After a year with few new restaurants in Houston due to pandemic-related complications and restrictions, the pace of opening is going back to normal – and “normal” means: “Don’t blink, you will miss something.” This edition of the hit list not only contains current openings such as YELO and KP’s kitchen, but also catches up with a few places that opened late last year, like 93 ‘Til and Little champions. Readers who shied away from eating in 2020 will find that there are plenty of valuable new experiences to be had – and even more when the restaurant scene revs up.
The Gary Martinez at 93 Til. Courtesy photo.
93 ‘Til, 1601 West Main: housed in the former room of the night heron (and in front of it Lowbrow), 93 ‘Til combines music, light bites and a few main courses with plenty of options for indoor and outdoor seating. Owners, Cooks, and Native California Americans Gary Ly and Lung Ly (no relationship) was inspired for the name by a local band in Oakland.
Some of the must-try dishes on the current menu are: Potato chip gnocchi with buttermilk soubise (a French white sauce made from onion puree), crispy potatoes, chives and parmesan; Chicken liver mousse with fennel jam and smoked trout roe served with toast and the Sea bass Starter with sauce vierge (another French sauce commonly made from olive oil, lemon juice, chopped tomatoes, and chopped basil) and asparagus relish.
On the cocktail side, there are innovative options like that Gary Martinez with Zephyr Gin, Dolin Blanc Vermouth, Pierre Ferrand dry Curaçao and orange bitters and Good morning, Starshine With St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur, Pierre Ferrand Cognac, star anise, black tea, five-spice bitters, ginger beer and lime, they are definitely worth a sip on the terrace.
A cauliflower puree with garlic and caviar at degust. Photo by Kat Ambrose Photography.
Degustation / fun, 7202 Long Point: Head Chef Brandon Silva and barman Steven Salazar of The Kirby Group (which owns Wooster’s Garden and Holman Draft Hall) opened the tasting menu restaurant Degust and the neighboring bar Diversión in mid-January. Each concept is intended as a destination. Diversión offers a changing cocktail menu and tasting that draws influences from Spanish, Mexican and southern cuisine with Japanese cooking techniques. The result is very interesting. The current menu offers two options: the Green pill for vegetarians and Purple pill for meat lovers. Both menus contain recurring elements such as Meyer Lemon Nori, with horseradish and Meyer lemon aperitif and Kohlrabi with peas and carrots. Diners can also add upgrades to the meal, including ossetra caviar, bluefin tuna, fresh black truffles, and foie gras. Reservations are strongly recommended.
Lance Fegen’s drinks menu keeps things fresh with seasonal cocktails like The George.
Sweep it1050 Studewood: Lance sweeping and his restaurant group FEED TX have remodeled the former Liberty Kitchen & Oyster in the chef’s first self-titled restaurant. Fegen’s serves southern Italian dishes, also known as American favorites. Hotplates included The meatball with tomato sauce, pecorino and crusty bread and that Linguine & mussel sauce in red or white. Sicilian pizza is also on the menu with familiar staples like the margherita and typical combinations like Purple Rain with fried aubergines, fresh ricotta, tomato sauce, basil and Sicilian olive oil. Those looking for meatier dishes can choose from a selection of steaks, chicken, or a love-it-or-hate-it dish: veal liver and onions. On the bar side, Nicole Meza, whose experience previously included Weights + Measures and Julep, has compiled a cocktail list of classics like the Sazerac and new creations like this Staycation with bourbon, lemon juice, passion fruit and grapefruit bitter.
The crispy cauliflower in KP’s Kitchen. Courtesy photo.
KP’s kitchen, 700 Town & Country Boulevard: Kerry Pauly has been working with the experienced Houston restaurateur Benjy Levit from Local Foods, The Classic (closed) and the former Benjy’s (now another Local Foods location) for years. Pauly now has his own restaurant. KP’s Kitchen is located at the former Smashburger location in the Town & Country Village shopping center. The neighborhood bistro serves American classics like that KP burgerwith freshly ground beef, smoked bacon and American cheese with homemade french fries and starters like that 12 hour baby back ribs with chilli-citrus glaze. Currently, KPs is BYOB, and there is even a recommendation section on the menu to help you pair your meal with the beer or wine you bring with you.
Quail at Littlefoot, the pop-up at Theodore Rex, with fennel, fennel pollen and green chartreuse. Courtesy photo.
Small foot, 1302 Nance: Time is running out enjoying this special pop-up at Theodore Rex with the Chef and James Beard Award nominated Rising Star Chef Kaitlin Steets. The menu is a five-course tour de force with two menu options: the Tasting menu with vegetables, fish and meat, and the Vegetable menu. Both are based on ingredients from Texas. Some selected dishes from each menu to look forward to: Cylindra beets with braised green fondant, garlic and capers, Farro porridge with farro verde and onion brulée and Creme pâtissiere with Sauternes flavor.
The last few days of Littlefoot’s reservations will likely be done quickly. So act now if you want to participate. For those who missed Chef Yu’s menu for Theodore Rex, the restaurant is officially returning on May 20th.
The tuna ventresca in March. Photo by Abbie Arnold.
March1624 Westheimer: One last store has long been planned for the corner of Goodnight Hospitality at the intersection of Kuester and Westheimer – and it debuted on the last day of its month of the same name. March finally opened alongside Rosie Cannonball and Montrose Cheese & Wine after guests got a taste of what to expect as a pop-up lounge in 2020. Now fully open as a chef / co-owner Felipe Riccio The first menu in March focuses on that Barbary Coast through courts like Tuna Ventresca and Fifth quarter tagine – an interpretation of the Moroccan slow cooked hearty stew.
Thanks to the thoroughly developed wine cellar by General Manager / Sommelier Mark Sayre, there are over 11,000 bottles to choose from. These come from all over the world, and March is particularly focused on small, independent producers. The cocktail program from Alex Negranza (formerly Tongue-Cut Sparrow and Anvil Bar & Refuge) offers unique, complex cocktails with deceptively simple names like artichoke, made with calvados, cinnamon, figs and orgeat, and thymethat combines tequila with vermouth, bitter and celery.
The forbidden eggs in the Nash. Photo by Kirsten Gilliam.
The Nash1111 Rusk: This downtown restaurant in the Texaco building opened earlier this year. It has an impressive, dog-friendly outdoor area, a floor-to-ceiling bar and an open kitchen centered around a wood-burning stove. cook Omar Pereney, best known locally for his work as head chef from now closed sand When he was only 21 years old, he developed The Nash’s menu. Some standout snacks and entrees have dinner and happy hour for now (with brunch and lunch for the coming weeks as more businesses return to the new normal in downtown) Prohibited eggs Crispy, sweet and spicy served with tamarind-sweet chili sauce, coriander, Thai basil and crispy shallots Korean Bacon Bao with Gochujang BBQ sauce, cucumber, pickled onions, peanuts, coriander. The Cauliflower paneer curry Starter with peas, jasmine rice, spiced tomato sauce, garlic flatbread is definitely worth a visit.
Since every good terrace needs a good cocktail, give this a try Red Book Journal Made from vodka, lime, prickly pear syrup, and marigold liqueur.
Fried chicken with whey, fresh herbs, fried garlic and chillies at Tiny Champions. Courtesy photo.
Little champions, 2617 McKinney: The Chef’s Second Endeavor Jason Vaughan and Sean Jensen of Nancy’s hustle and bustle Thanks to the bread and pastry chef’s ability to bake dough, there was early enthusiasm for his pizzas and pasta Julia Doran, but that’s not all the restaurant offers. In addition to the roast chicken with whey salt pictured above, the menu also offers fried clams with saffron and lemon aioli and Smoky fried mozzarella balls with marinara. Bridget Paliwoda, formerly from Oxheart and The Annie, takes care of the wine list so you know you can’t go wrong there. By the way: Tiny Champions also makes its own desserts, including Sesame cake, Chocolate Angostura “salami” and ice cream, whose current flavors are among them Malt with hazelnut praline and Toasted almond. Get a free pinch of Maldon salt upon request or pay $ 2 for a luxurious topping of Pedro Ximenez sherry, roasted meringue, cold brew coffee, or something similarly divine.
Crabs Rangoon at Yelo. Photo by Kimberly Park.
YELO, 23119 Colonial Parkway, Katy: Diners on the 610 Loop were given a glimpse of Yelo while it operated as part of Phat Eatery’s ghost kitchen at Blodgett Food Hall. Operational problems and customer service limitations as per host ghost kitchen guidelines became the owner Alex Au-Yeung Decide it wouldn’t work. The good news is that Yelo is owned by both Au-Yeung and Cuc Lamwho established her reputation at private dinners through ChefsFeed, a pop-up chef and, in short, the driving force behind the ephemeral SING restaurant, is now in her permanent home next to Au-Yeung’s Malaysian restaurant, Phat Eatery. That said, the stunning Bánh Mì is available every day, including the char siu xiu mai banh mi Houston Chronicle restaurant reviewer Alison Cook named it a favorite of 2020. Other Not To Sleep On: Lam is excellent Crab Rangoon, Special beverages that contain Pandan Iced Latte and freshly squeezed juices like that Green goddess with celery, cucumber, green apple, pear and lemon.
Correction note: We were initially unable to identify the correct wine director for Tiny Champions, Bridget Paliwoda, and apologize for the mistake. – Ed.
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