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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Southern, Modern
Upmarket restaurant

Mon–Sat 11:00am–2:00pm
Mon–Sat 5:45pm–10:00pm
Sun 10:00am–2:00pm
Sun 5:45pm–10:00pm

Features Date-friendly, live music, outdoor dining
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted


3300 Smith St.
Houston, TX
(713) 522-9711
Brennan’s of Houston
Welcome back to an old-South class act

When Brennan’s—of the New Orleans nobility that owns Commander’s Palace—was destroyed by a fire in 2008, Houston mourned one of its oldest traditions: paying exorbitant amounts of money to dine on classic Creole-influenced dishes pomped and served amid historic, exceedingly charming circumstances. Happily, the old building has been faithfully restored, right down to the oak that shades the garden patio, a French Quarter replica sans litter and graffiti. Inside, well-spaced tables and warm lighting fill the many large rooms, each tastefully and chicly decorated.

We find the food even better this time around, if their prices are still somewhat indefensible. Gumbo sports a superior dark roux and intoxicating filé; Gulf seafood is expertly cooked; sauces are aptly reduced and intense; and you may never have better-textured grits west of the Mississippi. The glut of butter and cream here is artfully balanced, often by the well-placed vegetable. Sometimes, however, the emperor wears no clothes; Brennan’s bastion of opulence, turtle soup, is more about the copious cream and sherry-splashed sweetness than it is about the merits of that particular meat.

The wine list has swept some undeniable bottles into its grandiose net, but prepare to pay handsomely; service is professional and capable as ever. Since you’re here, you must end with Brennan’s infamous bananas Foster—the original tableside gimmick, but one we would have missed.

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