Last weekend I had a special treat when my friend and fellow 2DG blogger Jeff Wagg was in Houston on business. Jeff has a pretty rough week ahead of him, working with the annual Offshore Technology Conference, and probably had not caught up on his rest after arranging the great trip to the Galapagos Islands, Quito, and the Amazon rainforest from March, that I’ve been writing about. When he called Saturday afternoon, I ventured into downtown to take him out to dinner. Trying to pick from the many great restaurants and assorted ethnic and international cuisines, I realized I was driving by one of my favorite places in the midtown area – Brennan’s.
Brennan’s has been in Houston for over 40 years and is a sister restaurant to the famous Commander’s Palace in New Orleans (where Emeril Lagasse once worked as executive chef). I had eaten here a couple times, nearly always choosing their signature crab cakes (described as ‘crab held together with crab, surrounded by crab” with delicate spices and a tiny bit of sweet corn for crunch). in 2008, while I huddled in my home and watched Galveston drown under the Gulf during Hurricane Ike, Brennan’s caught fire and burned completely, leaving only the brick shell. Even the magnificent live oak, which shaded the French Quarter-style patio, was lost.
Like a Phoenix, the place rose from its ashes in early 2010. The patio is back, with two large oaks planted to replace the original tree, and the rest of the restaurant still exhibits the elegance and atmosphere that made Brennan’s a place for special occasions. I was happy that we were able to get in, especially since we weren’t dressed for the occasion. They did put us in the back of the upper level, though. Which was OK, because we overlooked the patio and watched as the sunset changed the colors of the trees and brick, and the gas lights came on to cast a glow on the scene.
After we finished dinner, starting with turtle soup – with a splash of sherry on top, crab cakes, and something with crawfish stuffed quail and shrimp in a court bouillon) followed by a table-side order of Bananas Foster, we adjourned to the bar for an after-dinner drink. Striking up a conversation with our bartender, we discovered that he had been to the same lodge in the Amazon rainforest that we had been to only a month ago! His trip was with his father, almost 10 years ago, but considering that the Sacha Lodge has a small capacity, we thought this was a fairly amazing coincidence. You never know who you will meet, or what you will learn, if only you are open and willing to engage people.
Brennan’s is often described as an ‘upscale’ place, and it’s an hour’s drive from my house, so it’s not a place that I frequently. I’m really glad Jeff gave me an opportunity to show it off, and hoped he enjoyed the place as much as I did!
- Commander’s Palace chef wins James Beard award for Best Chef: South (wwltv.com)
- Best Barbeque in Texas – Fine Dining in the Oil Field (twodifferentgirls.com)
- OTC Guide to Houston’s restaurants and entertainment (fuelfix.com)
- Near the Middle of the World (twodifferentgirls.com)