Houston Restaurant week is August 11 - 17. A lot of restaurants -- mostly good ones -- are serving 3-course meals for $35, and donating $5 to charity. Details are here. More importantly, menu choices are here.
Sadly, I will be in New York City. But if I were in town, this is where I might go, and what I might order off the special HRW menus:
Americas - Woodlands. I mostly want to visit this restaurant to see the interior design and taste more of Plinio Salndalo's desserts. Course 1 choices are very dull -- surely these guys can do better than the tired mixed greens salad with cilantro dressing. Course 2 - Carnitas sous-vide looks interesting. Course 3 - No question; skip the Tres Leches and order Raspados (piahaya, banana, chocolate soy, lucuma, coconut) -- surely a Plinio creation.
Arcodoro. Arcodoro's food is sometimes hit-or-miss and always pricey. But the HRW menu looks like a really good deal. Course 1 -- Fregula Belvedere (Sardinian couscous with rock shrimp and shitake mushrooms in a saffron basil broth). Course 2 -- Ravioli al Granchio e Crema di Bottarga (pasta stuffed with crab and topped with a bottarga cream sauce). 3 - the desserts are a tossup.
Caffe Annie. 1 - Butter lettuce with Chorizo and Chopped Egg - I am a sucker for chorizo; 2 - Grilled Gulf Shrimp with Grilled Watermelon Salad and Garlic Butter - grilled watermelon sounds interesting. 3 - the choices sound dull, but I might opt for the Brownie with Rocky Road Sauce.
Gigi's Asian Bistro - Another hit-or-miss restaurant, but this menu looks so good, with some of Gigi's best dishes. 1 - Shu Mai; 2 - Wok Panang Beef; 3 - Molten Chocolate Cake.
Gravitas - Possibly my favorite HRW menu. It looks like the kitchen took the opportunity to really try and be creative: 1 - Shaved calamari and cucumber salad - how in the heck does one "shave" a calamari?; 2 - Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder with Asian (?) and watercress salad -- I dig Gravitas' slow roasted meats, and I dig watercress, so this is a no-brainer; 3 - marshmallow and chocolate tart.
Le Mistral - 1 - Mushroom Soup - I have had this many times and love it; 2 - Double pork chop confit served with apricot chutney, mustard sauce, zucchini beignet; 3 - Chocolate fondant with Marie Brizard Cafe-infused vanila shake - one of my favorite desserts in town.
Pesce - The prices are usually so expensive, that the HRW menu is a steal. 1 - Seafood Martini - a classic; 2 - Potato Crusted Red Fish with a jicama, cilantro, micro green salad and Jack Daniels sweet corn salsa - the sides sound interesting; 3 - creme brulee.
Voice - My other vote for best-sounding menu. 1 - Mushroom Soup Cappuccino - Chef Kramer's signature, and possibly the best soup in town; 2 - Slow Braised Beef Short Ribs with Yukon potato puree, and celery-apple salad - short ribs in August? why not?; 3 - Chocolate Cream Pie, 5-Spice Ice Cream, Orange Tuile.
Go out. Enjoy yourselves. Have a chocoalte fondant for me.
And if you have some suggestions on where I should go in NYC (I already have reservations at WD-50), please let me know.