ReikiNa, 799 Town and Country Boulevard, will open at CityCentre July 15. The new tasting menu concept comes from Thomas Stacy, a former prep cook at the high-end sushi restaurant Uchi. The idea began as a series of private home dinners which Stacy hosted during the COVID-19 pandemic. While working at Uchi, a group of friends asked him to prepare a meal at his home. That 10-course meal became a weekly tasting dinner at his Montrose apartment, leading to the Houston native opening ReikiNa eight months later.
The opening menu hints at what to expect from this young chef and his crew. The eight-course tasting begins with an oyster with sake mignonette emulsion and cilantro oil and a petite plate of yellowtail tuna with pineapple vierge and Lemondrop melon. Other tasty tidbits, like chicken liver mousse with lychee reduction and radish kimchi and smoked buttered eggplant with goat cheese, follow. CharSiu pork is served with cherry bao and pickled fennel while the sweet ending is a matcha white chocolate mousse with nectarine sorbet.
The restaurant was designed by Cat Matthews of FOUND For the Home and features a 105-foot gallery wall of artwork from local artists. As each tasting menu changes very six weeks, so will the art, which is available for purchase. The artists keep 100 percent of sales from their work. For the opening, ReikiNa's gallery wall will showcase Houston artists Terry Suprean, Stephanie Gonzalez and Alex Larsen. For the music, an important part of the ReikiNa experience, Stacy will use his personal collection of more than 400 vinyl records to provide a unique musical accompaniment for each dinner.
For now, ReikiNa’s tasting menu will be available by reservation only. Stacy plans to add a second seating time soon, along with two options for walk-in guests.
The restaurant's menu explores the less discovered regions of Italy and will offer a sophisticated atmosphere reminiscent of a modern restaurant you would find tucked away in Italy. Both small and large plates will allow guests to share, or not.
The curated Italian wine list focuses on verticals to highlight the effect of age on a particular varietal. The list showcases a selection of the best wines from Italy and a variety of other regions in the United States, France, and South Africa. Italian-inspired cocktails will be part of the bar program including a few variations of Negroni and Aperol Spritz. Signature cocktails like La Vita é Bella with vodka, cappelletti, raspberry, lemon, and orange will transport guests to the sandy beaches and seaside resorts of The Adriatic.
Concura will feature an intimate open kitchen concept and a dining space with lime-washed walls. In keeping with Biondi's fashion and design background, the restaurant will have iconic Italian designer pieces like the Sesann sofa by Tacchini and a black and white piece by Ferdinando Scianna.
Concura has been a dream project for Biondi for the past decade and is a tribute to the Italian way of life, something that is in Biondi's blood. "You’ll see once you enter the restaurant, but the intimate atmosphere will be unique to us. From the seating arrangements to the way you can interact with the kitchen – everything. I wasn’t willing to cut corners on what some might consider small details," she said. "Think of Concura as a place you come to gather with friends. The inviting atmosphere will make you feel comfortable and right at home. Eat, drink, and feel Italiano – that’s our motto."
Collaborative Projects completed the build-out of the 4,000-square-foot space early this summer. The restaurant is located in the 66,000-square-foot Spring Branch Village shopping center which was redeveloped by Braun Enterprises in 2020. Letterset Houston designed the playful signage and graphics, displayed inside and outside the restaurant space.
"The pandemic and the economic climate over the past year have been exceptionally difficult for just about everyone, including people like us who are crazy enough to completely reinvent the restaurant experience," says Floyd. "We are absolutely stoked to be able to share our innovative concept with the people of Houston, especially the residents of our Spring Branch neighborhood, who have been cheering us on all along."
Shoot the Moon's tavern experience will include diverse food and drink choices served in a casual, comfortable atmosphere. McAnear developed the well-rounded menu which offers small plates, pizzas and healthy fare to suit a variety of tastes.
Floyd says that the STM experience eliminates the frustration of waiting for a bartender or server to place an order, giving guests a high level of control in the process. However, there will be staff available for those who need help in making a beverage decision. He explains the system. "Guests will check in, show IDs, open a tab, place their food order, and get a special card that activates the tap system. They’ll be able to select and pour their own drinks at their leisure, while their food is prepared and promptly delivered from our from-scratch kitchen, led by Chef Dax McAnear."
The dining menu offers fare that pairs well with the playful and family-friendly atmosphere. Pizzas are always a welcome favorite and Shoot the Moon has a choice of three different crust styles plus a gluten-free/Paleo option. Guests can keep it simple with just cheese or try one of the signature pies like the Taco Pizza with zesty beef, black beans, taco sauce, black olives and chipotle cream. The Dr. Strangelove has white sauce with pineapple, bacon and green olives. There are kid-friendly items like chicken fingers and beer-friendly choices such as chicken wings, fried cheese curds and baked sweet potato tots. For Keto followers, the Keto Shrimp and Grits is made with uncured sausage and cauliflower grits.
JOEY Uptown, 5045 Westheimer, will open July 28 at the Galleria. This is the first foray into Texas for the JOEY Restaurant Group which operates 30 JOEY Restaurants across Canada, Washington, California and now, the Lone Star State. Because everything is bigger in Texas, the Galleria location will be one of the largest one-story restaurants for the Canadian hospitality company. Besides its 10,288 square feet of interior space, the restaurant boasts a large outdoor patio with a retractable roof, making it an inviting spot for lingering martini lunches or a sultry Houston happy hour. Lush, green plants create a welcoming oasis in the climate-controlled outdoor space.
The interior is lined with natural finishes of wood, textured concrete, brushed brass, terrazzo, stone and leather, softened by more greenery and a living ceiling. The custom glass wine wall is filled with bottles and the Bocci lighting illuminates the ceiling sculptures, along with tons of natural light from the multitude of windows. Artwork from Texas-based Jon Flaming and portraits from Julian Opie ornament the walls.
according to GlobeNewswire. Guests can expect some of the menu items to be sourced locally as well.
Harris County General Store BBQ Co., 5434 Lawndale, celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon cutting July 14. It has been softly opened since mid-May when it began doing sneak previews. The revival of the restaurant, which was originally located under a railroad overpass on Navigation, is a much-anticipated event for its loyal fans. Its new space will offer over 3,000 square feet indoors and an expansive back yard with nearly twice the room as the interior. The covered patio looks out over an attractive green space with wooden tables and benches to relax with a plate of smoked meats and cold beer while watching the wild parrots that alight in the surrounding trees. The backyard will also be a place to play, with live music and other events to come. The owners have created a family-friendly space with the laid-back vibe of a Texas juke joint. And there's plenty of parking, a fact we all can appreciate nowadays.
The partners and shepherds of the next chapter of Harris County BBQ are pitmaster and operator Daniel P. Hinojosa and Houston restaurateur Al Flores, who will serve as legal advisor as well. Flores said in a press release, " We have deep roots in this neighborhood and we're determined to bring authentic Texas barbecue with East End corazon to all of Houston.. celebrating with a grand opening feels right. We are back and we are here to stay."
For those who have given up on bikinis and have surrendered instead to elastic-waist britches, the Fat Boy Sundae is a concoction that will knock out even the biggest appetite. It's a cup o' baked potatoes, mac 'n cheese, brisket and sausage, topped with a pork rib. If you always wanted to be called Roly-Poly, here's your chance.
Cafe TH, 2108 Pease, closed its doors July 15 for good, according to a post by owner Minh Nguyen. The Vietnamese restaurant first opened in the 1980s when Asian restaurants were still destination spots in Houston rather than the commonplace eateries they are now. In 2007, Chef Minh bought the restaurant. His welcoming personality and attention to detail, like great baguettes for sandwiches, made his restaurant a cozy spot for what many in Houston considered the best banh mi sandwiches. The Houston Press declared the restaurant to have the Best Banh Mi in 2013 as well as putting it on the list of 10 Best Vegan Friendly Restaurants in Houston in 2014. Minh was accommodating with his menu offering dishes that were gluten-free and dairy-free plus options for diners who were vegan or eating Paleo.
In the post, Minh said, " I have put forth almost 14 years of my life to make my vision of a Vietnamese cafe come true and it has been the best decision ever. From a financial crisis to a pandemic, it has been a wild roller coaster. Many of you have become my friends, family and beyond...The future is blurry but I will be back."
According to its Facebook page, the last couple of days have brought out numerous loyal customers to express their sorrow for the restaurant's closing and their appreciation for the years of good food and hospitality that Minh provided.
Simply Greek, 11702 Grant, has a sign out front that says it is opening soon. We have reached out for more information about a definite date but have yet to receive a response. According to its website, there are also two more locations planned for Westheimer and Copperfield in addition to the new Cypress spot. It currently operates three restaurants in Spring Branch, Katy and Midtown. The halal restaurant serves gyros, burgers and unique hot dogs plus Greek and Mediterranean specialties.
Craft Creamery, 1338 Westheimer, will officially open July 18, which also happens to be National Ice Cream Day. The locally-owned, chef-driven ice cream shop in Montrose will celebrate the launch of its official store and new brand identity by offering a free scoop to customers between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sunday, July 18th. Craft Creamery offers both savory and sweet flavors with weekly specials. It will feature several creative flavors July 11 through July 18 leading up to National Ice Cream Day including Oaxaca 'Hot' Chocolate, BBQ Brisket, Cacio e Pepe, Jalapeno Cornbread, Tomato Tarragon and Balsamic Strawberry.
"We are excited to officially launch our scoop shop and our new look to the city – we wanted to create an authentic space that offers the most creative flavors of ice cream, while offering guests an even more delightful experience through the magic of ice cream," explained owner Steve Marques.
There will also be a new website along with the re-branding, headed up by local branding agency, Design by Principle. Neutral colors reflect the authenticity and purity of the ingredients. The refreshed look is soft and warm giving a sweet welcome to customers.
Besides the shop, Craft Creamery ice cream is available at places such as BOH Pasta and Pizza, The Briar Club, The Pit Room and State Fare Kitchen & Bar, to name a few. The concept focuses on small-batch, French-pot-method ice cream made with a handful of ingredients, many of them locally-sourced. Classically trained in Europe, Marques has worked with some of the culinary world's biggest players including David Chang at Momofuku and Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin. Locally, he was the chef owner of The Burger Guys and executive chef for The Tasting Room and BRC as well as a sous chef at Eunice.
Marques and wife, Kim Kaase, dubbed the Chief Tasting Officer, created Craft Creamery with the idea of eating more "intentionally". The ice cream is made with Mill-King cream, farm eggs, sugar and real flavors. There are no gums, starches or concentrates. The ingredients, which are kept to a minimum, are sourced from the local region whenever possible.
Chef Hori limits the omakase to eight guests per night and reservations are a must. The price varies from $150 to $200 per person depending on that evening's menu. It is not available Sunday or Wednesday. Guests can make reservations through Resy and add a request for the omkase. The restaurant will contact the guest for confirmation. Reservations may also be made by calling the restaurant directly.
bellagreen, 5018 San Felipe, will open August 2. Last month we reported that the healthy and sustainable concept would be opening in the Galleria area this summer, here in the Houston Press. It is currently hiring for the new location.
First up this Sunday is Yelo. Chef Cuc Lam is offering Chile Verde Chicken Enchiladas topped with her renowned Thai-inspired Tiger Cry sauce and served with cilantro rice. It is available for order online or in person for pick-up Sunday July 18 only. Other upcoming participants include Brett's BBQ Shop which will offer 44 Farms Beef Cheek Enchiladas with homemade red chile sauce and cotija cheese July 25. Phat Eatery will have Curry Chicken Enchiladas August 1, made with a roti tortilla. Next up will be Frankie's Italian Kitchen with Lasagna Enchiladas made with Italian sausage, four cheeses, basil and Alfredo sauce, available August 8. The last enchilada special will be from Scholars and Scoundrels August 15. Its Pinche Gringo version will be made with short rib and Oaxaca and cotija cheeses, topped with house-made ranchero sauce.