Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: RARE Opens, Sushi and an Irish Pub on Post Oak

RARE is both contemporary and classic.
RARE is both contemporary and classic. Photo by JRMH Photos
RARE Restaurant and Lounge, 4105 Washington, opened March 17. The new concept from chef and owner Don Bowie is a modern steakhouse that will feature live entertainment in an upscale and high-energy atmosphere. Joining Bowie in the new venture are partners Andre Johnson and musical artist Akon. Johnson is a familiar face to Houston as a former wide receiver for the Houston Texans. Akon is a Senegalese American rap artist, philanthropist and entrepreneur.
click to enlarge Chef Don Bowie expands his brand. - PHOTO BY JRMH PHOTOS
Chef Don Bowie expands his brand.
Photo by JRMH Photos
Bowie bounced onto the Houston restaurant scene in 2019 when he opened Taste Kitchen + Bar in Midtown. The waffle-centric restaurant became a hotspot for savory and sweet waffles and creative cocktails. Like RARE, it also features musical entertainment including performers, an open mike night and deejays. Bowie opened a Taste ghost kitchen in Atlanta this past October and is planning a full scale version of Taste Bar + Kitchen in Atlanta this year.
click to enlarge The 32-ounce Tomahawk will please high-rollers. - PHOTO BY JRMH PHOTOS
The 32-ounce Tomahawk will please high-rollers.
Photo by JRMH Photos
At RARE, the menu will feature USDA Prime steaks, fresh seafood and Southern-inspired classics with a modern twist like Crispy Cajun Calamari and Collard Green and Artichoke Dip. Steak choices include a 14- ounce New York Strip ($75) and a 32-ounce Tomahawk ($175). There's also a Bourbon Glaze Berkshire Pork Chop ($45) and Suya Chilean Sea Bass ($46).

Sides include Blanco Mac and Cheese, Sweet Potato Souffle and Sweet Corn Brulee. For dessert there are treats such as Warm Lemon Pudding Cake and Rum Butter Cake with Vanilla Ice cream.

The 8,000 square-foot space has been transformed into a sultry, chandelier-lit space with the ground level offering 62 seats in the dining room, a large stage, marble flooring and red-tufted booths. The illuminated bar near the entrance seats 24 guests and community-style high tops provide seating for large groups. Upstairs, the lounge SIP will offer indoor and outdoor seating for after dinner drinks and entertainment plus a patio cigar lounge.
click to enlarge A new sushi spot is modern and shiny. - PHOTO BY JOEL MARTINEZ
A new sushi spot is modern and shiny.
Photo by Joel Martinez
Sushi on Post Oak, 2027 Post Oak Boulevard, opened March 12.  It's one of three concepts from Eighty Six'd Restaurant and Bar Group to open on Post Oak this month including an event venue, Toque, and Ducky McShweeney's Irish Pub. Eighty Six'd also operates Bovine and Barley and The Fish, another sushi concept in Midtown.
click to enlarge The sushi creations at SOPO. - PHOTO BY JOEL MARTINEZ
The sushi creations at SOPO.
Photo by Joel Martinez
The restaurant offers a variety of nigiri and sashimi, specialty rolls, and starters like miso soup and blue crab corn soup. Small plates include truffle fries, BBQ short ribs and pork gyoza. For entrees, there is Katsu Curry, Korean Steak & Eggs and the Ohana Poke Bowl. For seekers of spice, the Eighth Wonder is a seafood tower with spicy rice, avocado, spicy tuna, snow crab, chopped scallops, habanero masago, wasabi tobiko served with wonton chips.

The contemporary and sleek restaurant also has a selection of specialty cocktails, sake and Japanese whiskeys.
click to enlarge This ain't your da's Irish pub. - PHOTO BY JOEL MARTINEZ
This ain't your da's Irish pub.
Photo by Joel Martinez
Ducky McShweeney's Irish Pub, 2025 Post Oak Boulevard, opened March 7 just in time to host its first ever St. Patrick's Day Block Party March 17. For those who missed it, the fun continues all weekend through March 20 with drink specials, green beer and deejays each evening under a tent in the parking lot.
click to enlarge Common Bond On-The-Go will expand to Memorial City. - RENDERING BY METRONATIONAL
Common Bond On-The-Go will expand to Memorial City.
Rendering by MetroNational
Common Bond On-The-Go will open two Memorial City locations this fall. The announcement comes from MetroNational, a Houston-based real estate, development and management company.

The first will be located at The Lawn at Memorial City, 971 Bunker Hill,  taking its place in the 30,000 square-foot dining and retail space adjacent to Hotel ZaZa Memorial City and the new luxury apartment high-rise, The McKinley. The second will open on the ground floor of Two Memorial City Plaza office tower located at 820 Gessner.

The foray into West Houston is part of Common Bond's mission to expand its bakery and bistro footprint throughout the city. Common Bond CEO George Joseph said in a press release that he hopes the opening of the two On-The-Go concepts leads to eventually opening a full-service Common Bond in the area.

Joseph said, "We are thrilled about expanding into West Houston and look forward to serving our delicious pastries, cookies and macarons, as well as salad bowls and sandwiches to Houstonians at these On-The-Go concepts."
click to enlarge The Molaki Chicken is sweet and spicy. - PHOTO BY KATHY TRAN
The Molaki Chicken is sweet and spicy.
Photo by Kathy Tran
Hawaiian Bros., 6522 Westheimer, will open March 22 to the public. There will be a VIP opening March 19 and March 20 for teachers, doctors, nurses, first responders and neighbors who will receive a free Hawaiian plate lunch.

Located in a former Taco Cabana building, the new Hawaiian concept offers diners dishes like its Molaki Chicken, SPAM Musubi, Huli Huli Chicken and Luau Pig. Plate lunches are available in small, classic and large sizes. The Dole Soft Serve is a must-have dessert.

This is the first Houston store for the Kansas City-based brand which has quickly expanded its Lone Star State presence since its first Texas restaurant in Kyle opened in September 2021.

click to enlarge This board needs a bottle of wine to go with it. - PHOTO BY JOE HOLMES
This board needs a bottle of wine to go with it.
Photo by Joe Holmes
Boardough Vino,4223 Research Forest, opened March 10 in The Woodlands. Owner Joe Holmes hails from a small town in Ohio and found The Woodlands community to have the friendly vibe he was searching for to open his business. He told the Houston Press, " I've been in the food and beverage industry for 30 years. It's my passion and joy in life."

Holmes and his wife own and operate the wine bar and are there from open to close, keeping an eye on food preparation and service. Besides weekly specials on wine tastings, there are daily lunch specials on its sandwiches and a generous happy hour, Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Guests can take advantage of $2 off select glasses of wine and the happy hour pizza slice for $2 plus other cocktail and beer specials.
click to enlarge There's plenty of wine to go with that charcuterie board. - PHOTO BY JOE HOLMES
There's plenty of wine to go with that charcuterie board.
Photo by Joe Holmes
The pizza at Boardough is New York-style and begins with from-scratch dough. The pizza choices rotate and guests might find its Bulgogi on the menu one day or its Reisling pizza, with creamy garlic sauce, on another. Charcuterie and cheese boards are available as well.

Wine lovers will appreciate the different wine tastings available during the week plus the 6-ounce pours on most glasses. Half glasses are offered, too. Sunday is the day to enjoy its wine blow-out sale.

Rocambolesc, 1101 Uptown Park Boulevard, is coming to Houston as reported by EaterHouston. It was founded in Girona, Spain in 2012 by world-famous pastry chef Jordi Roca and his wife Alejandra Rivas, who originally wanted to showcase the desserts from El Celler de Can Roca, the three-Michelin-starred restaurant operated by Jordi and his brothers Joan and Josep Roca. The dessert shop has three locations in Spain. The Houston store will be its first U.S. location.

Its creative treats and sweets are meant to amuse and charm. The decadent ice creams come in flavors such as baked apple and milk chocolate and hazelnut. Toppings include chocolate cake, butter sable, pop rocks and colored stars. Its Lollies are molded popsicles in figures such as a human nose, Darth Vader and the Golden Hand, a mango and blood orange popsicle that pays tribute to Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones. For messy eaters, the panet, with its brioche pastry, is made with a special machine that wraps the ice cream in the brioche and allows the eater to enjoy it without making a melty mess, like a Cornish coal miner with a pasty.

The shop is shooting to open in late April, according to CultureMap Houston.

click to enlarge Don jalapeno and Gilley's Texas Blonde Ale are back. - PHOTO BY TOM PAYNTER/ NO LABEL BREWING CO.
Don jalapeno and Gilley's Texas Blonde Ale are back.
Photo by Tom Paynter/ No Label Brewing Co.
No Label Brewing Co., 5351 1st, is partnering with Blood Bros. BBQ  to bring back its Don Jalapeno Ale. This once-a-year collaboration is done by No Label's head brewer Ryan Traylor and Blood Bros. pitmaster Quy Hoang, who was just named a finalist for the James Beard Award, Best Chef: Texas.

The Don Jalapeno has an ABV of 5.8 percent and features peppers sourced and smoked on location at Blood Bros. BBQ. It is now available at No Label's Katy taproom and will be available at retailers throughout the Greater Houston area March 21.

Blood Bros. BBQ, 5425 Bellaire, will host a launch party for the Don Jalapeno at its once-a-week dinner service March 24 at 6 p.m. After that, the beer will only be available on draft at Blood Bros. and No Label.

No Label Brewing Co. has also brought back its Gilley's Texas Blonde Ale permanently.
click to enlarge A cube staircase dessert inspired by M.C. Escher. - PHOTO BY JUSTIN TYSDAL
A cube staircase dessert inspired by M.C. Escher.
Photo by Justin Tysdal
Le Jardinier and Cafe Leonelli, 5500 Main, launched the Culinary Canvas series March 13. Throughout the year both restaurants, located at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, will offer special creations that coincide with the museum's exhibitions. The series will represent the connection between food and art with dishes that bring the exhibits to life in culinary form.
click to enlarge Our Checkered Past is an Escher-inspired cocktail that wows. - PHOTO BY JUSTIN TYSDAL
Our Checkered Past is an Escher-inspired cocktail that wows.
Photo by Justin Tysdal
The launch begins with special offerings at Le Jardinier inspired by the museum's current exhibition Virtual Realities: The Art of M.C. Escher from the Michael S. Sachs Collection. From cocktails to seafood to dessert, the menu will have creations inspired by the complex and monochromatic works of artist M.C. Escher. Our Checkered Past is a cocktail designed by Beverage Director Juan Carlos Santana and Head Bartender Max Labesse. There's also a savory dish from Chef alain Verzeroli and Chef Felipe Botero with pan-fried scallops, cauliflower fondant, black currant coulis and tuile noire. The Black & White sesame Seeds Praline is a stunning dessert from Executive Pastry Chef Salvatore Martone and Chef Tiffani Ann Gkaris.

Nickel City, 2910 McKinney, will be the first Houston outpost of the popular and award-winning bar which first opened in Austin, Texas in 2017. It expanded with a second location in Fort Worth, Texas in October 2020. We have reached out for more information on the upcoming Houston location and will share the details when we get them.

Lustre Pearl, 2016 Dallas, is reportedly planned for Houston, according to Houston City Book. The bar comes from Bridget Dunlap, who originally opened Pearl Bar (not to be confused with the current Houston lesbian bar, Pearl Bar) on Washington in Houston in 2008. She moved on to Austin, opening the first Lustre Pearl in 2009. There are now three locations in Austin, one in Denver and another opening soon in Portland, Oregon. 
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Lorretta Ruggiero is a Houston Press freelance writer based in Cypress, Texas. She loves entertaining her family and friends with her food and sparkling wit. She is married to Classic Rock Bob and they have two exceptionally smart-aleck children.