So Delicious, a Caveman Could Eat It: 10 Paleo-Friendly Restaurant Menus in Houston
It's reader request time around here, and this week's reader request was for a list of paleo-friendly restaurants around Houston. (See, you do love our lists. Yes you do.)
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt The Birdie Galore at Cafe TH: roasted chicken over all the vegetables you could ever want.
Although I don't adhere to the paleo diet, many of my good friends do. Here's an explanation of the nutritional regimen in a nutshell, for the uninitiated: The paleo (short for "paleolithic") diet encourages the consumption of foods which advocates claim were abundant in the diets of paleolithic-era peoples. Fish, seafood, grass-fed meats, eggs, vegetables, fruits, mushrooms (and other fungi), roots, seeds and nuts are all fair game. It discourages consumption of foods that cavemen wouldn't have had access to: gluten of any kind, grains, legumes, dairy products, potatoes, refined salt, refined sugar, processed oils and basically any and all processed foods.
To go into all the pros and cons of eating a paleo diet would take all day. Suffice it to say the diet has its proponents and its detractors. Neither I nor Eating...Our Words are advocating any kind of diet except the kind of diet where you're doing the healthiest things you can for your body. If paleo is that diet for you, here's a list of places that make it easy to stick to your clubs. (Cavemen didn't have guns.)
It's on the pricey end -- and you may have qualms about the whole Bruce Molzan angle -- but the new restaurant offers a rather large paleo section on Molzan's menu that's been getting rave reviews from everyone I know who's tried it. Look for dishes such as Paleo Paella with grated cauliflower rice, housemade chorizo, organic chicken, crispy salmon, shrimp and mussels cooked down with saffron, tomatoes, coconut milk, coconut oil and jalapeños, or a Turkey Bolognese with spaghetti squash noodles, tomato sauce with ground turkey, fresh herbs, basil, EVOO, shaved Parmesan and grilled asparagus. If you're super strict, just ask them to leave the Parm off.
Much of the menu at Roots Bistro is naturally paleo-friendly, as it focuses on raw, vegan and vegetarian dishes with a modern, upscale twist. There's still plenty of meat to be found, though. Try appetizers such as smoked mushrooms or sauteed Jerusalem artichokes with beet puree and pesto, or entrees such as roasted chicken with market-fresh vegetables and a pesto made with kale and sunflower seeds.
Sammy's Wild Game Grill
Photo by Troy Fields Wild game is plentiful at Sammy's.
The paleo diet strongly encourages consumption of wild game, which is naturally very high in protein and which contains higher levels of omega-3 fats than domesticated meat sources. While Sammy's does offer plenty of wild game burgers and hot dogs, the real appeal here for paleo adherents is its salad section: You can get nearly any animal on a salad here. Llama, elk, antelope, venison, buffalo, kangaroo, ostrich -- anything goes.
As with Corner Table, chef and owner Minh Nguyen has devoted a large section of Cafe TH's menu to a paleo section, which Nguyen calls "Fan Specials." A logo next to many of the items indicates that they have been "Washington Gym-approved," referring to a gym that's a favorite of many paleo adherents in Houston, which makes choosing a dish even easier. You can also add extra meat to any of the dishes, like the "Squamicelli," which replaces noodles with spaghetti squash for a delicious paleo version of bun (your choice of chargrilled pork, chicken or beef).
Not only does the grocery side of Georgia's (both downtown and in Memorial) carry an abundant selection of paleo-approved grass-fed meats, the buffet at both locations features a great daily selection of paleo-friendly food for very little dough.