The week so far has been full of good news, bad news and idle speculation. In other words, buckle up for a bumpy ride of a round-up.
First is news from B4-U-Eat that Portugallia -- the city's only Portuguese and Angolan restaurant -- closed quietly last week. The restaurant we reviewed in February 2012 offered great Portuguese fare but suffered from unsteady service and an odd location along Westheimer. Its outdoor waterfall will certainly be missed, but we hope another restaurant is able to make use of the pretty little spot.
Palm Restaurant is also closed, but as Greg Morago at the Houston Chronicle reported earlier this week, it's only temporary. The Galleria-area steakhouse, which originally opened in 1978, is remodeling and will unveil its new design sometime this summer.
In other steak-y news, Texas de Brazil Churrascaria is now open at CityCentre. This is the first Houston location for the Dallas-based steakhouse, and it's celebrating by offering a free dessert to every paying diner through April 30 and caipirinha cocktails on the house -- even if you're not eating -- through April 15.
In other opening news, La Madeleine announced in a press release this week that it would add between eight and 10 new stores to the Houston market over the next few years. Like Texas de Brazil, the French chain is also based in Dallas. In addition to giving a few of its older restaurants fresh facelifts, La Madeleline also has added a few new dishes for spring like its mini croque trio (turkey, bacon and tomato, chicken pesto, and traditional croque monsieur) and an orange dream cake with toasted almonds.
Looking ahead into future openings, Eater Houston reports that yet another Woodrow's is taking over yet another Washington Avenue space. The old Mardi Gras Grill on Dunham became Woodrow's Heights last year, and now the old Block 7 Wine Company is transforming into a Little Woodrow's. It will be the sixth Little Woodrow's location in Houston. The other Woodrow's -- both Big Woodrow's and Woodrow's Heights -- are owned and operated independently. This time next year, look for half the empty bar and restaurant spaces in Houston to also become Woodrow's of some kind. It's inevitable at this point.
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Eater Houston also reports that chef David Grossman of the now-closed Branch Water Tavern and girlfriend/partner Julia Sharaby are close to signing a lease that would move Sharaby's former food truck, Fusion Tacos, into the recently-vacated Les Givrals space on Market Square. The new location for Fusion Tacos would mark the latest in a string of high-profile downtown openings along Main Street and Market Square, although it's a bit of an odd choice. Fusion Tacos was one of the first food trucks in Houston but one of the least successful, and hasn't been on the streets in more than a year. The truck was notoriously unreliable (and we're not talking about its engine) and offered fairly poor customer service when it was out and about. Perhaps a brick-and-mortar location will suit the taco-slingers better, though.
In happier news, Ramen Tatsu-ya is encouraging rumors that it's considering a second location in Houston. The Austin-based ramen shop even Tweeted yesterday: "This is NOT set in stone, but keeping eyes open..."