December is here! Need a lunch or dinner recommendation? Here’s where you should eat right now in Houston. 

 

The Pass
Put on your fancy pants because the tasting-menu half of The Pass Provisions is now open. Diners can expect some serious fireworks from chefs Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan.

While those two always seem to have something mind-blowing a-brewin’, look out for dish styles similar to what you might have experienced at In Residence or the Just August Project.

Etoile Cuisine Et Bar
The new Etoile has jumped head first into Houston’s recent French foray. The former Andre’s space in Uptown Park has received a nice makeover.

Don’t pass up the traditional escargot bubbling in a parsley-garlic-butter sauce, though the sandwiches are a worthy choice, too. Next time I’ll save room for the pastilla, lovingly described as a dark chocolate Pop-Tart.

Crisp
Tucked away near the Heights is Crisp, a new neighborhoody joint. It’s a big, open space with a nice patio.

Crisp offers 24 craft beers on tap (you can even build your own sampler), plus a nice wine list. It all pairs nicely with menu items like beer can chicken, and wings and waffles, plus pizzas and pastas galore.

Witchcraft Tavern Provision Co.
The former Dragon Bowl on (11th at Shepherd) has been converted to Witchcraft. The food menu is dominated by a nice list of burgers — but if that’s not your bag, there’s an enticing array of salads and small plates, too.

We recommend the Singapore Ribs, right alongside any number of the excellent craft beers on hand.

Elevation Burger
New to Upper Kirby last month is Elevation Burger, a gourmet burger joint hawking organic, grass-fed beef, plus other environmentally friendly options and practices. While it’s not likely to unseat your favorite burger in town, these are well cooked and certainly worth a try — especially when topped with the deliciously fantastic aged cheddar.

Nosh Bistro
Tucked into the restaurant quadrant with Haven, Twin Peaks, Café Japon, and Taco C is the new Nosh Bistro. Nosh features a menu of fused Asian dishes. And they’re not afraid of using a little spice.

It didn’t work for me on the Masala Beets, but I rather enjoyed the keen flavors in the potato-spinach-onion fritters and Angry Shrimp.

U.S. Smith’s BBQ, Beer, and Garden
Now that his restaurant Lucille’s is up and running, chef Chris Williams has opened his new place: U.S. Smith’s BBQ, Beer, and Garden. The BBQ is available Thursdays through Saturdays and features all varieties of Southern barbecue classics: 20-hour brisket, hamburgers, hotdogs and grilled oysters, not to mention whole roasted corn, collards and coleslaw.

Soul Cat Cuisine
If you thought gourmet soul food was an oxymoron, you best head to the Soul Cat, a recent addition to Houston’s mobile scene. Feed your fancy with Cajun and soul favorites, like fried catfish, salmon bites and gumbo.

We recommend the combo plates, like the “Big Easy” of red beans and rice with sausage, plus cornbread. Follow Soul Cat Cuisine on Twitter for a location.

Sushi Tora
Hiding in plain sight in a strip center on Studewood at Washington is Sushi Tora, a recent favorite lunch spot. The sushi is above average, the space is oddly endearing, and the service is reminiscent of the long-gone Dirty’s.

All in all, it’s a fun and tasty way to spend a meal. The nigiri is fairly standard, but you’ll want to try rolls like the hilariously named Bitch Preaze.

Feast
Last week Feast revealed that it would not renew its lease, which expires in August. That means we have a mere nine months to get our fill, and December is the perfect time for its comforting warmth.

Be not afraid: Feast has diversified its menu over the past year or two, offering a few more mainstream dishes in addition to the acclaimed offal ones.

Need more recs? Try our where to eat right now lists from previous months:

JuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovember