The pandemic served up disaster on a silver platter to the Houston dining scene. But it also made restaurateurs more clever and the most devoted local foodies even hungrier for the occasional luscious indulgence. If ever we needed over-the-top extravagance — or to support the restaurants that serve it — it’s now.

Czar gazing

It’s easy to live like a royal at Turner’s, restaurateur Benjamin Berg’s clubby canteen set in the ground floor of The Annie Café & Bar, where caviar, oysters and cocktails reign. Tableside formalities extend even to an haute hot dog. Chef Robert Del Grande’s menu oozes excess, including dishes such as Dover sole, but it’s the old-school Lobster Thermidor, $78, that really steals the show. 1900 Post Oak, 713-804-1212;

Bouzy hound

The new cheese and charcuterie menu at a’Bouzy, the River Oaks champagne gulch, includes craveable savories such as Humboldt Fog goat cheese, Point Reyes blue cheese, truffled pecorino, Italian spec, mortadella, salamis and bresaola with add ons. About 30 options in total, priced individually or have them all on the “Ball’s Out Bouzy Board” for $100. 2300 Westheimer, 713-722-6899;

Winner dinner

Brennan's Houston Truffle Chicken

The simple joys of roasted chicken are taken to new heights at Brennan’s of Houston, where executive chef Joey Chavez stuffs his whole bird with a mix of truffle mousse, foie gras and cornbread. Deeply bronzed, it is presented in grand fashion tableside. It’s on the chef’s five-course tasting menu, $80 per person, $155 per person with wine accompaniments. 3300 Smith, 713-522-9711;

Board chairman

The indulgent spectacle that chef Chris Shepherd first introduced at his One Fifth Steak can be found at Georgia James. The steakhouse’s baller boards, loaded with beef, whole fish, King crab legs and caviar (they change daily) still elicit oohs and aahs. So grab your friends — it takes a minimum of four guests — and enjoy the ride. Price varies, usually about $100 per person. 1100 Westheimer, 832-241-5088;

Bottled bond

Bartender-owner Alba Huerta knows how to shake up the luxe at her boutique cocktail boîte Julep. Her Bottled in Bond presentation, which serves four, is a decanter filled with a Southern riff on the Manhattan, presented with small dishes of bourbon-infused cherries, chocolate and Marcona almonds. It’s $75, $100 if you want to keep the decanter. 1919 Washington, 713-869-4383;

Bella Donna

Houston has no shortage of great places for platters of oysters and high-roller bottles of bubbles. But Spritz Patio — the clever pop-up al fresco fun spot run by Rosie Cannonball folks on the patio of sister honky-tonk Goodnight Charlie’s — serves both with sass. The Donna Meagle, named for the “Parks and Recreation” character, is a dozen oysters served with a bottle of Krug. It’s $200 — go ahead, “treat yo self!” 2531 Kuester, 832-380-2471;

Fire and ice

The old-school showstopper Baked Alaska gets a memorable, modern reinterpretation at Aaron Bludorn’s upscale Bludorn. Pastry chef Alejandra Salas has constructed her showy bombe with house-made pistachio and raspberry ice creams meticulously slathered in meringue that is set afire tableside. Priced at $21, it is a fabulous big-night-out treat. 807 Taft, 713-999-0146;