Southern style cooking is so much more than just fried chicken. In spite of the stereotypes, some of the most amazing and desirable meals have their origins in southern cuisine. Among the most popular are Gumbos, seafood delicacies and specialty dishes that people are willing to travel to find. In addition to this, who says that fried chicken can’t be served in an upscale restaurant? It may be labeled or presented a bit differently, but the basics of bird preparation are still there.
Americas River Oaks -Houston Texas
This award-winning restaurant is one of Houston’s most upscale dining venues and it features the finest offerings of South American foods but it offers a hint of Southern cuisine in grand style. Owner/chef Michael Cordua offers what they call “New World Cuisine.” Cooking styles are incorporated from South, Central and North America and the upscale offerings cannot escape inclusion of the Southern influence of the great state of Texas. Grilled market vegetables with chargrilled corn and crispy mushroom appetizers, fried fingerling potatoes and plantain and sweet corn and habanero are southern style inspiration. Jalapeno, red bell peppers, and onions flambéed tableside are another upscale version of popular southern cooking.
Brennan’s of Houston
Registered as a Houston landmark, this upscale restaurant features a Texas Creole menu complete with Turtle Soup, Bourbon Molasses Lacquered Bobwhite Quail, Blue Crab Stuffed Texas Flounder and Bananas Foster.
This prestigious restaurant has won the food Arts Silver Spoon Award in 2014; the #1 in Service and Decor in Zagat in 2012; the Nation’s Restaurant News fine Dining Hall of Fame in 2011 and Exxon Mobil four-star rating from 2000 through 2014. This restaurant embodies the convergence of Southern cuisine with fine dining.
Danton’s Gulf Coast Seafood Kitchen – Houston, TX
Locate in the museum district of Houston; this restaurant was listed in 2008 on the “Places We’re Talking About” list on Gourmet magazine. It features Gulf coast cuisine created by Danton Nix. The venue has a seating capacity of 200 with a dining room and separate oyster bar with professional oyster shucking exhibitions. The bar has a seating capacity for 60.
Ibiza Food and Wine Bar -Houston, TX
This fine dining establishment made it to the Travel + Leisure’s list of the Best New American Restaurants in 2004. It offers upscale offerings and includes southern cuisine including grilled shrimp with crabmeat cornbread and tasso fricassee; fried oysters with spinach, bacon and leek fondue with spicy aioli and piquillo peppers stuffed with pulled pork finished with Alabama white sauce.
Southern cuisine may have been given a bum deal, but true food connoisseurs understand its value and are daring enough to present southern style dishes among their offerings in a variety of fine dining establishments. It is true that Southern cuisine in more than just fried chicken, but then again, what’s wrong with fried chicken, to begin with?