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Openings and Closings

Despite the brief interruption of Thanksgiving, several restaurants opened this week just in time for the holidays. Especially busy are downtown's Houston Pavilions, where Lucky Strike Lanes and Pete's Dueling Piano Bar have been hosting healthy crowds while several restaurants have opened.

Among those are III Forks (1201 Fannin) -- which is pronounced "Three Forks," despite the fact that its poorly chosen font makes it look like "ILL Forks" -- a steakhouse that is, by all accounts, not particularly groundbreaking. But it will do quite nicely for all the downtown expense-account meals, no doubt. Also opened recently in the Pavilions are Yao Restaurant (1201 Fannin), Mia Bella and Andalucia Tapas & Taverna (both at 1201 San Jacinto). If nothing else, the restaurant choices at the Pavilions are certainly varied. And expensive. But still varied.

Over in the Galleria area, the Rockwood Room has finally opened its doors. According to its website, the throwback-themed restaurant will serve "iconic American dishes from the post-WWII era" such as sweetbreads, prime rib and Maine lobster tails. You'll remember the Rockwood Room from our post on Esquire magazine's recent Manhattan contest, which the restaurant won despite not even being open yet.

In Midtown, a restaurant has finally opened on the ground floor of the mega three-story 24 Hour Fitness building. Sushi Raku (3201 Louisana), which boasts an eye-catching mosaic of blood-red glass on its outer facade, will feature organic sushi from Chef Taka Sekiguchi and a robata grill. We're told the grand opening celebration will take place on December 16, so keep your chopsticks at the ready.

In closings, La Strada (322 Westheimer) finally bit the dust -- as we reported earlier this week -- and the Memorial Grill (14510 Memorial) in west Houston was the most recent of many unfortunate failed restaurants at what seems to be a cursed location.

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