1. Le Jardinier – Houston
The name of this recently opened Museum District offspring of a New York (and Miami) hit means “the gardener” in French, so it makes perfect sense that the menu here leads with farm-fresh produce and herbs, while delegating fish and meat to supporting roles. (Although, we should note that the latter two are sustainably and locally sourced.)
Michelin-starred chef Alain Verzeroli, whose culinary pedigree includes decades working under such renowned chefs as Alain Passard and the late Joël Robuchon, stands at the helm here. The artfully plated dishes, with vibrantly colored ingredients that are arranged just so, are delightful masterpieces in their own right. Exhibit A: the visual eye candy created from hunks of creamy burrata served with bright tomatoes, stone fruit slices, bee pollen, and basil seeds. And that makes the setting — within the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Kinder Building — even more apropos.