Located in trendy Wedgewood/Houston, Bastion is helmed by Josh Habiger, who launched The Catbird Seat years ago. Obviously, he’s an excellent chef—but he’s also approachable in a way that’s rare for a chef of his caliber. He likes talking to people, which is why he kept the same chefs-as-servers style for Bastion that Catbird Seat uses. He also doesn’t take himself too seriously, which means pho pop-ups and movie nights occur frequently at the restaurant. Most importantly, Habiger has an uncanny ability to balance familiar flavors with ingredients you’ve never heard of. Some recent winners on the menu included fennel/pear salad with brown butter, scallop crudo with buttermilk and tarragon, and lamb tartare wrapped in shiso leaves for a umami extravaganza. Exposed brick, a casual semi-circle bar (where you should request to sit), and a turntable spinning Habiger’s own vinyl selection lend an air of modernity without pretension.

On the bar side—a funky, spacious spot—you can pair top-notch cocktails with just one thing: the best nachos in town. Pulled pork, melted cheese, radishes, pickled onions, and an avocado crema combine to make an appetizer that has no equal.

Tip: If you know your party’s too precious for a tasting, book The Feast. It’s part tasting menu, part greatest hits, served family-style for four to six people. You can also BYOB for a reasonable $25 corkage fee per bottle, which makes it by far the best tasting menu to brown-bag booze with.