Richard Di Virgilio, a man who already knows how to serve small, finely crafted plates of food at Oporto, has finally opened his second project just off Kirby: The Queen Vic Pub & Kitchen (2712 Richmond). The proper English pub (as proper as one can get in Houston, at least) is serving a fine selection of beers, small bites from the kitchen and -- coming soon -- high tea at 3 p.m. each day. Ironically, the Queen Vic pub on popular, long-running British soap EastEnders -- which was the central meeting places for all the characters -- burned to the ground in last night's pivotal episode. Let's hope the new Queen Vic fares better.
To no one's great surprise, Sweet Temptation (1504 Airline) -- the Italian restaurant across the street from the perpetually busy, perpetually pink Teotihuacan -- closed down last week. The name continually misguided people who thought the restaurant was a bakery, and once inside, the mediocre food and prices (too high for this neighborhood) kept them away for good.
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From our friends at B4-U-Eat, we've learned that Cajun Tails (11037 FM 1960) has reopened under new ownership with a new menu, albeit with the same name. The weekly B4-U-Eat newsletter states:
Keith Balin bought the Cajun Tails name and revamped the menu with his own recipes. It's now a full-service restaurant serving grilled oysters, shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles and specialty hamburgers. After years of experience owning a New Orleans oyster bar and restaurant, his recipes are true New Orleans and his po boys are made only with bread from Gambino's.
The west side continues its expansion as one of the city's best restaurant markets with the opening of The Burger Guys (12225 Westheimer) this past week. Initial reports from 29-95 and Houston Food Adventures indicate that the burgers and dogs are top-notch, highly creative stuff. Check out the Phuket (pronounced "pooh-ket") burger, the Saigon burger or the Sydney burger for these guys' takes on exotic global locations on a bun. You can even get a fried duck egg on top of any burger at your request.
In chef news, Ryan Pera has announced his intention to part ways with the Schiller-Del Grande Group and their downtown gem of a restaurant, The Grove. Chef Pera was known at the restaurant for his mastery of meat, particularly the charcuterie he made in-house. It's fitting, then, that he's partnering with Revival Meats owner Morgan Weber -- he of the finely fatty Mangalitsa hogs -- to create a new restaurant-cum-market called Revival Market. It's scheduled to open later this year in the Heights at 550 Heights Boulevard. (Why, yes, that is the long-vacant McCain's Market location!)