Inside Artisans’ New Westheimer Digs — Bon Appetit!

Shane Dante
Inside Artisans’ New Westheimer Digs — Bon Appetit!

IT MAY TAKE a minute, but while seated at the coveted chef’s table that wraps around the busy and fragrant open kitchen, survey Artisans’ new digs on Westheimer and see if you can’t remember what previously occupied the space.

Look past the fleur-de-lis-embellished room dividers and expansive, beautiful paintings. Forget for a moment the sounds of sizzling escargot and decanting of wine. And imagine that instead of perched in a leather-upholstered bar chair snacking on a warm baguette with whipped butter, you’re in a sticky red-pleather booth eating a juicy hot dog. The iconic Houston brand James Coney Island sold off its Galleria-area building in 2022, and at the end of last year, after a lengthy reno and expansion courtesy of architecture and design firm Gesnler, Midtown mainstay Artisans made the move to the now super-chic building.

Here, guests can expect Executive Chef Jaques Fox’s same dedication to both traditional and innovative French cuisine as was displayed at the Louisiana Street restaurant for 12 years. Fox cites the allure of the Galleria area to both locals and visitors alike, and the proximity to other noted fine-dining options like Pappas Bros. Steakhouse and Trulucks’, as factors in the move.

Each dining area of the open-concept restaurant has its own distinct feel; the cozy bar is warm and inviting, and the private dining room looking out onto the intimate patio has discrete sliding doors. The previously mentioned Table du Chef is located in the back corner of the restaurant, behind the main dining space that boasts roomy winged chairs and high-backed booths.

A three-course pre-fixe menu, with selections that change daily, is offered for both lunch and dinner, in addition to several a la carte plates. The lunch-only foie-gras-topped burger is a treat, while at dinner, duck confit with orange-chili sauce is a must-try. Weekend brunch brings a croque-monsieur served on a house-made croissant with a creamy dijon-bechamel sauce. For extended enjoyment, six- and seven-course meals are served with optional wine pairings at the chef’s table.

“Dining at Artisans is a passionate art form,” says Fox. “It’s a fusion of exquisite French cooking and technique with our special touch.”

At lunch, a short but sweet dessert selection includes a treat du jour that might be a creamy, layered, shortbread and hazelnut bar — but at dinner, patrons get their choice among 10 tarts, cakes, eclairs and more. The tiramisu is served with candied orange peel, while the chocolate mousse boasts spongy red velvet cake and macerated berries. A dainty scoop of fresh-fruit sorbet complements any and all of the above.

It remains dark and moody inside the new Artisans, which makes it easy to forget that you’re a mere few yards away from the hustle and bustle of Westheimer — and even easier to forget that this was once a gleaming white hot dog stand.

Getting cozy with a martini in Artisans’ main dining room

Le Saumon Fumé au Caviar with a poached quail egg

A petite opera-cake dessert

Live jazz situated near a painting of a rooster, Artisans’ mascot

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