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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Modern, Seafood
Upmarket restaurant

Mon–Thu 11:00am–10:00pm
Fri 11:00am–11:00pm
Sat 5:00pm–11:00pm

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


2600 Travis St.
Houston, TX
(713) 526-8282
Some of the best raw and cooked local-fish dishes in the city, with wine to match

At Reef, the city’s most diverse selection of Gulf fish is selected carefully, cleaned in-house, and astutely prepared. Much of the menu is static, but with seasonally changing twists and daily specials; raw dishes excel almost as much as the cooked. We still find the crispy-skinned snapper one of the best dishes in Houston, served with sweet and sour chard; we’ve also loved roasted grouper and spectacular dry-aged steak. Meats and fish are cooked with equal expertise, and dishes are artfully plated, but without venturing much into molecular-gastronomy territory; homemade rolls dusted with coarse salt sop up delicious sauces, old-school style. Blackfin tuna bacon can be unbearably salty at times, lunacy-inducing at others; mac and cheese, fried into a cute cube, tends to be dry and mealy inside, but these low points are rare (and not really all that low).

The dining room appears aquatic in its spare, wavy lines and lagoon shades; an open kitchen, city view, and high ceilings make for a vibrant—often very noisy—scene, and happy hour specials are a terrific draw. Still, service is some of the most professional and efficient around. Cocktails are largely of the fruity and clear-liquored variety; we’d take advantage, instead, of the outstanding wine list of small-production vineyards, marked up barely over retail. Now that’s Southern hospitality.

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