July 17 was a red-letter day for Houston foodies as Robert del Grande's new RDG + Bar Annie opened for business. There was no advertising, but plenty of foodie tweets and e-mails brought out a crowd to see the successor of Cafe Annie. The sleek new digs, just a block from the old Annie site, combine a casual bar and wine room downstairs and a bar area and grill room upstairs in the 11,000-square-foot space. Del Grande promises a menu of "one third Annie favorites from over the years, one third new items and one third re-purposed dishes." That last promise includes the popular black bean terrine that the father of Southwestern cuisine introduced in the 1980s that is now a deconstructed dip. Annie closed after almost three decades to make room BLVD Place, a multi-use center. RDG + Bar Annie is one of the first tenants in phase one of the project. RDG + Bar Annie, BLVD Place, 1800 Post Oak Blvd., Houston, TX 77056, 713-840-1111.
Fleming's Introduces Summer Prix-Fixe Menu
At $39.95 per person, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar's summer prix-fixe, three-course menu could easily be a stimulus package, especially considering the price tag, which includes a spinach salad or chilled potato leek soup, a dessert, a side dish and an entrée choice of peppercorn crusted filet mignon, roasted sesame chicken or broiled sea scallops. Wine director Marian Jansen op de Haar ia happy to provide pairing suggestions, although wine, tax and tip are not included in the price. Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Center at River Oaks, 2405 Alabama St., Houston, TX 77004, 713-520-5959.
A Milestone for Prince's Hamburgers
Prince's Hamburgers turned 75 this summer and invited some special guests to lunch on burgers, fries and shakes. Among them, Liz Flores, who spent 40 years with the chain. Flores started as a car hop in 1950 and saw the likes of Elvis, Ricky Nelson and President Kennedy come to Prince's for burgers. She worked her way up to owner and inherited the original location downtown. She sold it in 1990 but still likes to stop at a Prince's, now owned by John Broussard. But her favorite dish isn't the burger. "It's the fried shrimp!" she said. Prince's Hamburgers, 3899 SW Fwy., Houston, TX 77027, 713-626-9950.
Pico Rolls Out New Menu
On July 6, chef/owner Arnaldo Richards debuted a new menu for Pico's Mex-Mex Restaurant that includes some old classics and off-the-menu specials that regulars have been asking about for more than 25 years. Richards will re-introduce some of those dishes, like the flautas estilo Mexico and the sincronizadas verdes o rojas, which were on the first menu back in 1984, to his new menu. "I have customers who come to my restaurant once a week just to eat these dishes," said Richards, who recently opened a Mexican bakery and has also added a new dessert menu featuring a browniecheese cake and dulce de leche. Pico's, 5941 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX 77081, 713-662-8383.
Chef Eric Aldis has jumped from Mark's American Cuisine to Mo's A Place for Steaks. As the new executive chef at Mo's, Aldis brings both corporate and resort kitchen experience as well as an understanding of Texas produce. Before his return to Houston, Aldis was executive chef at Turtle Restaurant in Brownwood, Texas. Despite residing in a town of just 20,000, Turtle is well known as a fine-dining pantheon to the Slow Food Movement. Mo's A Place for Steaks, 1801 Post Oak Blvd., Ste. 1E, Houston, TX 77056, 713-877-0720.
After 63 years and an awful lot of beer, brisket and its famous 18-ounce stuffed potatoes, Lennox Barbecue has shuttered. The popular East End joint closed in July after the owner sold the property to the Metropolitan Transit Authority for light rail expansion. The dining room is set to be demolished this summer, but owner Erik Mrok has said he will re-open a take-out and catering business by fall. Lenox Barbecue, 5420 Harrisburg Dr., Houston, TX 77011, no phone.
Cafe Annie went out in grand style on June 30 with a restaurant packed with the city's elite and powerful who made this one of Houston's most fashionable eateries for 27 years. So many wanted to say adios to Annie that chef Robert del Grande's kitchen actually ran out of food before the end of the night and well-wishers kept Bar Annie hopping well past midnight. Del Grande and partner Lonnie Schiller will be opening their new RDG + Bar Annie just down the street later this summer. Cafe Annie, 1728 Post Oak Blvd., Houston, TX 77056, no phone.
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