The backyard wedding cake at Emmaline is a sweet finish.
The backyard wedding cake at Emmaline is a sweet finish.
Photo by Mai Pham

Openings and Closings: Emmaline and Doris Metropolitan Debut

, 3210 West Dallas, made its much-anticipated debut on December 11. Operating partner and native Houstonian, Sam Governale, has teamed up with executive chef, Dimitri Voutsinas, pastry chef, Alyssa Dole, and designer, Ashley Putman, to bring an “American restaurant with European refinement” to the River Oaks area. Within walking distance of Buffalo Bayou Park, there are pet-friendly patios (we’re assuming dogs, not boa constrictors) and bicycle racks, perfect for a rewarding glass of wine after a brisk hike or bike around the park. There are dishes like sea scallop crudo and house-made agnolotti, but we’re thinking the wood-fired cioppino biancowith prawns, mussels, clams in a vermouth, tomato, fennel broth would be perfect while the cold Houston temperatures last. For a first look at Emmaline, check out Mai Pham’s article in the Houston Press.

Doris Metropolitan, 2815 Shepherd, opened December 1, as reported by Houston Culture Map. The posh, elegant steakhouse evolved out of an Israeli butcher shop, Doris Butchers. First opened in Costa Rica in 2010, then New Orleans in 2013, the partners, Itai Ben Ali, chef Sash Kurgan, and Dori Rebi Chia, chose Houston for the latest outpost due to the diversity of the city, according to the Houston Chronicle.

The dry-aged steaks are prepared sous-vide before being grilled and the appetizer menu has a different take than many Houston steakhouses, with Mediterranean and vegetable inspired dishes such as Jerusalem salad, a dish of roasted cauliflower, shallots, tomato salsa, tahini, and yogurt.

With an upscale glass enclosed meat locker, complete with a chandelier, diners can gaze upon the cuts like fine jewelry. “He went to Jared’s” may turn into “ We went to Doris Metropolitan” instead. The restaurant is open daily, from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

The Montmartre pie at Eclair Paris.
The Montmartre pie at Eclair Paris.
Photo courtesy of Eclair Paris

Eclair Paris, 2278 W. Holcombe, opened October 24. Owners Martial and Thuy Demonet are bringing their 20 years of restaurant and bakery savoir-faire from Paris to Houston. The bistro and patisserie serves beautiful French pastries and viennoiseries, along with breakfast, lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Moxie’s Grill and Bar, 5000 Westheimer, had its opening VIP party on November 30, according to the Chronicle. The Canadian chain has more than 60 locations in Canada and was bought by Vancouver businessman, Tom Gaglardi, owner of the Dallas Stars hockey team, in 1998. Gaglardi’s first U.S. location opened in Dallas in 2016., with the Houston restaurant making the second. The Galleria eatery has two stories and a glass-encased kitchen. The ubiquitous Canadian favorite, poutine — a dish of french fries covered in Quebec cheese curds and hot beef gravy- is on the menu along with burgers and steaks from Lone Star Meats.

Hankook Kwan, 9140 Bellaire Boulevard, had its grand opening December 9, according to Eater Houston, under new ownership. The Korean BBQ eatery is located in the Welcome Shopping Center in Houston’s Chinatown. Operated by Jang Yul Woo, who recently moved to Houston from Seoul, Korea, the restaurant offers dishes like beef Bulgogi and short ribs in individual portions or preset combos for feeding a small group.

Pondi Cafe, at Asia Society Texas Center, 1370 Southmore, opened December 1. The “little sister” of Pondicheri, will serve executive chef Anita Jaisinghani’s India-inspired cuisine with dishes such as butter chicken and Bombay Benedict. You can marvel at Asia Society Texas Center’s current exhibit, Wondrous Worlds: Art and Islam Through Time and Place and then enjoy some delicious Asian cuisine. Due to the economic toll on some Houstonians because of Hurricane Harvey, general admission to the exhibit is free through December. There are 12 locations of Asia Society throughout the world.

The roasted bone marrow is exclusive to Houston's Mastro's Steakhouse.EXPAND
The roasted bone marrow is exclusive to Houston's Mastro's Steakhouse.
Photo courtesy of Mastro's Steakhouse

Mastro’s Steakhouse,1650 West Loop South in The Post Oak at Uptown Houston, opened December 8. Tilman Fertitta, billionaire owner of the Houston Rockets, Landry’s, and the Golden Nugget Casinos has finally brought his acclaimed steakhouse to his hometown. With various locations in such glamour-filled destinations like Beverly Hills, Costa Mesa, and New York City, the upscale steakhouse is promising to be a venue for celebrities, professional athletes and other Bayou City power people. The menu will include some dishes exclusive to Houston such as garlic-roasted bone marrow and Shiso Jica-machi sashimi. The Piano Lounge will be the place to see and be seen, so dust off the Chanel pumps and go be seen.

Bubble Egg, 9188 Bellaire Boulevard, began its soft opening on December 3, with a grand opening on December 11, as reported by Eater Houston. The bubble waffles, a street food in Hong Kong, have made their way to Houston as a cone for ice cream and over-the top additions. There are three waffle flavors available- regular, chocolate, and matcha. Wash all those goodies down with one of the teas or fresh fruit drinks available.

Nancy’s Hustle, 2704 Polk, opened November 29. The EaDo restaurant serves a continental cuisine with French dishes like rabbit leg confit, a meat not often seen on Houston menus. The rabbit entree also comes with bacon-wrapped rabbit loin, braised beans and sage. The Turkish dumplings are another unique item. The drink offerings include a small choice of ciders, from Vermont to the Basque area of Spain and fortified wines to pair with the small, but interesting menu.

El Tiempo Cantina,20237 Gulf Freeway, opened December 14 in the Clear Lake/Webster area. This is the eighth El Tiempo location from father-son duo Roland and Domenic Laurenzo.

Gather your friends for wine, cheese, and charcuterie.EXPAND
Gather your friends for wine, cheese, and charcuterie.
Photo courtesy of Sable Gate Winery

Sable Gate Winery, 2600 Travis, had its grand opening November 4, according to Swamplot. The micro-winery offers more than 50 different kinds of wine from globally-sourced grapes. For oenophiles, business owners and brides/grooms looking to make a splash, owners Szilvia Konya and Bob Egan can guide wannabe vintners into making their own batch of personalized wine from pre-crushed grapes. The winery also serves wine by the glass and has a bistro menu with soups, flatbreads and charcuterie boards.

Jerry Lasco and Cuc Lam are bringing Singapore's cuisine to Houston.
Jerry Lasco and Cuc Lam are bringing Singapore's cuisine to Houston.
Photo courtesy of SING

Former Houston Press reporter, Cuc Lam is collaborating with Jerry Lasco, CEO of Lasco Enterprises, to bring a casual Singaporean restaurant to the Garden Oaks/ Oak Forest in the spring of 2018, as Kate McLean reported for the Press.  The aptly named restaurant, Sing, will feature dishes inspired by Lam’s 20 years of experience cooking the cuisines of China, Vietnam and Thailand. A recent trip to Singapore inspired Lam to create a multi-ethnic menu representative of the diversity she experienced, from bak kut teh ( pork bone noodle soup) to chicken tikka masala. Lam says, “Sing is our tribute to Singapore, the great melting pot.”

Wine, beer and sake on tap will be available, as well as Thai iced tea and Vietnamese coffee. Lease negotiations for the space at 1737 W. 34th are still pending.

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