: Dishes at Bank were expertly prepared and delightful. Though no one is perfect all the time, Bank’s ability to consistently serve outstanding food on a regular basis was noteworthy. The décor was eclectic, warm and elegant with an exotic dash. The dining room, housed in a former bank lobby, was an inviting place to linger and savor our meal. Service staff were attentive and eager to please and the ambiance provided privacy including a relaxed and quiet atmosphere where meaningful conversation was inspired.
Established in 1900 under the auspices of the Houston Public School Art League, this Houston institution was the fifth largest art exhibition space in the country when we visited it last. Housing more than 48,000 works of art and hosting more than two million visitors per year, the Museum could have been over large, over busy or overwhelming. Instead and in spite of its size it was welcoming, uncluttered and a delight to visit. There was ample space for the art and for visitors.
: For those wishing or needing to stay in downtown Houston , the recently renovated historic Sam Houston Hotel, offered many pluses. The city’s oldest hotel restored to its original state as a luxury boutique hotel was named for General Sam Houston, Texas’ first president. We prized the character and old Texas feel combined with modern sleek elements of the décor, the prime location, the attention to detail, focus on comfort and practicality for the business traveler and the gourmet dining option it offered.
: A bustling restaurant with a happening crowd, 17 offered well presented, well served, and well prepared gourmet American food in an attractive setting. The Sam Houston Hotel’s enthusiastic young chef, Jeff Amstrong, combined adventurous flavors and old favorites for a rewarding and tasty meal. He successfully emphasized local seafood with spicy accents. He also offered continental options like rich foi gras (goose or duck liver) with roast pineapple and a pink peppercorn sauce and hearty American short ribs.
: Trellis, Houston ’s large and luxurious entry into the burgeoning spa market was every bit as soothing and relaxing as we had hoped. The Mediterranean style Trellis building was stylish and tranquil inside and out. After a brief wait at the reception desk, we passed beyond the arrival area and were enchanted with the quiet and bright feel inside the building. As we made our way to prepare for our half day’s worth of treatments, the ambiance, enhanced by a floating pool and Japanese style stream, wooed us. We encountered spotless and well appointed ladies locker rooms including a steam room and a Jacuzzi.
Dinner at this long famous Houston restaurant was full of eclectic culinary surprises, satisfying and savory at once. In spite of a busy full house the Tuesday night we were there, the servers were attentive, circumspect and efficient. Many in the crowded restaurant appeared to be regulars. Our meal was a crescendo of flavors from mild crab to zesty red fish, concluding with a tasty and perfectly prepared lamb and later a lemon themed dessert.