Restaurant News

An Upscale Italian Destination Opens in Downtown Houston

Potente is open at 1515 Texas
Potente is open at 1515 Texas Photo courtesy of Potente reps
Luxury is the name of the game at Houston Astros owner Jim Crane's highly anticipated restaurant Potente, a high-end Italian eatery that's officially open in the 500 Crawford building across from Minute Maid Park. Potente will also be followed by the opening of Crane's adjacent, casual trattoria, Osso & Kristalla, on February 20. Both concepts are named after Crane's children.

The dining compound  features an all-star team, that's for sure: Executive chef Michael Parker is Crane's own personal chef and head of dining operations at Floridian National Golf Club (which Crane also owns). Born in England, Parker came of age in the kitchen at Michelin-starred The Waterside Inn and sought a culinary degree from Bournemouth and Poole College in Dorset. He has cooked for four presidents and the Queen of England during his illustrious career, which includes time at several high-end resorts, including LA's Central Plaza and Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas.

Chef du cuisine Michael Rideout has an impressive résumé, with stints at Tarakaan, Reef and Kuu, and pastry chef David Berg brings his dessert and bread expertise over from Tony's.

click to enlarge Get ready for Potente's branzino with cauliflower and crabmeat - PHOTO COURTESY OF POTENTE
Get ready for Potente's branzino with cauliflower and crabmeat
Photo courtesy of Potente
The Northern Italian menu at Potente features daily seafood selections, homemade pastas, dry-aged steaks and a signature veal osso buco. The wine list promises deep Italian selections and California's finest.

Heading up the operations is Bill Floyd, an alum of Jean Georges Vongerichten (and also owner of Jackson Street BBQ and co-owner of Reef), and general manager Lauren Hernandez.

The restaurant has been designed by the Houston outpost of architectural giant Gensler, and is meant to invoke the feel of a modern Italian villa, including a large bar area, a terrace and three private dining rooms, one that's a wine room with a chef’s table only accessible via the kitchen.

Potente's kid sister, Osso & Kristall, will feature an open kitchen and "soft rustic space" for more casual eats, including breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner. Again, it opens on February 20.

1515 Texas
Open nightly at 5 p.m. Reservations at 713-237-1515. Online at

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Gwendolyn Knapp is the food editor at the Houston Press. A sixth-generation Floridian, she is still torn as to whether she likes smoked fish dip or queso better.