"It looks like Prince exploded in that place," sneered a male friend of mine about the over-the-top decor inside the new Nosh Bistro on Kirby at Highway 59. It's not over the top in the way that the now-closed Zula on Main or Américas on Post Oak once were, during the height of the ostentatious early '90s. Nor is it over the top in the way that the new Américas on West Gray now is: purposefully zany, flamboyantly bold.
Nosh's bright interior packs a punch of purple velvet, mother-of-pearl tile, oversized silver booths and a sleek white bar that anchors the slim space. It has personality to spare. And at a time when so many bars and restaurants are aiming for "industrial modern" looks that lay bare every component from concrete to ducts, it's easy to see why this opulent little space can look overdone by comparison.
But as with all things, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
That was my opinion as well. I find that Nosh Bistro looks like the kind of velvet-lined jewelry boxes I coveted as a little girl, with plush nooks for tucking in sparkling rings and a beveled mirror inside the lid to admire your finery.
There's something indulgent and inviting about dining in such a space, too. Something that counteracts all the hard, steely edges of the brick-and-beam spaces that have opened in the past year: Underbelly, Mongoose versus Cobra, Blacksmith, The Hay Merchant, Uchi.
There's room for both kinds of dining rooms in Houston. Indeed, there's room for a multitude of different dining rooms here, which is almost half the fun of eating out.
You're not just there for a change of cuisine, after all -- you're there for a change of scenery, too, whether it be the soaring ceilings and colorfully modern decor inside Decco Cafe or the low-slung, Shire-like quarters of Hobbit Cafe.
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"It feels a little like Alice in Wonderland in here," my dining companion said during a recent visit to Nosh Bistro. Whether that's a good or a bad thing is up to you to decide.