Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: Turner's Cut Swans In, Azumi Debuts

Turner's Cut has more than steaks. It also offers exquisitely plated fish.
Turner's Cut has more than steaks. It also offers exquisitely plated fish. Photo by Brain Kennedy

Turner's Cut, 811 Buffalo Park, opened June 28 at Autry Park, almost hand in hand with another Berg Hospitality Group concept, The Sylvie, which also opened June 28 at Texas Tower. Sophistication and luxury have become a hallmark for a number of Berg restaurants and Turner's Cut will join the portfolio as an opulent and indulgent steakhouse. Its white glove service, sparkling chandeliers and well-placed antiques evoke the nostalgic glamour of the Gilded Age, along with the Golden Era when Prohibition lit the flames of decadence and discreet naughtiness.

And that's exactly what Benjamin Berg, CEO and Founder of Berg Hospitality Group, is going for. He said in a press release, " Turner's Cut is more evocative of a dinner party in a luxurious estate than a modern-day restaurant-but yet with all of the bespoke touches and elevated food and cocktails that our clientele would want."
click to enlarge
Live music will be played on the mezzanine.
Photo by Brian Kennedy
Guests enter the restaurant under a dome awning inspired by establishments once visited by New York's high society. The exterior architecture includes a facade of Venetian glass bricks while the interior mixes dark, rich colors with touches of white and gold. Behind the host stand is a large-scale piece of art titled  "The Chef with Knife", an acrylic and charcoal work from New Orleans artist Willie Berch. The design was done by Berg and Gail McCleese of sensitori, a Houston-based hospitality design firm.
click to enlarge
King Crab gets an elegant presentation at Turner's Cut.
Photo by Brian Kennedy
The menu's design was just as visionary with Berg bringing in Franck Savoy, Chief Operations Officer to assemble a talented team. Savoy is the son of Michelin-starred phenom chef Guy Savoy. He enlisted Senior Corporate Chef Eric Damidot, Regional Culinary Director Pablo Penalosa and Executive Chef Chelsea Cummings to curate the array of dishes.

The menu includes rare cuts of meat from America and Japan with pricey familiars such as Japanese A5 and Prime Dry Aged Ribeye. There's the Raw Bar Cart which allows guests to choose tableside their preferences including sashimi, lobster, oysters, King Crab and caviar. In keeping with the white glove service, there's the Carving Cart with bone-in prime rib as well as the Martini Cart for the perfect quaff. In addition, there are six and nine-course tasting menus with optional wine pairings.
click to enlarge
The bar at Turner's Cut is made from gold cut crystal glass, backed by Venetian glass bricks.
Photo by Brian Kennedy
The bar offers signature drinks, spirit-free cocktails, beer and an extensive wine list created by Sommelier Royston Remick whose resume includes Houston businesses such as Backstreet Cafe, Max's Wine Dive and Antica osteria.
click to enlarge
The Short Rib gets a Japanese touch at Azumi.
Photo by Atlas Restaurant Group
Azumi, 4444 Westheimer, opened June 24 in River Oaks District. The modern Japanese restaurant comes from Atlas Restaurant Group which opened the first Azumi in Baltimore in December 2014. The hospitality group is based in "Charm City" and operates over 50 concepts across Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Texas and Florida. Atlas currently operates two other concepts in Houston, Marmo and Loch Bar. It closed its Ouzo Bay restaurant in 2023 to transform it into Azumi.

The fine dining concept is led by executive chef Timur Fazilov, a chef with years of Michelin-star experience and working with esteemed chef Masaharu Morimoto as executive chef at Morimoto in Qatar and as brand executive chef for Sa'Moto.  The Japanese menu will incorporate fusion elements while focusing primarily on sushi.
click to enlarge
Chef Timur Fazilov knows a thing or two about Japanese cuisine.
Photo by Atlas Restaurant Group
Highlights of the new menu include Scallop Tiradito and  Hirame (flounder) Crudo plus larger plates such as Wagyu Short Rib and Yakisoba Noodles. There is also an extensive list of nigiri, sashimi and maki rolls. Guests will also be able to indulge in some of the delights from Azumi Baltimore such as Flaming King Crab Roll, Miso Black Cod and Chicken Gyoza. Some of the tasting options include a Japanese A5 wagyu flight and the Toyosu Nigiri Plate which offers 12 assorted pieces of the chef's best sushi.
click to enlarge
The 11-seat sushi bar is a prized seating.
Photo by Brian Kennedy
Designed by Baltimore-based Patrick Sutton, the 6,500 square-foot restaurant is elegant and dramatic with light colors and natural materials inspired by Tokyo's refined dining scene. White oak is used throughout as an homage to its River Oaks location. In addition to seating 80 in the main dining room and 11 guests at the sushi bar, there are two covered terraces for 66 guests, with the south-facing terrace opening to the 20-seat cocktail bar and a 20-seat chef's table.

There are signature cocktails, an extensive wine list, 16 different rare bottles of Japanese whiskey and over 60 sakes.

Parking is free in the River Oaks District parking garage or guests can opt to pay for valet.
click to enlarge
New combos make for delicious lunch choices.
Photo by Andrew Hemingway
Common Bond Bistro & Bakery, 5740 San Felipe, opened softly June 26 in the Tanglewood area with a grand opening planned for August. The 5,500 square-foot restaurant is the largest for the brand to date and spans two floors, including an upstairs area that can be used for private events.

The counter-service restaurant is bright and airy with a hand-painted mural adding a pop of color along with the turquoise and pink colors of the company's palette. There are tables, booths and banquettes inside plus a patio sporting turquoise umbrellas along the storefront.
click to enlarge
It will eventually be patio weather again.
Photo by Andrew Hemingway
Along with its newest spot, comes a new Bistro & Bakery menu as well from Chef Jason Gould. In addition to the breakfast, lunch and dinner offerings and its artisanal baked goods, there are new burgers such as Classic Bistro, Bacon BBQ and Mushroom Goat Cheese. There are also new combos with a choice of half-sandwich and soup or salad. Guests on the go or heading back to the office can choose one of its lunch boxes like the Tomato & Burrata, Vegan Fall Greens or Texas Club. The new menu also offers dishes such as Cavatappi Pasta with black pepper sausage, creamy tomato sauce, roasted red peppers, pistou and fresh basil.

Summer beverages at Common Bond include an array of Frozen Lemonades in Peach, Mango, Passionfruit, Strawberry or Traditional flavors. For those needing a caffeine jolt but a cool drink, there's the Cold Brew with Sweet Cream and Cold Foam Iced Lattes. Common Bond Bistro also features a full beer and wine list.

Brazos Bagel ceased operations in Houston this week. The announcement for the sudden departure was made via social media by owner Zac Wilson who posted that Brazos Bagel would be shutting down the retail and wholesale operations in Houston. He wrote, "The reasons are varied and many. Perhaps one day it will be worth going deeper into the how and why, but for now it just is. I will miss all of the joy that you brought to my life, it was transformative and inspiring."

Wilson went on to say that his artisanal bagels would now be available, starting July 7, at Fall Creek Farmers Market in Atascocita every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Buy Local Market in Humble every Thursday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. He also mentioned his partnership with Summer Lane Coffee in Huntsville. On July 1, Wilson again posted on the Brazos Bagel Facebook that he finally had a plan for reopening at Summer Lane Coffee, 701 Avenue M, listing the hours for Wednesday through Sunday.

In the most recent post, he wrote about the struggles of being closed for days as a small business owner, adding "It can be a scary time just to take time needed to rest."

He also said, "I've at last turned the corner I've been desperately waiting for and finally feel like an actual human being again."

Wilson debuted his much-craved bagels with various pop-ups, finally landing a brick and mortar in the Heights. It debuted as Brazos Bagel February 1, 2024 but was closed within the first week as Wilson sold out of the extremely popular bagels daily and then split ways with his partners and investors, according to the Houston Chronicle. It then reopened February 12 as the rebranded Space City Bagels with Wilson no longer involved.

Nyammings Fusion Bistro Express, 2626 Blodgett, opens July 10 at Blodgett Food Hall. It's an outpost of Nyammings Fusion Bistro on Wilcrest owned by former NFL football player and chef, Victor Allotey, who also owns Empire State Jazz Cafe.

The express version of Nyammings will offer a full menu of Caribbean, Creole and Soul dishes featuring Jamaican Patties, Jerk Lambchops, Sausage Gumbo, Shrimp and Crawfish Etoufee and Coco Bread. There's also a selection of pastas such as Cajun Shrimp Pasta, Mardi Gras Pasta and Rasta Pasta which is made with a creamy jerk sauce. Entrees include Blackened Fish, Shrimp Creole, Jamaican Oxtails and Jamaican Curry Goat.

Beverage options include Jamaican sodas like D&G Kola, D&G Cream Soda and Pineapple Soda as well as Coke products. There is a wide array of homemade lemonades and iced teas in a variety of flavors.
The Giant can feed you and a couple of friends.
Photo by Jersey Mike's Subs
Jersey Mike's Subs, 1358 W. 43rd, opened July 3. Franchise owner John Enterline began the grand opening and fundraiser the same day and it will run through July 7 with special fundraising coupons benefitting the Harriet and Joe Foster Family YMCA.

Known for its premium meats and cheeses and baked-in-store bread, it also has a devoted following for its Mike's Way order in which the sub is topped with lettuce, tomato and onion then given a kiss of "the juice", its signature blend of red wine vinegar and olive oil.

Customers may order online or through the app for pickup. There is also delivery available through the app as well as third-party delivery partners in most areas.
click to enlarge
Trill Burgers fans can order the Triple OG through DoorDash and enjoy it in the privacy of their home sans judgment.
Photo by Dylan McEawn
Trill Burgers, 3607 S. Shepherd, has partnered exclusively with DoorDash to offer its award-winning smashburgers for delivery. The Trill Burgers full menu will be available on the DoorDash app and its ordering hours will be the same as its in-store operations, daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Co-founder and rap artist Bun B is excited to take the Trill Burgers experience to a new level. He said in a press release, "You can't always make it out when you're craving a Trill Burger and DoorDash is the perfect partner to help get our burgers directly in the hands of our guests."

It beats standing in the line that usually wraps around Trill Burgers' restaurant, especially in Houston's summer heat. 
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.