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Where the Chefs Eat

Grant Gordon, Matt Marcus and Kevin Naderi

In other news, Sarah Rufca at CultureMap reports that the old Dharma Cafe's new tenant — Cafe Brussels — is already open less than two weeks after Dharma closed its doors. Owner and former Broken Spoke chef Catherine Duwez "is serving a casual slate of the same Belgian comfort foods she made popular at Cafe Montrose and Broken Spoke Café," notes Rufca. "The lunch menu includes croques and other Belgian sandwiches starting at $7, and a Belgian lunch buffet is offered for $15."

Down in Alvin, critically lauded steakhouse Barbed Rose has decided to close shop and revamp itself as Coastal Crossing Grill, says Roy Schneider, director of marketing for the Alvin Restaurant Group. "We will be closing the Barbed Rose Steakhouse and Seafood Co. after dinner service on Saturday, June 30," Schneider wrote. In celebration of Independence Day, Coastal Crossing Grill will open in its place on July 4. Schneider says it plans to be a "Gulf Coast seafood house specializing in homemade Gulf Coast fare, from south of the border to the Florida Keys."

The closing, Schneider explained, was due in part to a desire to offer more competitively priced food in the area: "We wanted to create a restaurant that offered the quality cuisine we are known for, but make it more affordable and more approachable." Chef Jason Chaney will stay on, noting that he plans to use some of the same recipes presented "in a more casual and laid-back atmosphere."

The crisp, refreshing avocado tostada from La Gloria.
Katharine Shilcutt
The crisp, refreshing avocado tostada from La Gloria.
The tap list rivals those at Petrol Station and Mongoose versus Cobra.
Courtesy Brews Brothers
The tap list rivals those at Petrol Station and Mongoose versus Cobra.

Outer Loopers have their own "authentic" British bar now that pub prince Michael Holliday has opened The King's Head Pub on Eldridge Parkway near Briar Forest in far west Houston.

"People have been asking me to open a pub outside the Loop for years," said Holliday in a press release. "I found a good location in a beautiful area, so I did. The Energy Corridor is full of professionals and young business people as well as expats from all over Europe. We plan to offer them a comfortable, friendly meeting spot that also captures an authentic bit of home."

Holliday's new pub features a fireplace in one room and a 200-year-old King's Head Pub sign (an antique from London) in the other, with three more private party rooms and a dog-friendly patio. Back inside, guests will find a selection of European beers on tap, as well as a large selection of Texas microbreweries including Saint Arnold Cask served with the use of a British hand pump behind the 36-foot-long bar.

Finally, the long-awaited first location of Trader Joe's opened last week in The Woodlands.
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BAR BEAT

We Got the Brews
A new craft beer bar in Galveston.

BY KATHARINE SHILCUTT

Have you been to the Strand lately? Galveston's main pedestrian thoroughfare seems to have wilted somewhat despite the flurry of post-Ike rehabbing and renovation. The end of the Strand near Hendley Market is completely quiet these days. And at the opposite end, the Railroad Museum still stands sadly unopened after the hurricane that left this part of the island under eight feet of water in 2008.

I was there on Saturday night with my boyfriend and his family, getting reacquainted with some old favorites like La King's while simultaneously mourning the loss of a few places that are mere husks of themselves now, like the near-empty Peanut Butter Warehouse. We wanted to take his niece into Colonel Bubbie's and Hendley Market, but neither was open. I was starting to keen for a Strand that no longer holds much fascination when the boy suggested that we hit up Brews Brothers.

I felt better about the entire Strand from the moment we walked in and I was handed a half-pint of Dogfish Head Burton Baton in a Tinkerbell juice glass, slid to me across a bar that held a broken coffeepot as a tip jar.

Located next door to the interestingly named Mediterranean Chef Restaurant, Brews Brothers is a shotgun-style bar with a simple aesthetic that belies the goods within. It occupies the old Bacchus Wine Bar space and brings a much-needed type of bar to not just the Strand, but Galveston as a whole: a bonafide craft beer bar, with a tap list to rival those at Petrol Station and Mongoose versus Cobra and prices to rival the Lone Star Saloon (if poor old Lone Star sold Stone IPA).

And here's how you know Brews Brothers is serious about its craft beers, not just another tourist trap on the Strand: Proprietors Justin Strait and Wesley Critchlow kicked off the opening of their bar last fall with a "stout aged with oak from Galveston trees that were planted after the 1900 hurricane and knocked over by Hurricane Ike three years ago," reported Chronicle beer blogger Ronnie Crocker.

"I want to offer cask-conditioned Elissa just 200 feet from the Elissa," Strait told Crocker, in reference to the old wooden sailing ship that's docked only a few blocks away and the IPA made in its honor by Saint Arnold Brewing. Last Saturday night, I noticed not only the Elissa on one of Brews Brothers' chalkboards, but the far more difficult to get Homefront IPA.

Aside from just local Houston craft beers on tap, however, Brews Brothers offers everything from beautiful Belgians and serious sours to big guns like Stone Old Guardian and Clown Shoes Vampire Slayer (both of which were only $6 a pint). And behind the bar, the two bartenders — one in neon green glasses, the other a bear of a dude in a Hawaiian shirt and big beard — were dancing merry jigs half the night. Seriously. Merry jigs. Accompanied by the live band playing at the front of the house. And they only broke one glass the entire time but then went right on dancing. Brews Brothers might just be the best beer bar to work at in the greater Houston metro area, even if the bear bartender admitted that he gets occasionally frustrated by all the tourists requesting Miller Lite despite their carefully cultivated menu.

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