Bravery Chef Hall, 409 Travis, softly opened July 23, for dinner only. Next week, the multi-chef food hall will be open for lunch as well. Last year, we wrote about some of the chefs who had signed on for the concept from partners Ahn Mai, Lian Nguyen and Shepard Ross. Now, over a year later the vision has come to fruition and the hall is featuring some big names behind the various counter offerings. The dilemma is who to try first.
English-born chef Richard Knight will be the force behind Atlas Diner and you'll spot Cuc Lam, former executive chef at SING and past contributing writer here at the Houston Press behind the counter as well. Knight's British heritage is on display with a menu that offers some traditional fare like bangers and mash with more eclectic offerings like The White Rabbit Torpedo, a chimichanga style dish of braised rabbit and white beans. Only a Houston Brit would add juniper gravy and sage and onion queso to such a dish. Intriguing, no?
Breakfast at Atlas will be an all day affair with options like Dakota's Pancakes with blueberries or Jamaican Pancakes with toasted coconut and rum syrup. Kick your early morning meal up a notch with Masala Dosa and Eggs with lentil pancakes, curry-spiced potatoes, hidden egg and chutney.
There's the Late Knight (natch!) menu from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. and features dishes such as corned beef and onions. That should make for a comfortable night's sleep.
Other high profile chefs in the hall, offer patrons menus that are representative of each one's style of cooking. Christine Ha, the blind chef who won Season 3 of Master Chef and awed the judges and the rest of America with her talent, has opened The Blind Goat, serving Vietnamese food. There are starters such as Ma's eggrolls with pork and shrimp plus bowls such as Sugarcane Shrimp Skewers with Vietnamese bologna, roasted peanuts and a fish sauce vinaigrette. More dishes will be added in the coming weeks, including beef short ribs. On the sweet side, Ha is offering her Rubbish Apple Pie, a favorite of Gordon Ramsay's with a new twist that includes star anise, ginger and a fish sauce caramel. There's also a sugar cane machine for drinks made with sugar cane, kumquat and Topo Chico.
Ben McPherson, former executive chef at Batanga and culinary director for Prohibition Supper Club, will be turning out freshly made pastas at BOH Pasta and Pizza. Felix Flores, owner of Black Hill Ranch, and Jess De Sham Timmons have partnered to bring an approachable steakhouse concept, Cherry Block Craft Butcher and Kitchen, with many of the meats sourced from Flores' ranch. Kokoro,a sushi and yakitori bar, comes from Patrick Pham and Daniel Lee, former chefs at Uchi.
For cocktails, wine and beer, there are three bars to choose from, making a pub crawl an easy feat. Bravery Wine Bar will offer 30 wines on tap, plus 100 bottles, curated by sommelier and Bravery Chef Hall partner, Shepard Ross. Lockwood Stn. will feature cocktails from David Cedeno, or his nom de mixology, David Daquiri. Finally, the Secret Garden will offer patio seating with coffee drinks until 2 p.m. before transitioning into a cocktail bar in the evenings, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Warehouse 72, 7620 Katy Freeway, debuts August 1 at the Marq-E Center. The journey of this new restaurant is a multi-faceted one that begins with Hurricane Harvey and the flooding of the iconic Spaghetti Warehouse building at 901 Commerce.. Many of us remember with nostalgia our first dates, proms and family meals at the restaurant which was best known for its many-layered lasagna and kitschy decor. I remember the days when it had a train car inside the dining room, a gorgeous Victorian bar and a fortune teller machine. It was unapologetically old school, red sauce Italian.
Well, Harvey has washed away the remnants of the bygone Spaghetti Warehouse and the owners decided that those days are not coming back. With the palates of American diners becoming more sophisticated and worldly, the brand has re-imagined itself as an elegant and more modern Italian restaurant. At least, for this venture.
Joining a number of other restaurant and entertainment venues at the Marq-E Entertainment Center, Warehouse 72 has incorporated some of the warehouse aspect with an upscale ristorante feel. The original design was scrapped because feedback showed that most people thought it resembled a cafeteria, myself included. Fortunately, the new look is one that offers guests several dining spaces, including a private, glassed in space past the bar. Some of the highlights are the murals on the brick walls and entrance, painted by local artist Sebastien Boileau, or "Mr. D. 1987", from photos of five Houston women taken by photographer Aisha Khan. It gives the classic interior a hint of hipster chic.
To execute the new menu, owner Doug Pak has brought in Jaime Salazar as executive chef. Salazar most recently served as executive chef at Brasserie 19. His menu includes entrees like Mediterranean grilled octopus and Za'atar roasted chicken, plus sides such as smoked carrots with spinach and hazelnut pesto. For first hand action, guests can reserve the chef's table and be seated in the glass-fronted open kitchen facing the wood-burning oven.
The team at Warehouse 72 are planning on incorporating special events to bring in the community like live music and charity nights. Speaking of charity, the restaurant is keeping in step with the restaurant scene in Houston by launching its first Houston Restaurant Weeks menu on its opening day. The 2-course lunch is $20, while the 3-course dinner is $35 and options include starters like Italian wedding soup or the Warehouse 72 salad and mains such as seafood risotto and the Za'atar roasted airline chicken breast. For folks feeling nostalgic for more hearty Italian fare, there's also a fried mozzarella option and four cheese ravioli. And Warehouse 72 may, just may, bring back lasagna and chicken parm in the future.
Olive & Twist, 2712 Richmond, celebrated its soft opening July 10. The new American restaurant and bar comes from a trio with a formidable history of Houston restaurant and business experience between them. Partners Shab Armaan, Viral Patel and Masad Baba have created a restaurant and bar with a menu that is new American, which really means it is reflective of the new America with global flavors of the great melting pot that is Houston. Armaan has owned and operated hot spots like Galway Hooker Irish Pub. Patel is the owner of Bombay Pizza and managed La Strada for many years. Baba owns the High Tower Cafes in Houston and Fort Worth.
The trio have transformed the space vacated by the Queen Vic in July 2018. The new restaurant has a menu that pays homage to local celebrities and intertwines Indian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean touches with American favorites. The Roseann Rogers Salad is comprised of beets, arugula, feta and a horseradish vinaigrette. There's the Huy Pham Fritters with shrimp and crab, Sylvia's Labneh Dip, and Bombay Co.'s mac 'n cheese. Lavash pizzas are served with a variety of toppings and the Twisted Nachos is a tower of flavors emerging from an open-ended giant coffee can.
There are also elegant cocktails, wine and beer to accompany the eclectic food. Beginning August 4, Olive & Twist will offer a brunch service which will be familiar to fans of La Strada.
Eugene's Gulf Coast Cuisine, 1985 Welch, is shooting for a late summer/early fall opening. Formerly Danton's in Chelsea Market, the restaurant was forced to move in December 2018 because the building was slated for a new project. Now, owner Kyle Teas has renamed the relocated restaurant after his father and is making use of the newly renovated and larger space, which will also feature The Oyster Bar, with cocktails, wine and craft beer.
Most of the popular items from Danton's will remain on the menu, including the Debris sandwich, gumbo and poblano shrimp and grits. Diners can expect a larger variety of Gulf Coast seafood, including snapper, oysters and shrimp, plus seasonal crab and crawfish. There will also be pasta, chicken dishes and Certified Angus beef and steaks.
Eugene's has incorporated the original ornate wood bar from Joske's into the design, along with rescued decor from Sonny Look's Sir-Loin Inn, which closed in the 1990's.
Lazy Dog, 20030 Northwest Freeway, opens July 31 in Cypress Crossing. There will be a ribbon cutting at 10:30 a.m. with the Cy-Fair Chamber of Commerce. The restaurant will open for business at 11 a.m. The concept was founded in 2003 in the Huntington Beach area and now has 32 locations across California, Illinois, Nevada and Texas, with more on the way.
The restaurant takes its inspiration from the Rocky Mountains and the decor, with its wood accents and large fireplace simulates a lodge feeling. The menu offers a hearty selection of cowboy cooking like campfire pot roast, bacon-wrapped bison meatloaf and wild boar chili with indigo cornbread fries. There are starters like the Cowgirl Cheese Dip and Pretzels. While meat lovers have a bounty of choices to choose from such as the Pork Belly BLT or burgers, there are vegetarian options including a jackfruit tostada and the cutely-named Spaghetti Squash and Beetballs. Fish and seafood round out the menu.
The atmosphere is meant to be like a Rocky Mountain Wyoming escape, but there are still televisions for game-watching. There's a dog-friendly patio and pups can nosh on their own dish of grilled meats and brown rice from the doggie menu. There's also a weekend brunch and a full bar.
Kathmandu Curry & Bar, 5711 Hillcroft opened June 29. While the area is known for its Pakistani and Indian restaurants and grocers, Kathmandu offers some of the same fare with a Nepalese influence. Using Himalayan spices, there are dishes like the Lamb Mustang made with barbecued boneless lamb and chicken thali.
For starters, there are chicken lollipops, puri puri and a Nepalese steamed dumpling dish called momos, which can be ordered with chicken, goat or vegetables. Entrees include traditional dishes like goat biryani and chicken tikka. For sweets, try the gulab jamun or rasmalai. There's also a full bar.
Verdine, 449 W. 19th, is holding a party to say goodbye to its food truck, Wanda. Originally started as Ripe Cuisine in a food truck lovingly christened, "Wanda", Stephanie Hoban's restaurant opened its brick and mortar doors in April 2019. With the success of Verdine, it's time to bid farewell to the trusty steed that got her there.
The "Farewell Party for Wanda" runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on July 26. Food truck favorites like cornmeal crusted avocado tacos, jackfruit quesadilla and spicy Thai peanut butter sandwich will be on offer.
Though Wanda may be riding off into the sunset, Verdine will continue the mission of serving tasty, 100 percent vegan cuisine at the restaurant.
Edelweiss Restaurant, 10651 Fry, began its soft opening July 10. The Swiss restaurant features DYI Raclette cheese flights, along with vegetables, meats and bread for scraping the cheese over. It's fun for the whole family and who doesn't like melty cheese?
The restaurant also serves more alpine/Bavarian fare like schnitzel and bratwurst. For something more Swiss, there's alpermagronen, a dish of traditional Swiss penne pasta (who knew?) and potato cubes covered in a creamy cheese sauce with onion crisps. Diners can choose between applesauce and red cabbage as a side.
Raclette flights include the Texan Flight ($25) with beef filet, bacon, onions, tomato and jalapenos and the Vegetarian ($17) with asparagus, mushrooms, tomato, onions and artichoke hearts.
There are beers on draft like Dirndl Dropper and Edelweisen, plus bottled beers and a small selection of wine. There is also a kids menu.
UB Preserv, 1609 Westheimer, has launched a new vegetarian menu, courtesy of executive chef Nick Wong. The chef has taken some of UB Preserv's menu offerings and substituted vegetables in place of meat. The Duck Egg Curry has market vegetables instead of shrimp, while the wok-fried collard greens are made with fermented tofu rather than ham hocks. The Crispy Rice Salad is also on the vegetarian menu plus a plate of lentils and okra elevated with butter and spices, an addition inspired by Priya Krishna's cookbook, Indian-ish.
Wong said in a press release, " I want all guests to feel welcome here-not uncomfortable or embarrassed to ask about vegetarian options." Most of the vegetarian options can also be made vegan.
Peli Peli Kitchen, 9090 Katy Freeway, has begun an all day, every day happy hour which will run through the end of August at the Katy location only. Patrons can refresh themselves with $10 pitchers of draft beer and $4 beers on tap. There's also a selection of wines for $7 a glass or a sweet $20 for a bottle. It's a great way to wind down the back side of summer and stay cool while doing so.
Meanwhile, we are keeping an eye on the new Peli Peli's construction in The Woodlands.
Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, 1705-B Fry Road, opens July 26. The fast food chain began in Wichita, Kansas in 2002 and is known for its cooked-to-order steakburgers, Vienna Beef hot dogs, shoestring fries and frozen custard treats. This makes the 2nd location in Katy and joins several hundred other locations of Freddy's across 32 states.
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