Global Positioning

At warm and lovely new Traveler’s Table, an ex-journalist and world traveler serves up his wonderful world on a plate.

Debora Smail and Kirsten Gilliam
MiddleEasternFlatBreadCut-0102
MiddleEasternFlatBreadCut-0102

Its mission sounds dauntingly broad — nothing less than to encourage people “to explore the world through food and drink” — but owner-operator Matthew Mitchell’s new Traveler’s Table actually comes across as a friendly neighborhood restaurant, with a fun, worldly menu and an unassumingly hip environment. The latter is thanks to smart ideas such as positioning the main entrance at the edge of an eat-in garden, and to space designer Gin Braverman’s palette of retro-sophisticated mossy greens to complement walls of glass and loads of light-toned and linear hardwood accents; the vibe calls to mind the living room of a well-to-do great uncle’s warmly mod lake house back east.


Mitchell’s own backstory is fascinating, and the inspiration for his global approach. He studied at Rice, Emory and Oxford, and worked in turns in journalism and the pharmaceutical industry, a varied career that took him from Houston to London and Paris and back again. The eatery, carved out of the cool, still new, mostly glass building with twin gabled rooves that briefly contained Aqui, is a true passion project for the young man, who left behind his exec job at a clinical research company to work as a bartender at Benjy’s to gain some working knowledge of the restaurant biz.

The twin-roofed Westheimer building that formerly housed Aqui was renovated to become Traveler’s TableThe twin-roofed Westheimer building that formerly housed Aqui was renovated to become Traveler’s Table

At Traveler’s Table, he’s very hands-on, darting back and forth from the very open kitchen in back to visit with guests, sometimes even delivering drinks and dishes himself. The cocktail list is a good time, ranging from buttoned-up instant classics like the gin-and-tonic upgrade called the Foreign Correspondent, with hints of lime, cucumber and rosemary, to the colorful, layered vodka-and-soju-based number dubbed the Forbidden City, highlighting Asian-esque bursting boba tapioca bubbles.

the menu includes various preparations of PEI mussels, including a Spanish one with crispy bread, a Belgian one with fries and truffle aioli, and the Thai version, in a coconut-lemongrass broth. The menu includes various preparations of PEI mussels, including a Spanish one with crispy bread, a Belgian one with fries and truffle aioli, and the Thai version, in a coconut-lemongrass broth.

“Small plates” that wow include the various options for mussels; the Belgian ones, swimming in garlic-wine butter, with fries and truffle aioli on the side, are hard to beat, although the Spanish are said to be the most popular, with a bold tomato sofrito and grilled country bread for dipping. The hummus-plus is quite satisfying, with its earthy rustic quality, topped with a zippy ragu of braised lamb shank. Entrees are divided up by region, with one early standout being the Thai Khao Soi, a rich yellow curry featuring dark meat chicken and both soft egg noodles and crispy fried noodles. Chimichurri-sauced hanger steak and seared scallops, the latter coming with sweet-corn puree and chorizo, represent the Americas.

Traveler’s Table offers a wonderful culinary journey, to be sure. But in the end, its greatest attribute may be how much it makes you feel at home.

AT TOP: Traveler’s Table’s loaded Middle Eastern Vegetable flatbread

Food+Travel
With Expertise in Blondes, Extensions and More, the Janelle Alexis Team Is a Go-To Salon

YOU CAN'T LIMIT Janelle to one title – Hairdresser. Her career and business has been established and built on a strong foundation. Using her two business degrees + one more in-process, this enables Janelle and the team to deliver not only a customer-focused experience, but a foundationally solid business. There is much more than meets the eye, and in sharing a little bit about Janelle, she was not only an international hair extension educator for over 14 years, but brings extensive expertise to blondes. She rounds this out with her previously launched namesake cosmetic line, which is a perfect complement to her belief that “Beauty is our Business”.

Keep ReadingShow less

AS WE PRODUCE our second annual “Cool 100” list, we’re reminded of our thoughts as we debuted this feature last year. We acknowledged that deciding who and what is cool is not only a moving target but also entirely subjective. And that attempting to “rank” the coolest people in Houston is a fool’s errand, one that will leave us immediately open to criticism. “You think she is cooler than him? You included this person?! You left off that one!?"

Keep ReadingShow less
People + Places

Gragner's (photo by Marco Torres)

THE MUSEUM DISTRICT hasn't always been the easiest place to open and operate a restaurant, for some reason. But there's a Houston couple who seems to have gotten the hang of it — and today they unveil their newest concept on Binz St.

Keep ReadingShow less
Food