We were tempted by the compelling photos that Chef Austin Simmons was posting of dishes on his Houston Restaurant Weeks menu at Tris, so we were excited to get a reservation to check it out for ourselves. Tris is, simply, one of the top restaurants in the state of Texas; Chef Austin and his culinary team turn out delicious, innovative cuisine every day, and their talented service staff creates great experiences for the guests.
For Houston Restaurant Weeks 2022, Chef Austin and his team have created a stunning three-course dinner menu priced at an unbelievable $55 per person. It’s a tremendous value, and a great way to experience Michelin star cuisine without breaking the bank.
We sampled a variety of dishes; these were the standouts. (Click on any photo for a larger view.)
Tris is one of the rare restaurants that is equally adept at turning out dishes based on both meats and seafood; it’s impossible to pick one over the other. So we started with one dish from the sea, and one from the land.
Tuna and Watermelon is Chef Austin’s love letter to summer. A simple creation of tuna, fresh Texas watermelon, Persian cucumber, chili, garlic, and radish, it’s a light, refreshing summer day on a plate. The clever addition of chili gives the dish a bit of zing, and the interplay of textures makes for a very satisfying bite.
Beef Tostada is the Tris version of this Mexican favorite. A crispy wonton is piled with perfect slices of rare beef, and finished with fermented purple cabbage (nothing like the kimchi that the chef incorporates into several creations) sesame seed, orange, and scallion. This complex, earthy dish is a powerful counterpoint to the bright Tuna and Watermelon, and is the deep yang to the bright yin from the sea.
At Chef Austin’s suggestion, we selected the Prime Pork Chop, Bone In for our main course. As usual, the Chef’s suggestion was outstanding. A sublimely tender, intensely flavorful pork chop was perched atop a savory Nduja mushroom risotto, and finished with gently pickled shallots and crispy parsley. The best pork we’ve ever eaten was served at Tris, and this stellar dish follows in that tradition. Bold but not overpowering, sublimely savory, with compelling flavors balancing beautifully in each bite.
No meal at Tris is complete without dessert, and Chef Austin has presented a wonderful slate of options. We started with the indulgent Blueberry Lemon Pie. Constructed on a gently spiced rustic crust, the pie is filled with blueberries, lemon, and an intoxicating (figuratively, not literally) almond rum creme. Finished with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, more blueberries, and a touch of mint, this may be our new favorite dessert at Tris. Although it has a close competitor….
We’ve long been fans of Tris’s Strawberry Shortcake, and for good reason. Chef Austin’s unique Olive Oil Cake is dusted with powered sugar, drizzled with strawberry pureé, then dressed with halved fresh Texas strawberries. The sweetness of the berries is deftly balanced with the semi-sweet cake, and the result is a compelling bite that has earned its spot on the Tris menu.
Throughout the experience, outstanding service was provided by Cameron, one of GM Chris Perry’s superstars. We were never wanting anything, and her suggestions were spot on.
Houston Restaurant Weeks runs through September 5; if these items grab your attention (and if they don’t, check your pulse) you should make your reservation now. We can’t wait to return.
Raising the bar for dining in the Woodlands
American (New), Burgers, Seafood, and Steaks | Waterway
Catering, Full Bar, Good Desserts, Good for Vegetarians, Happy Hour, HRW2020, HRW2021, HRW2022, Outdoor Dining, Private Room, and Upscale