Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: Eau Tour and Oheya Coming, Heights Social Opens

The Mean Left Hook is made with rhum agricole, green chartreuse, coconut, pineapple and lime.
The Mean Left Hook is made with rhum agricole, green chartreuse, coconut, pineapple and lime. Photo by Jenn Duncan
Eau Tour, 5117 Kelvin, opens March 21 in Rice Village. The new concept from Benjy Levit takes over the former Thai Spice space, above Levit's Local Foods. The stylistic French bistro has Kent Domas as executive chef with Chef Maria Gonzales of Lees Den helping to create the menu. Lees Den is the speakeasy concept from Levit that is also located in the same structure.

Access to the bistro is on the Kelvin Drive side. The cozy space has seating for 11 guests at the bar and booth and banquette seating for 60 in the 2,000 square-foot space. There's also a tree-top covered patio that is accessible by elevator on the east side of the building.
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Chef Kent Domas brings experience from Alice Blue, Bernadine's and The Classic to Eau Tour.
Photo by Jenn Duncan
The menu is focused on contemporary French cuisine with a playful and light approach. The wood-burning Josper oven means diners can expect Baked Mussels, Seared Duck Breast, Seared Snapper and the Bar Steak cooked at the perfect temperature. Besides the seared and grilled dishes on the menu, there are a number of raw preparations such as Tuna Tartare and Scallop Crudo. Its Fruits de Mer menu has Marinated Crab Claws, Cured Trout Belly and a variety of oysters.

Caviar service is also a big deal at Eau Tour with its "Caviar for the People" providing the luxury product in several price levels. From Smoked Trout Roe and Pacific Sturgeon to Kaluga Amber or Imperial Gold, guests can splurge according to their comfort level. (If your comfort level extends to the Calvisius Ars Italica Oscietra Royal for $140, invite us along).
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The intimate bar is modern and chic.
Photo by Jenn Duncan
Cocktails have Frenchified names such as Le Viellard Nouveau, Rita Eprouvees and Diabolique, a heavenly blend of Sombra mezcal, creme de cassis, lime and ginger beer. There are also trendy mocktails such as the None of Your Bees Knees made with Cut Above non-alcoholic gin, Hives for Heroes honey and lemon.

The wine list represents traditional and avant-garde producers from classic French regions as well as a selection of American wines. The wine program from sommelier Ryan Cooper includes bottles priced well below industry standard, more in line with the reasonable wines often found in a Parisian neighborhood bistro.
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A new indoor bar in the Heights is bringing cocktails on tap.
Photo by Brian Kennedy

Heights Social, 1213 W. 20th, opened March 15. It's perfect timing for the party destination with St. Patrick's Day and March Madness already upon us. With 8,500 square feet of indoor space, the venue offers plenty of room for socializing with friends or for mingling with new people under a giant 101-inch chandelier from Restoration Hardware.
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The outdoor facade is stunning at night.
Photo by Brian Kennedy
By day, there's natural illumination from the atrium area's overhead skylights. In the evening, advanced automated lighting and a 46-foot LED wall set a festive mood. There are a number of HD televisions as well. The chic and sleek design was done by Cory Decuire of CD Paragon with the build out from Daniel Otwell's DSO Construction.
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The indoor only bar gets abundant natural light.
Photo by Dylan McEwan
Part of its social program includes a late night DJ on the weekends and a roaming champagne cart, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, offering exclusive bubbles by the bottle or glass at brunch. The bar offers cocktails on tap, classic martinis and a curated selection of wines.

The new concept also has a full kitchen from Chef Kyle Dennis, formerly of Crisp in the Heights. Guests can expect a menu of thin-crust pizza, charcuterie and sandwiches like a 72-hour braised short rib panini.
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Oheya is an intimate and luxurious omakase experience.
Photo by Hai Hospitality
Oheya by Uchi, 904 Westheimer, opens March 20. The omakase concept is located adjacent to Uchi, Tyson Cole's acclaimed upscale Japanese restaurant. It will be the fourth Houston concept from Hai Hospitality, the award winning restaurant group based in Austin, Texas.

Cole, who is a James Beard Award-winning chef and partner at Oheya by Uchi, says he is thrilled to introduce the new restaurant to Houston, a community that has given him a lot of support over the years. He says  "While Oheya is a new concept, guests can still expect to find the delicate balance of elevated food and impeccable service that they've come to know and love at our existing restaurants."
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Seasonal vegetables are a core part of the omakase menu.
Photo by Hai Hospitality
Oheya's premise is sushi bar seating only where guests will be treated to a unique dining experience of 15 courses determined by the chefs as they showcase the specialized culinary techniques and specialty ingredients of the menu. The focus on quality products means that the dishes will highlight in-season vegetables and proteins at their peak with a monthly rotating menu. The curation of the dishes will come from a concept chef from Hai Hospitality in collaboration with host chefs Chef de Cuisine Stephen Conklin and Head Sushi Chef Kevin Le of Uchi Houston.

Along with the rotating menu will be monthly chef collaborations utilizing chefs from across Hai Hospitality's portfolio. First up for the debut is Uchi Miami's executive sous chef, Cristian Canencio.

The space itself was originally a coffee shop and has been transformed by Hai Design Studio, the in-house design team for Hai Hospitality. Led by Director of Design, Ellen Saathoff, the interior is chic and modern with custom millwork throughout. Executive Pastry Chef, Ariana Quaint, curated the place settings with national and local artists creating the custom charger plates and unique ceramics.

There will be two seatings of 12 guests per night at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Oheya is open seven days a week and reservations are required.

Azzurro Italian Coastal Cuisine
, 1950 Hughes Landing, opened quietly March 16 in the Woodlands. The new restaurant comes from the Orioli Restaurant Group, a family company that also owns and operates Via Emilia, Avanti Italian Kitchen and the upcoming Costa Fina Latin Coastal Kitchen.

The menu begins with antipasti such as Beef Carpaccio, Duck Fat Fried Calamari, Beet Cured Salmon and Colossal Prawns. There's a small selection of oysters and crudos plus soups and salads. Handmade pastas include Mafaldine Braised Beef Cheeks, Squid Ink Spaghetti and Truffle Ravioli.

True to its Italian coastal theme, there are plenty of seafood dishes such as Cioppino, Branzino Bagna Cauda, Risotto di Mare and Grilled Swordfish. Those of a more carnivorous bent will find a New York Strip, Pork Chop Agrodulce, Filet Mignon and Lamb Chop Scottadito. For those who love both sea and land, there's the Filet & Lobster for the best of both worlds.

The interior is upscale nautical with blue and white accents and light colored wood. There is an outdoor terrace overlooking Lake Woodlands for a staycation dining experience.

We will have more information about Azzurro next week as it gets into full swing.
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This is a tower of delicious, cheesy naughtiness.
Photo by Becca Wright
Twisted Grilled Cheese, 303 Memorial City, will open this April in Memorial City Mall. The locally owned gourmet sandwich bar began as a food truck in the Galleria area in 2019. With its fans begging for more, the Memorial City Mall location will be its third brick and mortar in addition to two food trucks.

Co-owner Erinne Willrich says she is grateful for the support of the communities of Houston and Katy where she opened her first restaurants. In a press release she stated, We launched the first food truck with a simple concept: to take a comfort food staple and make it the best possible way. We weren't sure if the concept would be well received but here we are adding another location and continually finding ways to improve and expand our menu."
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If it's a cheat day, you might as well go all the way with a milkshake.
Photo by Becca Wright
The new location will be in the food court at Memorial City Mall serving its gourmet variations of traditional grilled cheese sandwiches. Customers can enjoy the 5 Cheese Classic or the 5 Cheese Pepperoni or go over-the-top with its Halal Philly Cheesesteak and Smokehouse Brisket. For those with vegan leanings, there is a vegan cheese option and also gluten-free bread for certain dietary needs.

For those who require a dunking soup for their sandwich, TGC has homemade Tomato Basil Soup. Other sides include Parmesan Waffle Fries and Truffle Onion Rings. There is a kids menu plus hand-spun milkshakes that can be made even more decadent with the addition of booze.

City Cellars HTX
, 1801 Binz, is in a legal dispute concerning onsite parking spaces at Park Binz 1, the mixed-use development where the wine bar and restaurant is located. The disputes over staff parking for City Cellars HTX have led to a notice of  eviction from Park Binz 1, as reported by Houston Food Finder. The demand for the space to be vacated immediately was sent February 3. A lawyer representing City Cellars HTX filed a petition on its behalf asking Harris County District Court to find that the business is not in default of the lease and that there is no legal basis for eviction.

La Madeleine, 247 S. Loop 336 W., opened March 15. It's the first Conroe store for the brand and is part of its current growth initiative. With its recent soft opening events, it has raised more than $1,000 for the Conroe High School Orchestra.

The French-inspired cafe first opened in Dallas, Texas in 1983. It is owned by Groupe Le Duff, a France-based hospitality group founded by Louis le Duff in 1976. La Madeleine now operates more than 86 corporate and franchised locations in nine states.

It's known for its traditional French bakery display and its menu of all-day breakfast, soups, salads, sandwiches, pastas and entrees. It also sells patisserie items like tarts and eclairs.
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Hosting is a breeze with Graze Craze.
Photo by Graze Craze
Graze Craze, 1500 Research Forest, opened  a new location in The Woodlands. The new store is owned by franchisee Faith Abshire, a mom of three and former insurance professional. During the COVID pandemic, Abshire took up a chef certification as a hobby which led to her searching for ways to share her passion for food. When she discovered Graze Craze, it seemed a perfect venture for her and she knew The Woodlands community was an ideal fit for the charcuterie concept.

Customers can take advantage of its pick up or delivery options for hand-crafted picnic boxes and customized charcuterie boards all curated by an in-store Grazologist. Orders can be placed online for all size assortments of meats, cheeses, fresh fruits, vegetables and artisanal sweets whether it's for a romantic stay-at-home evening or a special gathering of family and friends. There are individual Char-Cutie-Cups for a crowd or party.

The Woodlands location will host a grand opening May 5 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. to showcase its offerings to the community after a ribbon cutting ceremony planned for noon.

Everest Curry Bar, 1502 Huffmeister, opened in mid-February. The menu starts with a variety of samosa, gobi and paneer, with a number of vegetarian options. There are kabobs, chicken tikka, tandoori chicken, lamb chops and a couple of seafood dishes along with a wide selection of curries and biryani.

There is also a full bar for cocktails with drinks such as the Kuch Kuch, made with tequila, mango, rose and chili syrup or the Mumbai Masala a concoction of mezcal, turmeric, curry leaf, agave syrup and lime. There's also beer and wine.

Located in Cypress, it is already getting good reviews because of the dearth of decent Indian restaurants in the area.
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Houston, start your grills!
Photo by Central Market
Central Market, 3815 Westheimer, will launch its Feed the Fire event March 22 and it will run through March 28. The in-house butchers and sausage meisters will showcase the largest meat selections in the state and introduce new items like canoe-split beef marrow bone and retail-ready barbecue sets. Customers will also find spatchcocked chickens, Frenched beef shank, Oita Wagyu and much more.

All Central Market locations across Texas will host an educational Duroc pork cutting March 25 at 2 p.m. There will be hog cutting presentations and cooking demos.

MTea & Coffee, 7025 Fry, softly opened February 17 and held its grand opening March 9. This is the third location for the locally owned business which operates two other locations, one in Sugar Land and another off Tomball Parkway. It offers a selection of teas including milk, green, fruit and boba. There's also iced coffee drinks, smoothies and juices. For snacks, there is a menu of popcorn chicken, fries, sweet potato fries, fried shrimp and organic fried tofu.

Its dessert menu offers crepes, creme brulee and macarons. 
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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.