A disappointing announcement on October 15 said that chef Jose Hernandez would be leaving Radio Milano, the high-flying Italian restaurant at CityCentre in Hotel Sorella. A new press release today says it turns out that he'll stick around after all — for a little while.
Apparently, a deal has been struck between Valencia Group, which operates Hotel Sorella, where Radio Milano is located, and RK Group, which runs the restaurant itself. Hernandez is going to be staying as executive chef for six or seven months and will then go on to work on a project for Valencia Group.
He’ll be heading an as-yet-unnamed restaurant in Valencia Group’s forthcoming luxury project, Hotel Alessandra. It's part of the GreenStreet Development (which includes a shopping center and House of Blues) and will have 21 floors. The hotel is being developed in conjunction with Midway, which was also responsible for the CityCentre and GreenStreet concepts.
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According to their website, the hotel “will combine comfort, elegance and the cultural influence of European lifestyle with the pioneering spirit of the Texas wildcatter to create a uniquely Houston hotel.” It also says that San Francisco-based Gensler designed the architecture and Houston-based Rottet Studios is the interior architect.
The move will make Hernandez's cuisine more accessible to diners in downtown Houston. Considering his background, the new place sounds like a great match. Hernandez has years of experience in crafting French fare, including at Philippe Restaurant + Lounge, Triniti and La Balance. He quickly propelled Italian-focused Radio Milano to a place among Houston's most acclaimed restaurants. It earned a rave review from the Houston Press and an impressive number 17 spot on Alison Cook’s Top 100 Restaurants list for 2015 for the Houston Chronicle.
(Attendees of this year's Houston Press Menu of Menus might also remember chef Hernandez's impressive Stewed Veal Cheek with Mushroom Risotto. It won best bite of the competition.)
Hotel Alessandra is expected to open in the fall of 2016, a little less than a year from now. In the meantime, west Houston diners might want to take advantage of their current proximity and make tracks to Radio Milano while Hernandez is still there.