Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: Muse Now Open, Chi'lantro Debuts Soon

Cherry Blossom trees glow in Muse's dining room.
Cherry Blossom trees glow in Muse's dining room. Photo by Adrian Barboza

Muse, 3210 Dallas, opened for dinner service March 23. With a culinary team led by executive chef and partner E.J. Miller (SaltAir Seafood, Riel, International Smoke), the kitchen also has sous chef Dung Nguyen (The Dunlavy) and sous chef Andrew Aguilera (The Classic) creating a from-scratch menu using locally sourced ingredients and traditional techniques for a global culinary journey.
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The Oxtail + Bone Marrow gets a hint of pho flavor from spiced breadcrumbs.
Photo by Dylan McEwan
There are signature items like its Parker House Rolls, served with fresh dill, urfa everything spice, smoked salmon and made-in-house cultured butter. The Wood-Fired Alabama Oysters are topped with fried chicken butter, fermented peppers and garlic honey for a dance-in-your-mouth burst of flavor. There's also Wagyu Potstickers, Sticky Pork Ribs and Chicken Karaage Bao Buns to share.
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The Japanese Breakfast is a show-stopping cocktail served over dry ice.
Photo by Dylan McEwan
The restaurant offers a selection of maki plus beef tartare and caviar service. Entrees include Lobster Filled Pasta made with homemade pasta, Glazed Black Cod and Redfish Ca Cha. There are a couple of steak dishes plus Duck Breast and Grilled Half Chicken.
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The Yuzu Tart is too pretty to eat.
Photo by Dylan McEwan
The dessert menu is pretty and pricey with stunning creations such as the Yuzu Tart, Jujube Cake and Mocha Torte. The wine list offers selections of sake, sparkling, white, rose, red  and dessert varietals. For cocktails, there are drinks such as the Marilyn, Cherry Blossom and Open Sesame. Those with money to spend can indulge in the Japanese Breakfast starting at $30 for one person, $50 for two. It's a blend of Condesa orange blossom gin, Italicus Rosolio Di Bergamotto, Road to Osaka sake and white peach tea.

The stunning interior dazzles with cherry blossom trees in a modern, sleek dining room anchored by the 18-seat wrap-around bar.
Korean and Mexican fusion creates tasty dishes.
Photo by Christine Wong

Chi'lantro BBQ, 1324 N. Shepherd, is slated to open April 3 in the Heights. The Austin-based company began as a food truck from founder and CEO Jae Kim in 2010. The food truck and catering company has since expanded to include nine locations in Austin. The Houston restaurant will be its first brick and mortar for the city, though Chi'lantro did operate its food trucks here for a time, leaving in 2014. There is another location planned for May 2023 in San Marcos, according to its website.
Jae Kim is back in Houston.
Photo by Christine Wong

Famous for its Original Kimchi Fries, the Korean-Mexican fusion brand has garnered national fame. It has been featured on the Food Network, The Cooking Channel and an episode of ABC's Shark Tank in 2016. The famous fries pack a punch with toppings of caramelized kimchi, shredded cheese, onions, cilantro, Magic sauce, Sriracha and sesame seeds. Customers can then choose their protein with options such as Korean BBQ steak, spicy chicken, spicy pork, soy-glazed chicken or fried tofu for an additional cost.
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Now Houston can taste what it's all about.
Photo by Christine Wong
The menu also offers its Ssams, a Korean-style wrap, and bowls that can be customized with different bases, proteins and toppings. For starters there is a Korean version of esquites( off-the-cob Mexican street corn) and Chi'jeu Queso and chips.  Soft drinks include cane sugar sodas and homemade agua frescas.

Prior to its opening, Chi'lantro Heights will host two "Friends and Family" events March 31 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and April 1 from noon to 3 p.m. It is open to the public by reservations via eventbrite. The food is complimentary for the two events. However, donations are encouraged for MD Anderson Pediatric Cancer fund for NF2 patients. It's a cause close to Kim's heart as his sister passed away due to Neurofibromatosis Type 2.

Kim plans to open additional Chi'lantro locations in Houston later this year.
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The Katy Home Run Dugout opens in time for lovely spring weather.
Photo by Alex Montoya
Home Run Dugout, 1220 Grand W. Boulevard, opens to the public March 30. The new Katy sports bar, restaurant and entertainment venue comes from Houston native Tyler Bambrick and Austin-based Nick Hermandorfer, who first founded Home Run Dugout LLC in 2015. Some of their investors include legendary professional baseball pitcher Nolan Ryan and Ryan Sanders Baseball. That strategic partnership led to the opening of the first Home Run Dugout in Round Rock, Texas in 2019.

The Katy location will be the first standalone Home Run Dugout with help from Lagniappe Capital Partners, BCS Capital and friends and family of Hermandorfer and Bambrick.
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Athletes and non-athletes can quench their thirst at the bar.
Photo by Alex Montoya
The massive 46,000 square-foot venue has 12 indoor Batting Bays loaded with technology for tracking stats and watching games. Each one accommodates up to 12 people. There's also the Biergarten Baseball mini field for league play and pick-up games.

The restaurant has an extensive menu of ballpark-inspired fare such as smoked chicken wings, crispy chicken sliders, buttermilk onion rings and flatbreads in smoked brisket or pepperoni flavors. The hot dog grill serves up four different types of dogs and there are entrees like the Classic Burger, Truffled Patty Melt and Chicken Tinga Tacos. Salads and poke bowls offer lighter nosh.

The venue is family friendly and there is a kids menu plus tempting treats such as brownie sundaes and root beer floats. There is also a bar for grow-up beverages.

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The Pineapple Patron gets a special goblet.
Photo by Alife Hospitality
FRNDS Restaurant & Lounge, 2442 University Boulevard, is expected to open April 1 in the former home of Mi Luna, a Spanish tapas restaurant that closed in 2018. FRNDS (pronounced 'friends') will also be a tapas-style restaurant serving shareable dishes and craft cocktails. It comes from Alife Hospitality Group, the force behind such projects as Southside Sporting Club, Prospect Park Restaurants, Kamp Houston and Bungalow Downtown Dining. The group was founded in 2013 by Mojeed Martins and Jonathan Reitzell.
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Pasta is served as well as tapas-style shareables.
Photo by Alife Hospitality

The dining menu, under the guidance of ALife Hospitality's culinary director Chef Mark Holley, offers chef-driven dishes like Coconut Curry Shrimp Skewers, Baby Back Ribs, Greek Meatballs and Red Curry Fried Calamari. On the cocktail side, there are concoctions such as the Pineapple Patron and the fun FRNDS Popcorn Cocktail served in a rocks tumbler accompanied by a stainless steel sidecar of kernels.

The interior is a blend of royal blue and deep purple plush booth seating along with marble tabletops and rich wood accents.
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Sports bar fare gets a Cajun touch at Walk-On's.
Photo by Keni Parks
Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux, 1250 Fairway, is opening in Webster this spring and the company is currently looking to hire "teammates" to fill 200 positions. Interested draftees can apply in person at the hiring trailer in the restaurant's parking lot Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Valid I.D.s are required to apply for team member jobs such as chefs, servers, hosts, bartenders and bussers.
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A bounty of televisions means lots of game watching.
Photo by Keni Parks
The Cajun-inspired sports bar first opened in Baton Rouge in 2003 and is now barreling toward 100 locations nationwide. Some of the franchise partners contributing to its success include Drew Brees, the former New Orleans Saints quarterback and Super Bowl champion, and Derek Brooks, outside linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and Clemson University football coach Dabo Sweeney are also franchise partners.

The new location will be the fourth for the Greater Houston area. There are currently locations in Spring, Baytown and Katy.

Hippo Burgers, 8110 N. Sam Houston Parkway,  opened in early March. It's the 7th location for the locally-owned burger joint which also opened a 6th location at 6184 Highway 6 February 16.

Founded in 2014, its popularity has led to a number of spots popping up, primarily on the northeast side of Houston in locales such as Crosby, Kingwood, Humble and Atascocita. It serves a wide variety of Hippo Burgers from its traditional version with mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and onions to its Hippo Hawaiian with pineapple, ham and Swiss cheese. Its Hippo Avocado Burger is a bestseller, topped with guacamole, grilled onions, tomatoes, Swiss cheese and a swipe of mayo.

It also offers grilled chicken sandwiches, wings, chili cheese dogs and chicken salads. There is a kids menu plus sides like Hippo Cajun Fries, onion rings, fried pickles and sweet potato fries. On the beverage side, there are shakes and soft drinks.

Roma Ristorante, 2347 University Boulevard, now has owner Shanon Scott leading both the front and back of house operations since executive chef Kevin Bryant left the acclaimed Italian restaurant in late January. Bryant, according to his Instagram account, is focusing on developing his Chef KB Culinary products and doing hospitality consulting.

We reached out to Scott and he told the Houston Press, "I am leading the menu design for a leaner, more streamlined operation and I'll be playing a dual role in front and back of the house. As the owner and original creator of the Sud Italia and Roma menus, I am looking forward to being back in the kitchen and leading the culinary creative side of the business."

Yogurtland has signed a five-store agreement for the Houston area and the Houston market will be the debut for the new Yogurtland store designs. The franchisees for the new stores are Sugar Land residents Yasir Akhtar and Sameera Rauf. The couple are also owners of an independent insurance company and parents to three children. They are currently seeking sites for the new locations.

The frozen yogurt chain has been around since 2006 when it was founded by CEO Phillip Chang, who was born in Korea. After coming to the U.S., he revolutionized the frozen yogurt industry by removing the counters from his shops, allowing customers to build their own treats.

Yogurtland offers over 200 Handcrafted flavors. In keeping with the times, they have added plant-based options along with innovative delivery and pickup. There are more than 220 Yogurtland stores within the U.S. and worldwide.

Se7en, 3300 Kirby, opened March 11. Serving upscale Mediterranean and Asian cuisine, the kitchen is helmed by Turkish-born chef Erhan Ozkaya. The glamorous interior fits in with its River Oaks address and guests will find a posh supper club atmosphere with a champagne wall, plush blue velvet seating and chandeliers. Dress to be seen.
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That's a sweet bracket!
Photo by Tammy Allen
Any Mini Dessert Cakes, 7520 Cherry Park, has March Madness Cupcake Brackets until April 3 for the "Sweet Sixteen". The family owned bakery and dessert bar has delicious cupcakes in a variety of flavors and team logos (Go Coogs!). Preorders are required.

Owner Jasmin Moore, who created the business with her parents, Tammy and Nate Allen, said, "Next week, we'll have the Elite 8 cupcakes, then of course, leading into the Championship, we'll follow suit with the Final Four. People are having watch parties all around town, so we thought we'd sweeten up game day!"

Pranee's Thai Cuisine and Noodle House, 8100 Highway 6 N., opened in early March. Guests can choose their spice level for many of the dishes.  There are noodle dishes such as pad thai, pad se-euw and drunken noodles plus ice entrees like green curry, red curry, cashew chicken, pad khing, pad priew wan and pepper steak.

There are soft drinks and Thai tea or coffee. 
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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.