Houston’s best places to dine out or take out on Thanksgiving.
By Joanna O’Leary
Maybe last year you burned the turkey, your gravy was full of lumps, and your stuffing lacked flavor. Maybe just the thought of timing the preparation of traditional sides and the bird brings on a panic attack. Or maybe it’s been a really rough month, and the only thing you have energy left for is stuffing your face and slipping into a post-prandial, tryptophan-induced nap.
If any of the aforementioned apply to you, treat yourself and your loved ones to Thanksgiving takeout, or just dine out on Turkey Day. “Nothing will be open,” your mother-in-law may crow. But you can give thanks that she is very wrong, for Houston has multiple options for those not up to cooking. Remember to check with restaurants regarding order deadlines, seating times, and reservations.
In addition to selling whole roasted turkeys, Rainbow Lodge is offering an extensive array of side dishes for takeout—green beans with shallots, cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables, as well as their famous croissant bread pudding with bourbon sauce. Those looking for a protein alternative to turkey should consider ordering a whole roasted suckling pig, duck, or goose. Rainbow Lodge will also be serving a three-course prix-fixe menu on Thanksgiving Day with traditional items (turkey, cranberry sauce, dressing) as well as less-customary mains such as sea scallops and rainbow trout.
Ousie’s Table may not be open on Thanksgiving Day, but they still want to feed you. The restaurant’s Turkey Day takeout menu gives patrons a choice of garlic-and-pepper-crusted prime rib (accompanied by aioli, tarragon mustard, and horseradish cream sauces), honey-glazed ham, and roasted turkey with gravy, all of which comes with two sides and a dessert. I recommend eschewing the standard sides in favor of the lobster mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, or stilton salad, and indulging in the apple streudel with caramel sauce for dessert. And if Thanksgiving is one of a handful of days in the year when you break from your carb-phobic diet, pick up a dozen of Ouisie’s gingerbread or spicy cayenne biscuits.
Laurenzo’s is keeping it simple for you this Thanksgiving by assembling to-go packages with prime rib or ham, two sides (creamed corn, macaroni and cheese, butter peas, or garlic mashed potatoes), and a whole loaf of bread. Packages are priced according to the size of your dinner party, and customers can elect to also buy a whole key lime pie or some appetizers and snacks in the form of chile con queso or guacamole.
One of the few places in H-Town where you can get a whole Cajun fried turkey for Thanksgiving, Mandola’s has assembled a takeaway meal comprised of the aforementioned plus three sides (standouts of which include the creamed-spinach casserole, parmesan potatoes, and fresh cranberry sauce), as well as dessert (banana key lime pie, bread pudding, or pumpkin pie).
For a French-inflected Thanksgiving, you can head to Bistro Provence, whose Thanksgiving lunch spans three courses comprising options including pumpkin soup, ribeye with Bordelaise sauce and cauliflower puree, turkey breast with sage and corn stuffing, sweet potatoes, and ginger cranberry relish, pumpkin pie, and cinnamon-bread pudding. And bring the kids—the Bistro is also offering a special discounted children’s menu. Francophiles should also consider Brasserie du Parc, whose dine-in Turkey Day dinner menu features a brie tart with shaved pear, turkey with mushrooms and cognac gravy, risotto with fall vegetables and truffle oil, and caramelized apple crepe. The Brasserie is also accepting to-go orders for many of its à la carte items, as well as turkey with all the fixin’s priced per person.
Finally, if you’re unable to reunite with your Jewish grandmother this weekend, an admirable substitute for her cooking can be found in Kenny & Ziggy’s massive selection of dozens of yenta-approved noshes for takeout, such as mini sweet-potato pancakes; spinach, onion, and leek kugel; carrot soufflé; chocolate bobka bread pudding; as well as (natch) a 20-pound bird, carved at your request.