LOCAL Houston | The City Guide MAY 2015 - Page 18

Local May_Final.qxp_002houston 4/23/15 12:19 PM Page 18 Photography by Jodie Eisenhardt OPEN BUFFBURGER CHEF: Paul Buff | CUISINE: American 1014 Wirt Rd. | 713.447.4779 | www.buffburger.com Sun – Thurs: 11am–9pm; Fri – Sat: 11am–10pm Native Houstonian Sara Burden and her husband met after college in Vail as ski instructors. With his background in the restaurant industry combined with her agribusiness degree, the couple had an idea for an all-natural burger (au naturel – in the buff, get it?!). The concept features superior ingredients like 44 Farms Beef, chicken from Red Bird Farms, cheese from Houston Dairy Maids, buns by Slow Dough, housemade dressings and local brews. The strip center space on the feeder of I-10 at Wirt is sleek and modern, with reclaimed barn wood along one wall as a nod to Texas farms. Counter service keeps things simple. 6-oz. burgers are cooked to order (bonus!) and super juicy. Myriad topping choices abound. You can go classic or you can go gourmet with options like the goat cheese burger with roasted tomato, arugula and garlic aioli or the avocado burger with guac, roasted tomato, Piquillo peppers and spicy mayo. There’s a corn fritter sandwich for vegetarians (mighty good) and a stellar crispy chicken sandwich. Excellent salads include a wedge made with Point Reyes blue cheese BUFFBURGER, CHICKEN SANDWICH + FRIES and Duroc bacon. Oh, and the fries – do not forget the fries, which are hand-cut, thin and crispy thanks to a quick double-fry. The Burdens are betting that as people become more interested in what they’re actually eating and where it comes from, more locations will fill the need. Hormone- and antibiotic-free meats/high-quality ingredients do taste better, and my guess is that the tipping point has occurred. Happy me! Photography by Julie Soefer AÑEJO CHEF: Michael Pellegrino | CUISINE: Elevated Tex-Mex 1180 – 1 Uptown Park | 713.963.9032 | www.AnejoTexMex.com Hours: Mon – Wed: 11am–10pm; Thurs–Sat: 11am–11pm; Sun: 10am–10pm (brunch until 3pm) For Pellegrino, creating his menu was a way to pay homage and tribute to a beloved cuisine. (He was born in San Antonio, his mom is from Laredo, and he has memories of his uncles arguing over traditional cooking techniques.) He’s quick to point out that his process is via a modern path, crafted from the tiniest details and especially via quality ingredients and a high level of service that make Añejo special. “I’m making food the way I want to eat it,” says the chef, who gave such thought into every aspect of each dish, he came up with little burners for keeping shrimp brochette hot and yummy at the table – because he’s often the last in his family to get one. He also took time to get the thickness of the chips just right (the salsa and the customizable queso are perfection) and he wouldn’t dream of rolling an enchilada until a tortilla was grilled fresh from the dough with each order. For the fajitas, only prime beef would do – they’re thicker and beefier than your typical fajita. Also worth mentioning are other prime steak options, quail, fish and lamb from the wood-burning grill. You get the idea – and you can taste the love. Within the sexy walls that used to house Arturo’s Uptown, there are more than 100 highend tequilas and mescals (all 100% agave). By the way, they use local Texas honey-water vs. agave in the margari \