It seems Tilman Fertitta has his hand in everything these days. But I’m particularly happy about his latest project.
A collaboration between King Ranch and the Fertitta family, King Ranch Texas Kitchen opened in November 2020 in the space formerly occupied by Willie G’s (which has gone uptown to the Post Oak Hotel).
According to the restaurant’s website, “King Ranch Texas Kitchen fuses modern culinary innovations without forsaking the traditions of South Texas to create a distinctive dining experience. Homegrown Texas ranch meats, fresh Gulf seafood, and locally sourced produce are featured throughout the restaurant’s well-rounded menu.”
Upon entering, you’re completely immersed in Texas’ wilder days. Saddles, rope, kitschy murals and vintage photos adorn throughout. Chairs of sturdy wood and studded leatherette beckon diners; the King Ranch brand is ubiquitous. This is a place for fun occasions, special or otherwise.
I recently visited King Ranch Texas Kitchen with two friends for a Sunday brunch. The restaurant wasn’t completely full, yet the noise level was quite high. We couldn’t hear ourselves talk, so we made the most of it with cocktails.
A Grilled Pineapple Margarita really hit the spot. It combines tequila Blanco with Cointreau, pineapple syrup and fresh fruit juices, and is infused with grilled pineapple. It’s a delicious cocktail and we had two each.
(Next time I’m going for the Prickly Pear Rita-Tini. Why wouldn’t I, with small batch tequila, prickly pear liqueur, orange bitters, agave nectar and lime juice?)
Brunch is a fantastic value here. I was surprised at the reasonable prices. Two of us had the Country Fried Steak and Eggs, with potatoes as our side. All items were very tasty, but this dish doesn’t distinguish itself from the legions of others like it in Houston. (And they’re a bit stingy with the CFS gravy — just ask for more if you need it.)
Our third guest had the Sirloin Steak and Eggs. She ordered her steak “bloody rare” as I shuddered, but it came medium. She still liked it, but her eggs were missing when the plate was delivered! They brought them out quickly though.
Be warned: If you order Borracho Beans as a side dish, they’re so salty they cannot be consumed. At least they were that day. I hope they’re improved.
The main menu has several enticing items for lunch and dinner, including Vic & Anthony’s Crabcakes, Barbacoa Tacos, Smoked Brisket Queso, King Ranch Country Fried Quail, Akaushi Brisket, a Tomahawk Pork Chop (grilled or Southern fried) and a Cajun Spiced Whole Gulf Coast Redfish.
And the answer to the question everyone must be asking: Do they serve King Ranch Casserole? As a matter of fact, they do. Kind of. Here the classic recipe is fashioned into King Ranch Chicken “Casserole” Enchiladas, and I’ve read raves.
This is still a new restaurant, so you might expect a few service kinks. On our visit cocktails took a long time to get to us, and the flatware service should have included a spoon. But when you leave, be sure to check out the gift shop!
King Ranch Texas Kitchen
1605 Post Oak Blvd.
Houston, TX 77056