Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: Pacha Nikkei Debuts Today, il Bracco Uptown Next Week

The Lomo Saltado is classic Peruvian.
The Lomo Saltado is classic Peruvian. Photo by Marco Torres

Pacha Nikkei, 10001 Westheimer, opens August 12. The new restaurant comes from former Politan Row chef Masuru Fukuda with the help of veteran restaurant professional, Sebastien Laval. It is an expanded version of Fukuda's Pacha Nikkei concept at Politan Row and is the first Nikkei concept to open in Houston, blending Peruvian ingredients with Japanese techniques and flavors brought to Peru with the Japanese diaspora.
click to enlarge
Chef Masuru Fukuda wants to educate the city about Nikkei cuisine.
Photo by Marco Torres
Chef Fukuda began his journey in Lima, Peru, being of Japanese-Peruvian heritage, a culture that dates back to 1899 when the first Japanese immigrants landed in Peru, according to Eat Peru. The word Nikkei is used both to describe Japanese immigrants and also the cuisine which emerged from the community. The Nikkei are also credited for bringing more seafood into the Peruvian culinary world.
click to enlarge
The Lobster Ceviche exemplifies Chef Fukuda's skill.
Photo by Marco Torres
And seafood is definitely an important part of the menu at Pacha Nikkei, which will feature a full ceviche bar that seats ten people. Fukuda has earned rave reviews for his ceviche and won the "Top Peruvian Chef Award 2022" at the Peru to the World Expo 2022. In addition to the ceviche, the menu will have Nikkei sushi rolls that are spiced with Peruvian flavors and a classic Peruvian dish, lomo saltado.

The bar offerings will also be a combination of Peruvian and Japanese spirits and beers. There will be Japanese whiskeys, sake and Piscos and Pisco infusions including a in-house blend called Pisco'nic. Another original cocktail is the El Tunche made with Pandan-infused Haku vodka, Midori, coco and banana.

click to enlarge
Classic Italian gets a contemporary touch at il Bracco.
Photo by il Bracco
il Bracco, 1705-A Post Oak Boulevard, opens August 15 at the corner of Post Oak and San Felipe. Located in the former California Pizza Kitchen space, this is the second location the Dallas-based Italian concept to open outside of the Park Cities neighborhood.

The restaurant offers classic Italian dishes with fresh homemade pastas, breads and desserts. The USDA Prime steaks are butchered in-house and whole fish is broken down at the restaurant as well. Guests can begin with dishes such as Crispy Artichokes, House-made Focaccia and Meatballs, made with ground beef, lamb and pork. Pasta standouts include the Spicy Gemelli with vodka sauce and the Cacio e Pepe, a simple but sublime plate of bucatini, black pepper and pecorino Romano. The Bolognese gets its richness from six-hour, slow-cooked beef, lamb and pork ragu atop mafaldine noodles.
click to enlarge
il Bracco serves more than just pasta.
Photo by il Bracco
The restaurant also has entree salads such as The Plaza with roasted chicken  or the Chopped Salad with salami, aged provolone, piquillo peppers, Castelvetrano olives, basil and pepperoncini vinaigrette.  There are sandwiches, too, like the Classic Italian Combo and Fried Chicken Sandwich. Mediterranean Sea Bass with mint gremolata, Chicken Piccata and the Center Cut Filet, served with polenta, are tasty entree options.

Any good Italian restaurant prizes its wine list and il Bracco's is a mix of Italian varietals and approachable New World wines. It also offers a selection of cocktails such as The Bracco, a frozen concoction of New Amsterdam vodka, Aperol and fresh, hand-squeezed grapefruit juice.  The Asti 76 is another cocktail inspired by bel paese, made with Tito's vodka, lemon and Moscato di Asti.
click to enlarge
An elegant, yet cozy interior awaits at il Bracco.
Photo by il Bracco
The contemporary restaurant comes from Matt Gottlieb and Robert Quick under the Western Addition umbrella, which was founded by Quick and his wife Mary Lucille, in 2018. Quick and Gottlieb, both veterans of the Hillstone Restaurant Group, partnered to open the first il Bracco in Dallas in the spring of 2019.

The Post Oak location was designed by Michael Hsu of Michael Hsu Office of Architecture and offers a spacious patio, bar and cocktail lounge in addition to the dining room. Artwork from Quick's personal collection is on display and his wife Mary Lucille, il Bracco's Design Director, was in charge of curating the pieces.
click to enlarge
We think our burger and fries dream just came true.
Photo by Raydon Creative
Rosland's Grill and Bar, 903 Durham, opened August 9 in the Washington Corridor. The new dining destination comes from Don and Kim Cristopher, the husband and wife behind DKC Companies. Don Cristopher has been involved in a number of local projects including Cyclone Anaya's, Juanita's Tex-Mex Cantina, Otto's Barbecue and Hamburgers, Le Peep and the soon-to open Riverhouse, just east of downtown Houston.

The couple have executive chef Cameron Cain leading the culinary side with a menu of oysters, prime seafood, chef's sandwiches, burgers and desserts. The restaurant will also feature prime meats carved-in house and aquaponic-grown salads. Cain, who is the corporate chef for DKC Companies, says, " When developing the menu, no stone went unturned when it came to sourcing the highest quality ingredients."
click to enlarge
Chef C's Chocolate Shock is also one of awe.
Photo by Raydon Creative
As for the decor, there are colorful and comfortable booths set in an eclectic and inviting atmosphere. Throughout the 6,000 square-foot space, works and murals from local artists adorn the walls and guests will see a mural from Kenneth Pierson, who specializes in street art and has been the featured artist twice at Houston's Via Colori Street Painting Festival.

The bar is designed around the historic 1880s Brunswick bar, which came about when the billiards company starting producing pre-fab long bars which became ubiquitous in establishments from saloons to high-end hotels.  At Rosland's bar, guests can expect craft cocktails, a selection of fine spirits, frozen drinks, local beers and a curated wine list.
click to enlarge
The Tacos Callejeros make a good snack with cocktails.
Photo by Raydon Creative
The restaurant was inspired by a conceptualized, mysterious figure called Rosland. Her fictional back story is one of many Houstonian generations; a strong and compassionate patron of the arts with a passion for giving back and rescuing animals. Her presence is felt in the artistic depictions of her throughout the building. Along with Rosland, the Cristophers have also paid tribute in the murals to Straydog, a no-kill dog shelter and sanctuary in which the couple are directly involved.

The new eatery and bar will be open for lunch and dinner plus will offer extended late night hours to appeal to restaurant industry employees, and anyone else working the late shift, by opening from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. through 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, Rosland will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. offering a high-end weekend breakfast with reasonable pricing.
click to enlarge
Mandito's is bringing its carne asada to Bellaire.
Photo by Kirsten Gilliam
Mandito's Tex-Mex, 5101 Bellaire, is coming to Houston in early 2023. It will be the second location for the concept which first debuted in Round Top, Texas in 2017. It comes from Cinda and Armando Palacios, owners of the Palacios Murphy hospitality group which also operates the longtime River Oaks Tex-Mex establishment  Armandos  and the Italian restaurant Lulu's, which has a location in River Oaks and Round Top as well. The couple also own Popi Burger and Hotel Lulu in Round Top.

Mandito's means "little Armandos" and the new restaurant is a casual, cantina-style version of its big brother. Some of the menu items from the venerable Armandos, which first opened in 1978, will be on the menu including fajitas, enchiladas, fish tacos and its famous twice-refried beans. It also has the Mandito's "World Famous" Burrito Bowl, some seafood options and churros and tres leches for dessert. There is a selection of classic and high-end margaritas, too.
click to enlarge
Mandito's will have a nice, lush patio for margarita weather.
Rendering by RDstudio, Inc.
The restaurant was designed by New York-based architect, Rocco DiLeo with custom interior furnishings plus a state-of-the-art BE&SCO Press and Oven which can turn out 900 fresh tortillas an hour. Mandito's Bellaire will also have a temperature-controlled 42-seat patio.

Cinda Palacios, CEO and co-owner said in a press release, "For over 50 years, the stories of Tex-Mex cuisine have been largely disregarded-much like the people who made the food iconic- and we want to preserve those stories and tell them to the world. Bringing Mandito's to Bellaire is one further step toward achieving that ambitious goal."
click to enlarge
The Chicken and waffles get a little sweet addition to the spice.
Photo by Dylan McEwan
The Cookshack, 223 Mason, opened August 8. It was preceded by another location July 4, in Spring, at 21640 Kuykendahl. The two new restaurants are the third and fourth for Houston, bringing the total for the Texas brand to seven in all.

It was founded by Mark Rogers in Fort Worth in 2019, so its growth across the state has been rapid thanks to its take on the hot chicken craze that is taking over American menus. Rogers is a former Baylor baseball player and sports anchor for CBS-KTVT. He has been in the restaurant industry for the past 15 years and is the son of Doug Rogers, co-founder of Cheddar's Casual Cafe. He decided to jump on the hot chicken bandwagon in 2017.
click to enlarge
A big slab of ribs from a Texas-based restaurant.
Photo by Dylan McEwan
The menu is straight forward with Chicken Tenders, Chicken Sandwich, Chicken and Waffles, House-Smoked Ribs and Hot Chicken Tacos. Diners can choose from five heat levels that range from Not Hot to AMF (Adios My Friend). We think Medium or Texas Hot should please most folks. There are also entree salads like The Shack Salad and Chicken Kale Salad plus sides such as fries, coleslaw and Texas Caviar.

Besides soft drinks, the restaurant also has adult beverages including its Boujee Margarita, along with beer and wine.
click to enlarge
The Stand expands to The Woodlands.
Photo by The Stand
The Stand, 2000 Hughes Landing, opened softly August 9 in The Woodlands. This is the first Texas outpost for the California-founded brand. It first opened in Encino in 2003 serving mouth-watering burgers, but also vegan and vegetarian menu items. It proudly states that it has one of the broadest and most accessible menus to accommodate various diets.
click to enlarge
We could use a cold milkshake right about now.
Photo by The Stand
Its soft opening coincided with its Charity Day in which 100 percent of sales went to two local organizations: Montgomery County Food Bank and The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. The Stand's debut in Texas comes from exclusive Texas Licensee, Buffalo 1942 LLC, an affiliate of Triple Tap Ventures LLC. The licensee is actively looking for new sites to develop and expand the brand in Houston and across the state of Texas.

Murray Wishengrad, CEO and Founder of The Stand said, " With a vibrant, active community of families and professionals, The Woodlands is the ideal place to establish our roots in the Texas market."
click to enlarge
A ribeye steak and buttered chicken are art of the global menu at Fusion59.
Photo by Ibrahim Halawa
Fusion59, 11786 Wilcrest, opened August 2. The globally-inspired restaurant offers a diverse menu designed by consulting chef Kristi Courtney, whose resume includes Daily Gather and The Dunlavy. There are appetizers like chicken or vegetable samosas, 59Fusion Wings, Fried Mortadella Sando and Roasted Red Red Pepper Hummus. There is a Gourmet Pizza selection which combines the flavors of India and Italy with naan as the base. For entrees, Buttered Chicken, Mediterranean Salmon and Lamb Bolognese offer a variety of proteins and cuisines along with the Ribeye Steak.
click to enlarge
The French 75 becomes a French 59 at Fusion59.
Photo by Ibrahim Halawa
The mixology part of the concept was developed by JoJo Martinez, owner of local cocktail consulting company, J. Martini Services. The drinks menu includes seasonal craft cocktails like the Mi Amorita made with tequila, rose, orange liqueur, lime and rose essence. There's also its French 59, a petite cocktail of gin, spiced mango, lemon and champagne. With smoked cocktails being on trend, the bar has its own offering called The Family Tradition, a spin on an Old Fashioned with bourbon, turbinado sugar, cherry and angostura bitters served over a fat ice cube before emerging from its smoke box with a citrus twist and Italian cherry.
click to enlarge
The bar at Fusion59 is sleek and contemporary.
Photo by Ibrahim Halawa
The space is 3,500 square feet with dining tables surrounding the bar and a large patio for dining al fresco.

For the month of August, the entire menu is half-off during happy hour which runs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily, excluding Mondays when the restaurant is closed. Fusion59 is also participating in Houston Restaurant Weeks with a three-course dinner for $39.
click to enlarge
Cabo Bob's is now open in Willowbrook.
Photo by Marissa Veach
Cabo Bob's Burritos, 7103 Cypress Creek Parkway, opened August 10 in the space formerly occupied by JCI (James Coney Island). This is the first of three new stores for the Houston area with one planned for 740 Mason in Katy in September, followed by a restaurant at 11940 Southwest Freeway a month or two later. Cabo Bob's was founded in Austin in 2008 and entered the Houston market in 2019 with its location on Fountainview.
click to enlarge
Surf's up at Cabo Bob's.
Photo by Richard Casteel
The menu is one of burritos, tacos, nachos, salads and bowls that can be customized. There are also Bob's Specials including Baja Fish Tacos, Brisket & Queso Burrito and Bob's Chicken Bowl. For vegans, the restaurant offers the Seventeen Veggie Burrito.

The new locations will have pick-up windows and the company will implement catering in the area, a service that is a big part of its business in Austin.

Adriatic Cafe, 17402 Northwest Freeway, reopened August 1, after having closed due to a fire in August 2021. Now, after a year, the family-owned company has reopened its original location in Jersey Village. There are three other locations in Tomball, Spring and Katy.
click to enlarge
Burgers are always good eats.
Photo by Good Eatz
Good Eatz, 8805 Jones, opened July 6 in the Jersey Village area. Formerly a food truck, it has a menu of good eats like burgers, hot dogs, fried chicken strips and Frito pie. There are sandwiches like the Patty Melt and the Brisket Grilled Cheese plus sides such as French fries, cheese curds and the Loaded Spud. The banana pudding in a jar is a popular and must-have dessert.
click to enlarge
The Brisket Grilled Cheese at Good Eatz is worth the calories.
Photo by Good Eatz
Owner Troy Johnson first opened his business serving food from a tent in 2017. Eventually, he upgraded to a food truck and now the U.S. Army veteran has opened his first brick and mortar, along with some help from his restaurant manager and former Army buddy, Wayne, who he met when they were both at Fort Carson years ago.

With the new space, Johnson plans to offer a Sunday brunch menu along with the menu of burgers, sandwiches and dogs. The brunch service begins August 21. Johnson also plans to incorporate a Friday Fish Fry to the menu in the future.
click to enlarge
Andy Nguyen, Bun B and Mike Pham take home the honors.
Photo by the Scurfield Group

Bun B's Trill Burgers will have two pop-ups this month, after winning GMA's Ultimate Burger Spot in a competition hosted by Good Morning America. The first will be held at 8th Wonder Brewery, 2202 Dallas, August 14 from noon to 6 p.m. It will be followed by a second pop up at Houston City Hall, 901 Bagby, August 28 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Both appearances will offer the full menu including the OG Burger, Grilled Onion Burger, Vegan Smashburger and seasoned fries.

The City Hall event, done in conjunction with the City of Houston, will be family-friendly with other food trucks on site as well. Details on special entertainment and vendors will be released soon.
The Grilled Onion Burger is for lovers of the allium.
Photo by Becca Wright
Trill Burgers is owned by rap artist Bun B (Bernard Freeman), Andy Nguyen and Nick Scurfield and was founded in 2021. Pop-ups at festivals, celebrity parties and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo have built its reputation over the past year and a half. There are plans to open a brick and mortar soon, one which has been teased for quite a while now.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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.