DECEMBER IS BLOWING in with new restaurants, exciting new digs for long-time favorites, and more imports joining our city. Here’s where to pull up a chair!
Cocody duck breast (photo by Mickael Zibi)
The River Oaks Shopping Center is lighting up for the holidays with restaurants galore — so far this year, newcomers include Zanti, Hudson House, the temporarily shuttered Albi, and the news of long-time La Griglia moving to its groundbreaking home to W. Dallas just around the corner. Stunning French-inspired Cocody Restaurant and Bar is the newest kid on the West Gray block: Partners of the restaurant include French chefs David Denis, previously of Le Mistral, and his brother Sylvain, veteran chef Lionel Debon, and co-owners Edith and Edwin Bosso.
Upscale Cocody — pronounced co-co-dee and named after a suburb on the Ivory Coast where Edwin Bosso grew up — is peppered with global culinary influences. Playfully presented dishes include Patagonia smoked salmon and tartare duo, Moulard duck breast with foie gras sauce, and familiar touches like Texas blackened red snapper with Madras curry and quinoa-lime salad with avocado carpaccio. Prepare to be dazzled by the opulent dining room, designed by Nina Magon Studio; architect for the project is Winn Wittman. Hundreds of crystal lights dangle from the ceiling along with a showpiece rose-gold metal bar, a take on the Mona Lisa painting, and white-clothed tables dotted between tres chic décor in shades of pink and gold.
Speaking of French, longtime Midtown-area Artisans opens Dec. 4 in a new home on Westheimer near the Galleria. Co-owners chef Jacques Fox and Jason Schickedanz collaborated with Gensler Architects to create a unique layout with an open kitchen, five private party rooms, an outdoor terrace and a porte cachere grande entrance. There’s an intimate Table du Chef for 28 guests, as well as mezzanine-level tables and banquettes. The classic French menu remains the same with luxe entrees such as pan-seared veal chop with wild-mushroom risotto, and red-wine-braised lamb shank with creamy polenta.
1891 food spread (photo by Andrew Hemingway)
Chef Jason Gould — formerly with Common Bond, Gravitas, and more, is at it again: This time, he’s a co-owner of 1891 American Eatery & Bar in the Heights. The restaurant name hails from the year the Heights community was founded, and the concept is family-friendly, much like its neighborhood. On the Houston-centric menu, expect snacks like crab fritters, Korean fried cauliflower, and soft pretzels along with smash burgers, soups, wraps and sandwiches. For mains, look for braised short ribs, Gulf fish with walnut pesto, and meaty confit duck legs to name a few.
A Tex Mex staple from DFW has joined River Oaks District shopping center, taking the shuttered Seasons 52 space. Its largest location to date, Mi Cocina’s décor reflects Mexican heritage by displaying the work of Mexican artists including a vibrant mural by Luis Sottil and furniture by Peter Glassford. The institution is known for its Mambo Taxi sangria-swirled margarita, a potent libation made with pinot noir, Sauza tequila, lime juice and brandy. But guests don’t survive on booze alone — the menu sports classics including brisket tacos, four different styles of nachos, Tex Mex combo dinners, and the house fave Rico Salad, piled with chicken fajitas, bacon, aged cheddar and tomato (served over Romaine or chopped, a.k.a. “Ricardo style”). Also popular is the Shrimp Brochette: four bacon-wrapped wild Gulf shrimp with Jack cheese, jalapeno, poblano crema and guacamole.
In celebration of the launch of Mi Cocina River Oaks District, the creative team at Alto rideshare has designed a new set of wheels, which is now on the road in H-Town! Book a safe, comfortable and clean Alto ride and one of five artful cars could show up at your doorstep. If so, your Alto car will be stocked with gift cards, goodies and other surprises as your reward.
'Tis the season for all the best cocktails! Here's a roundup of the most festively flavored libations in town.