3 Houston restaurants named to list of America’s best wine restaurants

One Fifth Houston (Photo Credit: Julie Soefer Photography)
One Fifth Houston (Photo Credit: Julie Soefer Photography)

HOUSTON – Three of our beloved Houston restaurants -- One Fifth, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse and Theodore Rex --were added to the Wine Enthusiast Magazine list of America’s Best Wine Restaurants of 2019.

The editor’s criteria for the list is extremely coveted, “This list isn’t a ranking, nor is there a matrix of number of bottles, prices or types of food. Instead, it is a selection of restaurants where wine is shared and celebrated, and where, in our experiences, the selection, food, service and atmosphere are all exceptional.”

One Fifth

One Fifth has only a five-year lease at the historic 1658 Westheimer, but it has allowed for an innovative restaurant experience like never before. Each year a different concept is open from Sept. 1 until July 31, while the restaurant closes all of August for renovations. The restaurant is currently One Fifth Mediterranean, but has previously been One Fifth Steak and One Fifth Romance Languages (French, Spanish and Italian). With the new concept comes an entirely different restaurant: “The building décor will change, the menu and wine list will change, staff uniforms will change.”

According to One Fifth’s sommelier, Matthew Pridgen, “Our Mediterranean concept has forced me out of my wine comfort zone and into countries and regions that I was not overly familiar with. It has been a fun learning experience exploring wines from Turkey, Lebanon -- that aren’t Chateau Musar -- and Israel, Morocco, Armenia, etc. These are wines that I’ve rarely, if ever, been asked about and therefore never really explored personally.”

Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

The Pappas brothers are a restaurateur name all around Houston, having opened their first restaurant in 1976. Pappas Bros. Steakhouse is known not only for their meat, but also service, desserts, sides and now wine. Pappas Bros. has a cellar with around 4,000 wine selections as wine director, Steven McDonald became a master sommelier just last year. McDonald said, “As we see a new generation of wine drinkers, they are exploring classic regions of the world with enthusiasm: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Barolo, etc. It’s simply our job to give them a guided tour of the wine world.”

Theodore Rex

Theodore Rex aims to use local ingredients at its relaxed modern bistro. As close friends and co-workers beverage director, Justin Vann and chef/owner, Justin Yu - work together to ensure the food and wine pairing is perfect. With their menu being a fresh eclectic mix and having many potential wine options, Vann said, “We really believe the future of wine is the seamless integration of the best of both worlds.”

Other Texas restaurants on the list include: Bullion (Dallas) Cabernet Grill Texas Wine Country Restaurant (Fredericksburg) Flora Street Café (Dallas) Gemma (Dallas) Maverick Texas Brasserie (San Antonio)