Open City in Midtown

When Tamer and Nadine Aly moved here a year ago from D.C., where they had run a couple of Mediterranean restaurants, they already had the name of their new restaurant in mind. They called it Open City (2416 Brazos), after Roberto Rossellini's landmark 1945 movie Roma, città aperta. That's where the movie connection ends and the fabulous host and chef take over. At their new Midtown restaurant, culinary creativity is the name of the game. Take the chef's Buffalo calamari. Who would have thought to marry traditional Buffalo wing sauces — a hot one and a homemade bleu cheese one — with calamari? Brilliant. Not to mention, tongues are wagging all over town about the Special K cereal batter on the chicken-fried chicken, the creamed corn spiked with ginger, and the smoked Gouda and Gruyère mac and cheese. Open City has taken comfort food to new heights. And speaking of heights, the place actually has a view — it's located on the Brazos building's top level. Better check it out before the crowds get too large.

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Paul Galvani