Restaurant News

A Brennan's Hatchling and Fancy Movie Food: CityCentre Updates

Studio Movie Grill is now open for business, the second of the anchor tenants to open up at CityCentre in west Houston.  CityCentre is the latest in a series of "town center" mixed-use developments that have sprung up around the city.

This one is slightly different from its cousins in Sugar Land, Pearland and Katy in that it's much more pedestrian-focused and has features that it hopes will attract people to its brand-new spaces: an upscale cinema, a wide variety of casual and high-end restaurants, and easy access to both Beltway 8 and the Katy Freeway.

The food at Studio Movie Grill is on par with places like Alamo Drafthouse, albeit in a slighly swankier setting.  Expect to drop $9 for a movie ticket, then another $10 for a decent glass of wine and just as much for an entree.  Buckets of beer and appetizers are a slightly better deal at $20 per bucket (containing five beers) and a build-your-own appetizer plate for $13.

Place your order before you go into the theater and it's brought to you during the previews, so as not to disturb the movie.  In the theater itself you'll find your own leather chair (which is frighteningly reminscent of the office chairs many of us sit in all day) and a coaster buzzer.  If you find yourself needing a refill or anything else during the movie, just use your buzzer and a server will come take care of you.

But if dinner and movie isn't your thing, the Brennan's family will also be opening a brand-new outpost at CityCentre.

Bistro Alex -- a sleek, modern bistro that's the brainchild of Brennan-Martin --  will join other restaurants such as Ra Sushi, Brio Tuscan Grille, Eddie V's, Fleming's Steakhouse and The Wine Loft at CityCentre.  In addition to Bistro Alex, Brennan-Martin will also be opening Café Rosé, a casual restaurant specializing in lighter fare.

Both Bistro Alex and Café Rosé will be located in the Hotel Sorella, a luxury boutique hotel situated in the very center of CityCentre itself.  Although both restaurants are born of the Brennan family, they'll offer very different experiences to diners.  According to Brennan-Martin:

Bistro Alex takes its inspiration from nature and balances contemporary design elements with comfort through a color palette of brown, blue and green. The design is centered on an open kitchen which features stainless steel accents, a blue tiled oven and a graphic tile wall mimicking foliage.

Classic dishes will welcome traditionalists, but as in all Brennan's family restaurants, cutting-edge cuisine will delight the 'foodies' with creative dishes and wine pairings. An array of roasted selections, as well as creative entrée salads for those wanting something lighter, will be Bistro Alex signatures. While pricing will be on par with Brennan's of Houston, Brennan-Martin aims to provide good value both in wine pricing and menu items.

No executive chef has been announced for Bistro Alex yet, but the appeal is already undeniable. As for Café Rosé, the focus seems to be almost casual European:

Dynamic and inviting, Café Rosé will be situated on the ground floor [of Hotel Sorella]. Open seven days a week, menu offerings will include coffee and light breakfasts, a variety of well-priced and innovative salads and sandwiches plus premium domestic cheeses, salumi and great wines in the afternoons and evenings.

I have to admit that I wasn't terribly optimistic about CityCentre attracting people from inside the Loop -- or people from all over the city, for that matter -- but these latest announcements have given me pause for though. At the very least, the promise of house-cured meats and cold-drip coffee outside the Loop is an intriguing prospect indeed.

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Katharine Shilcutt