A welcoming staff, inviting décor and promising young chef made 17 a great place for culinary aficionados.

Overall Impression : 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.

Named for the 17 railroads that met by the sea, the restaurant’s menu highlighted fresh local produce including gulf shrimp, crawfish, crab, red snapper with a Texas and southwest style. There were also more surprising options including Asian and Indian touches such as basmati rice, lemongrass and coconut milk. A welcoming staff, inviting décor and promising young chef made 17 a great place for culinary aficionados.

About The Executive Chef A Key West native, Armstrong grew up in Maryland where at the age of 15 he began working at a crab shack. By 18, he was at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute. After graduation he worked at Christopher’s, Aubergine, the Domaine Restaurant Group, Troquet Restaurant, Red Pearl Kitchen, and later Whist Restaurant.

Executive Chef Jeff Amstrong

Handicapped Access Yes

Location In the lobby of the Sam Houston Hotel in downtown Houston

Opened-Renovated January 17, 2004

Owned Barbara and Randall Smith

Pastry Chef : Otto Sanchez, whose experience included The Houstonian Hotel & Spa, Redwood Grill, and La Madeleine.

Restaurant Manager Michael Scherzberg

Size Could seat 100

Type Of Restaurant American with regional and an international influence

Wine Steward Patrick Davila (director of food and beverage)

DÉCor-Ambiance : Designers from Las Vegas-based Avery Brooks & Associates were responsible for the interior look. The barrel vaulted ceiling and walls (silk) were accented in deep red. The result was at an attractive and lively modern setting, especially for the young at heart.

Cellars Wine And Alcoholic Beverage Selection The restaurant offered 525 wines by the bottle from around the world. There was a major focus on wines from California , Bordeaux , Burgundy , Italy and Australia . There was a selection of dessert wines, port and Madeira dating back to the 1800’s.

Meal Our seared fois gras with pineapple, coriander seed, and pink peppercorn gastrique was well prepared, the gulf shrimp curry with coconut milk, lemongrass, basmati rice and crispy shallots was delicious and hotter than aTexas summer. The desserts were a worthy reward after a day of touring and discovery.

Special Menus A tasting menu for the entire table was available

Other Named one of “Best New Restaurants of ’04” November Esquire magazine

Reservations Required Yes

Date Of Review October 2004

Service Though 17 was full the midweek night we were there, the service was attentive, patient, efficient and helpful.

Would You Dine There Again-Recommend It? Yes

Contact Information

  • Address:
    • 1117 Prairie Street
    • Houston , TX 77002
  • Phone:
    • 1.877.348.8800
    • 1.832.200.8888
  • Fax:
    • 1.832.200.8811
  • Website:
    • N/A
  • Email:
    • N/A