drum with blue crab ($64). Finish with one of four desserts. Reserve online or by calling the restaurant. 3737 Buffalo Spdwy.; 832-491-1717

Jonathan’s the Rub
Offering a dine-in option for the first time, the Memorial Green location offers a deep-fried turkey meal ($45 per person) or a beef tenderloin meal ($65 per person). Both come with green bean casserole, garlic mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, sweet potato casserole, cornbread stuffing, and rolls. Dessert is a choice of Snicker’s or pecan pie, pumpkin cheesecake, or the Chocolate Blackout Cake. Dinner is available from 11 am to 5 pm on Thanksgiving Day. Reservations are encouraged and can be made online, but walk-ins are welcome. 12505 Memorial Dr., Suite 140; 713-808-9291

Mastro’s Steakhouse
The popular Uptown spot goes old school for the holidays, offering Chateaubriand carved tableside with Bernaise and peppercorn sauces on the side. Available for $115, the center-cut roast augments the restaurant’s steak and seafood menu. Pumpkin Spice Warm Butter Cake has been added to the dessert. It’s made with pumpkin and seasonal hard spices, topped and baked with pumpkin pie spiced cream cheese, finished with caramelized raw sugar, and served with vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce, and homemade whipped cream. Mastro’s is open from 1 pm to 9 pm Thanksgiving Day and reservations are recommended. 1650 West Loop S.; 713-993-2500

Roka Akor
Open from 3 to 9 pm on Thanksgiving Day, the Japanese steakhouse offers a tasting menu for $75 per person. The first course is mizuna salad with roasted beets, chopped candied walnuts, goat cheese, and orange supreme; the second is butternut squash soup with bacon bits; the third course is miso-braised short ribs, while the fourth is grilled honey miso-glazed turkey with ginger yuzu cranberry sauce served with mashed sweet potato and shiitaki gravy. For dessert, select from caramel apple cheesecake or pumpkin spice crème brulee. Reservations can be made online. 2929 Weslayan St.; 713-622-1777

Tris
The Woodlands restaurant’s chef Austin Simmons put together an action station-style lunch for Thanksgiving Day. Among the selections are Jimmy Evans shrimp cocktail, Fairytale Pumpkin Soup, roasted beet and goat cheese salad, traditional roasted free-range turkey, honey-chipotle-glazed spiral ham, kimchi barbecue glazed roasted filet of sturgeon, roasted prime rib, cornbread stuffing, sweet potato mash, roasted carrots with a blood orange glaze, pumpkin pie tart, Tris chocolate cake, and Tris pumpkin pie. The cost is $59 for adults, $25 for kids six to 12 years old, and free for diners under five. Reserve via Open Table or by calling the restaurant. 24 Waterway Ave.; 281-203-5641

Fancy hotel feasts

The Hotel Granduca Ristorante Cavour
There’s a taste for everyone on the Uptown hotel’s buffet, which includes an array of salads, cheeses, pastas, and seafood. But you’ll also find tasty traditional Thanksgiving offerings like turkey and all the trimmings, along with some incredible desserts. Available from 11 am to 3 pm on Thanksgiving Day, the cost is $85 for adults and $40 for children. 1080 Uptown Park Blvd.; 713-418-1000.

Lucienne
Thanksgiving dinner is available between 11 am and 2:30 pm in the Hotel Alessandra’s airy, chic Lucienne restaurant. The three-course meal is $55 per person, and guests can choose from a first course of crab cakes, pumpkin and ginger soup, or a date and goat cheese tartlette. Main course items are roasted turkey breast, roast beef, or Gulf red snapper. For dessert, select from a double crust apple pie or chocolate bread pudding. Call for reservations. 1070 Dallas St.; 713-242-8540.

Quattro at the Four Seasons
Available from 10 am to 3 pm, the extensive brunch menu offers a raw bar, carving station, appetizers, main courses, and desserts, as well as special selections from the hotel's lobby bar Bayou and Bottle. Among the options are a thyme-crusted leg of lamb, stuffed chicken, honey-glazed Virginia ham, tri-colored potato au gratin, grilled asparagus, lemon-scented calamari, Corona steamed mussels, a sushi station, Caprese salad, dark chocolate almond cake, cranberry-orange trifle, pumpkin pie – and, of course, traditional roasted turkey. In addition to a bountiful spread, the price includes coffee, Bloody Marys, and Mimosas. The cost is $110 for adults and $49 for children. Reservations can be made online or by calling the restaurant. 1300 Lamar St.; 713-267-4700

Something different

Continue reading on CultureMap.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

For some reason this week really got to me. All the Antonio Brown stuff, Kevin Durant scolding the media, Justin Verlander whining about millionaire players not becoming billionaires, Odell posting a cryptic tweet because he might be traded.

There's so much drama now. Maybe there was in the past too but it was behind the scenes. We didn't hear about every player's every thought. I liked not knowing this much about our athletes.

Sometimes it was misleading not knowing them better. I didn't root for OJ because I was a Walter Payton guy but I admired what OJ did right up until he started killing people. Same goes for Rae Carruth. But those are extreme examples.

Today we know way too much about our athletes. Way too much. Back in the day I wouldn't have known that Josh Hader and Josh Allen were little racists. I'd be fine not knowing that.

I'd be good not knowing that Laremy Tunsil is a weed enthusiast and ready for nuclear holocaust at the same time.

I'd be better off not knowing that Kevin Durant has Twitter burner accounts. I just have a hard time understanding why one of the great basketball players of our time cares what some 18-year old thinks of him.

I didn't need to know every detail about the KD - Russell Westbrook cat fight. It just wasn't necessary.

I'd rather not hear about how LeBron's pee pee hurt because Phil Jackson used the word posse.

How Antonio Brown and Big Ben have hissy fits.

How the Steelers offensive line was so mad at LeVeon that they started talking about his money. That was a big no-no back in the day. You never talked about another man's money.

Of course none of the old rules apply today. Used to be, guys retired at the end of the season. Now they retire at halftime of the second game.

Used to be you didn't record your teammate admitting how he cheated on his girl and then make it public. That would have gotten you killed not just traded.

Used to be you respected the office of the commissioner of the league. Kennisaw Mountain Landis, Pete Rozelle and David Stern were icons. Now coaches and players wear Roger Goodell clown shirts.

Do we really need to know which player is gay and which isn't?

Who everyone is dating?

Do we need a red carpet at all-star games?

Do we need 9-hour pregame shows before the Super Bowl?

Are we really giving a penalty for horns down now? Are we that soft?

And do we really think that if we call it the Red River Shootout that we're promoting violence? Really?

Do we ever need to hear one more Lavar Ball thought again? For God's sake the man's an idiot. Why do we give him a national platform?

Now don't get me wrong. There is some good that comes from today's tell-all athlete. When Kobe threw Shaq under the bus after Kobe was caught cheating in Colorado, Shaq won the title with the Heat and came up with one of the great rap lines of all time. "Kobe, tell me how my ass tastes." Classic.

I've also kind of enjoyed the off-season back and forth between Alex Bregman and Trevor (Tyler) Bauer. They don't like each other. Can't wait until they face each other for the first time this year. But I'm sure the media will make such a big deal out of it that they'll hug before the game and have a press conference about how much they respect each other. The media ruins everything.

Back in the day Bregman would have taken a 96 mile an hour fastball to the back and the benches would clear and we'd have a good old fashioned brouhaha. That's how men settled stuff back then. Sure you might throw it a little high and maybe kill him but that's the risk you took. That's what men did.

What's more fun, a press conference or a bench clearing brawl? Not even close.

I know I must sound like the "get off my lawn guy." Maybe I am. I don't shave with a Gillette razor. I use Schick.

Now give me back my sports without all this drama.

And get off my lawn.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome