Lucille’s Houston offers Best Southern Cooking & Casual Dining
Lucille’s Houston Restaurant received the Best Southern Restaurant award by the Houston Press in 2016. That is merely one of the many accolades attached to this casual dining place that offers top notch and mouth watering delicious food.
I was introduced to it in 2016 by a good friend of mine. Lisa treated me to a lunch for my birthday. My husband and I recently shared a lunch there during Houston Restaurants Weeks. It was his first time to visit. In both instances the food was delicious and artfully displayed on our plates.
The location of this restaurant is in the Houston Museum District. The address is 5512 La Branch Street, Houston, Texas 77004. Numerous museums of different types are located in this area north of the Texas Medical Center and Rice University. It is also only a few blocks away from the McGovern Centennial Gardens which is on the north side of the expansive Hermann Park. Nearby you will find the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston as well as the Holocaust Museum, Contemporary Arts Museum and others.
Located in an older Mission-style home this restaurant has a homey atmosphere. It is so nice when buildings like this one which date back to the 1920s are still utilized. No amount of decorating by interior designers can quite capture the pleasantly comfortable and cozy character of the rooms in a long-established home such as this.
Like most houses in a residential neighborhood this one has a backyard put to good purpose. Lights are strung up in the trees as well as suspended shade awnings.
There is an outdoor bar, picnic tables and gardening areas.
Fresh produce from their gardens is utilized in cooking. It is hard to get anything better than something picked that very day for freshness, flavor and nutrients!
Lucille Bishop Smith was quite a lady! She was definitely a good cook. That goes without saying. What she accomplished in her 92 years leaves quite a legacy! Read by clicking here why she was named “one of the 100 Women of the Century by the Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Texas.”
Her great-grandsons Ben and Chris Williams who purchased this older home turned it into a restaurant naming it in her honor.
Classically trained and well traveled Chris Williams is the noted owner chef and with the assistance of Chef Khang Hoang, the Chef De Cuisine, they routinely turn out fabulous food for lunches, dinners as well as brunches.
Special meals are often created celebrating different events and frequently benefit different charities.
Now on to photos and descriptions of the food…
Lisa ordered a small plate of green fried tomatoes to start off the celebratory lunch. The sliced green tomatoes were coated with seasoned cornmeal and served with goat cheese and a spicy aioli. They were delicious.
When I make them at home I simply dredge them in plain flour and fry them in oil with a little bacon fat. Salted and peppered they are an occasional treat.
Lobster Cobb Salad what was Lisa chose to order that day for lunch. It was an elegant version of Cobb Salad with poached lobster tail, avocado, bacon, sliced hard boiled egg, mixed greens and the dressing which was described as grapefruit Nuoc Mam Vin. Lisa certainly enjoyed it!
I am still drooling over the shrimp & grits that I ordered. It is without exception the best version that I have ever eaten! I raved about it so much that when my husband dined there for the first time it is the entrée that he also chose to eat. He enjoyed it immensely. Gulf shrimp and andouille sausage are served over stone mill grits with a sherry tomato broth.
The Caesar Salad at Lucille’s is delicious. Until viewing this with my own eyes I did not realize that there are little miniature heads of Romaine lettuce that are being grown. Described as little gem lettuce (and a gem it is!) the plate is finished off with a soft-boiled egg, tomato, tarragon dressing, shredded cheese and cornbread croutons.
The cornbread croutons give that salad a southern spin. The tarragon dressing also makes for a flavorful difference from traditional Caesar salad dressings.
Roasted Butternut Squash at Lucille’s is a vegetarian delight! It is a generous plate full of tasty caramelized butternut squash with roasted pumpkin seeds, spiced soy yogurt, cilantro purée and topped off with fennel fronds and a few pieces of Italian parsley.
It is scrumptious! Roasting vegetables brings out the natural sweetness and seems to intensify flavors. Whichever chef created this masterpiece should be given an award! Read about both chefs at Lucille’s here.
Many of the items on the menu reflect the time honored recipes from Lucille. Of course these trained chefs also embellish and create recipes of their own. From what I have read some old standards like chili and biscuits will always be found on the menu. Sometime I would like to try their southern fried chicken. It is sure to be a winner!
Tempted as I was to once again order the shrimp & grits…it is that good!…I ordered the Miso Quail which was one of the choices for entrées during Houston Restaurant Weeks. Like everything else tasted so far from their menu, it was very good. It would definitely not be something that we would routinely cook at home making it an even greater treat.
Texas farmed quails are expertly cooked and served over flavorful serrano cheddar grits with collard green kimchi and a sorghum miso drizzle. The waitress serving this said that the idea was to take a bite of everything at once for maximum flavor. It was great and I appreciated the tip.
This restaurant is one that we would certainly put on our return list of places to once again enjoy. Look for the Lucille’s parking sign in a lot across the street in a hospital parking lot. Arrangements have been made for Lucille’s customers to park there at no cost.
You will find delectable southern food classics and more in this part of Houston at Lucille’s.
The other restaurants that we visited during the 2017 Houston Restaurant Weeks were the following:
They were all winners!