I love to fish and I really love fresh seafood. The taste of a freshly caught fish that is simply prepared is quite heavenly. In Houston, it can sometimes be difficult to find seafood that is not fried or over sauced. So I was very excited to hear about Peska Seafood Culture. Peska is more than just a restaurant; it is a visually stunning seafood utopia. When you first walk in, you will notice a fresh seafood market to your left and specialty pantry items on your right. The bright and airy dining room is beautifully decorated in coral with touches of turquoise. Schools of silvery fish swim above you and sea creatures dance along the video display cleverly built into the wall.
Created by Chef Omar Pereney, the food at Peska is truly a work of art. At just 20 years-old, this Venezuelan native has designed a unique menu to tantalize your taste buds. The simple, yet beautiful flavors found in the fruit and flower salad are just a hint of what the rest of the menu offers. Dishes like Onion Ash Tuna, Braised Pulpo (octopus), as well as six different ceviches await you at Peska. There is an option to completely customize your own entree by choosing the cut of fish, preparation style, and sauce. Just in case you are overwhelmed by the many choices, Peska has a "seafood sommelier" to help guide you along your culinary journey.
Speaking of sommeliers, what about the wine? Peska has you covered in that area as well. You can't help but notice the beautiful wall of wine inside the restaurant. General Manager Pete Contaldi has selected over 115 wines to compliment the extraordinary food and 25 of those are available by the glass. He has also made sure that cocktails are simple and not over thought. In addition to a unique list of specialty cocktails, they have put their own spin on classic drinks. You can choose an OriGINal cocktail, which of course includes gin, or a tequila/mezcal based beverage from the When Life Hands You Cactus menu. My favorite was the Roasted Slope. It uses Bar Hill gin, Crème de Violette, bacon syrup, and a peppercorn tincture to mimic the earthy, peppery flavors of a glass of Syrah. The detail and thought behind their beverage program is very impressive. You may not notice that special herb infused simple syrup used to make your drink, but trust me, Peska has worked hard to make your overall dining experience enjoyable.
I can't wait to return and have some ceviche and a drink on their magnificent patio. It has a unique louvered system that can allow in full sunlight or close to make it impenetrable to undesirable weather. That's a good thing because we all know how Houston weather changes by the hour!
Peska is currently open for dinner nightly from 5pm - 10pm. Lunch and happy hour will be phased in over the next few weeks. Reservations can be made by calling (713) 961-9229. Be sure to like them on Facebook at Peska Seafood Culture.
Just below the elegant Radio Milano restaurant, you will find Milano Bar. It is located at Citycentre Houston inside the beautiful Hotel Sorella. Milano Bar is sleek, sexy, and has a vintage feel to it. Behind the bar you will find sharply dressed barkeeps in old school Italian outfits. Seating options, which include bar stools, table tops, lounges, and a patio, are purposely designed so that the staff can keep their eye on you at all times to make sure your drink doesn't stay empty for too long.
Peter Clifton, barmaster extraordinaire, makes sure that Milano Bar is on the cutting edge when it comes to craft cocktails. He accomplishes this with help from barkeeps, Chris, Jeremiah, Jordan, and Sam. The cocktail menu may be overwhelming, but just tell any one of these talented bartenders what you like and they will steer you in the right direction. I told them I like bourbon. Their recommendation of the Tra L'adera, made with bourbon, lemon, yellow chartreuse and creme de mure, was spot on!
The attention to detail here is impressive. They make their own bitters, tonics, and ginger beer. The bar is outfitted with butcher block work spaces where drinks are expertly crafted. Some of the best bar ware in the world was specifically chosen to make sure each drink is perfectly executed. Who knew that the shaker used when mixing a drink affected the shape of the ice? I'm going to have to start paying more attention to the ice in my drinks. Of course they have copper mugs for Mules, but they also have special cups for classic Mint Juleps, and beautiful stemware for delicious Manhattans.
To keep things fresh and exciting, the cocktail menu changes every 4 months along with the seasons and each barkeep gets to add their own unique twist to it. If cocktails aren't your thing, don't worry, they also serve wine and typically have six craft beers on tap. Executive Chef Jose Hernandez has created a classy bar menu for you to indulge in along with your luscious libations. However, if you find that you've had a bit too much, then pour yourself an Underberg. They are located along the bar with special fluted glasses. This German bitter digestif is intensely herbaceous with a hint of licorice, but it will have you right as rain in no time.
Happy Hour is everyday from 4pm - 6pm and on Thursday - Saturday from 10pm - 1am they kick things up a notch by turning the music up and the lights down low. Be sure to like them on Facebook to find out about drink specials and upcoming events. You can also catch Peter Clifton at Yellow Rose Distillery on May 7th for their Thur Mix a Lot weekly cocktails for charity event.
I'm a native Houstonian, but since I live in the suburbs, I don't get to explore the Houston area very often. I recently had the opportunity to visit Citycentre in West Houston. There are some really fantastic things going on there. This open-air plaza and green space area is alive with families, festivals, and music. It is a great spot for a weekend getaway or mini family "staycation".
Hotel Sorella is located in the heart of Citycentre and the perfect home base for a weekend of dining, drinking, and entertainment. This hotel exudes luxury from the moment you step into the lobby. There are over 250 guests rooms with Italian inspired decor. Penthouse suites are also available which have a separate living room, full kitchen, stainless steel appliances, and a floor to ceiling glass window for a fantastic city view. Don't forget to check out the rooftop pool! It's connected to the Monnalisa, the hotel's bar/lounge. You can enjoy a drink in your own private cabana and listen to live music that's played nightly Wednesday - Saturday.
It was still early afternoon when I checked into the hotel and a beautiful day outside. I stopped at Cyclone Anaya's for a drink and a light bite. Cyclone Anaya's has mutiple locations, but it's still a family owned business serving classic Tex-Mex dishes. They have a fabulous drink menu and I was looking forward to a refreshing margarita. There are over 100 tequilas to try and specialty margaritas that change monthly. I decided to try the Jalisco Rose made with Casadores Blanco, St. Germain Elderflower, Pink Grapefruit Juice, Basil, and Sparkling wine. It was the perfect drink to sip on while eating crab nachos and ceviche. They have many flavors of margaritas, both frozen and on the rocks, in just about every flavor imaginable. I like my drinks less sweet. For a simple, but delicious drink, try the El Don Margarita made with just Don Julio Silver, Grand Marnier, and a little lime juice. For those watching their calories, Cyclone Anaya's also offers Skinny Margaritas and Guiltless Mojitos made with Monin Sugar free syrup.
The Capital Grille
When I think about the ideal dinner place, I am looking for somewhere I can have excellent drinks and fabulous food. In Citycentre, that place is The Capital Grille. You can't go wrong with dry-aged steaks, fresh seafood, and over 350 world class wines expertly chosen to accompany the exquisite cuisine. What's even better is that you can dine in their bar area or patio for a more casual experience with the same superb service and food as the main dining room.
The cocktail and wine list is brought out to you on a IPad, so there are pictures and descriptions of all the drinks. This is awesome if you happen to be a visual person like myself. I had to go with the The Capital Grille Signature Martini made with Stoli Vodka that is house infused with fresh pineapple, then chilled and served straight. It was a nice compliment to the Caprese salad made with 15 year old balsamic vinegar and house made mozzarella. Executive Chef Jeffrey Meyer graciously provided a few surprises that included a halibut spread and ceviche canape, as well as a lemon sorbet palate cleanser. I know it may seem crazy not to get a steak here, but their seafood items are hard to pass up as well. Wanting something a bit light, I chose the Sushi-Grade Sashimi Seared Tuna with Gingered Rice. Regardless of whether you go surf or turf, the portions are ample, the food is stellar, and the entire dining experience is outstanding.
Sweet Paris Creperie and Cafe
After spending the evening walking around Citycentre and listening to some great music, it was time for a sweet treat. Sweet Paris Creperie and Cafe serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and makes crepes from sweet to savory. They are open 7 days a week and have a private room perfect for birthday parties or bridal showers. They have a great selection of wines, beers, and even a mimosa station. I was definitely looking for some coffee and dessert, but there were so many crepes to choose from, it was impossible to pick just one. In addition to their regular flavors, they also have a crepe of the month. March's monthly special was the ever popular cookie butter! I decided to stick with traditional flavors, so in addition to my latte, I indulged in the Apple Cinnamon Creme Brulee, Dulce de Leche with Banana, and the Nutella with Strawberry and Banana. Hey, don't judge me! Crepes are irresistible!
So next time you are looking for something fun to do, be sure to check out Citycentre. There are some great festivals coming up in the next few months. For more information, be sure to check out their events calendar on their website or like them on Facebook.
About the Author
I like eating, traveling, and enjoying liquid libations. I'm all about great wines, signature cocktails, and local brews.