WHAT OMICRON VARIANT? Houston’s restaurant scene is adapting — and booming. Exciting announcements are made every week, and the list of hot spots to check out just keeps growing. Here are four to add now.
Inside Underbelly Burger
Underbelly Burger “I love burgers,” said Chris Shepherd yesterday on Instagram. “Hamburgers to me are an expression of one’s self. It really says a lot about the person. The style that you like — a single, a double, grilled burgers, seared burgers, smashed burgers, stuffed burgers, and the list goes on and on.” Shepherd’s love of burgers is on full display at the new Underbelly Burger, which opened yesterday in the historic Houston Farmers Market.
There are two styles of burger available — one utilizing RC Ranch Butchers’ Wagyu, and the other using 44 Farms Black Angus — plus a spicy chicken sandwich, hot dog, veggie patty, and perfectly crisped fries dusted in ranch powder. Wash it all down with a milkshake, wine or beer.
The quaint, retro-chic space — designed by Amanda Medsger and incorporating vintage burger memorabilia collected by Shepherd — seats 14 inside, and has a pickup window for those who choose to sit outside at one of the many picnic tables throughout the market.
Money Cat Team (photo by Kimberly Park)
Money Cat The team behind Katy’s talked-about Tobiuo Sushi & Bar — known for its whole-bluefin tasting-menu events — will soon bring its adventurous eats inside the Loop. Chef-owner Sherman Yeung and a staff that includes 21-year-old chef de cuisine Jio Dingayan and GM Le Chau will open Money Cat, a modern Japanese and sushi restaurant, next-door to Kiran’s on Richmond this summer.
Yeung calls the new venture a “much more personal project,” saying in a release, “I don’t want to just be comfortable; I want to challenge myself.” He studied at Michelin-starred restaurants to inform Money Cat’s menu — Birdsong in San Francisco, and Chicago’s Smyth — and will bring “New Japanese” cuisine to Houston, a city famous for its diversity and population of first- and second-generation Asian Americans.
Money Cat will serve dinner only, and will offer a tasting-menu option in addition to a la carte dishes that include a katsu sando on house milk bread, and kabocha ravioli — all served with Yeung’s homemade miso and soy sauces, and a fruity koji butter. Expect a range of cocktails and a thorough wine and tea program.
A rendering of Amrina
Amrina The newly establish Kahani Social Group will soon open its first concept, Amrina, in The Woodlands. The name is Arabic for “princess,” while Kahani translates to “story” — so naturally, Amrina will tell the story of a mysterious modern princess, from a décor scheme of jewel tones and sumptuous textures and fabrics to a menu of eclectic Indian-inspired fare.
Helmed by chef Jaspratap “Jassi” Bindra, who earned accolades worldwide for his work at Punjab Grill in D.C., Amrina is located in The Woodlands’ Waterway Square. It will boast a cocktail lounge (DJs and live entertainment on weekends!) and a unique in-kitchen chef’s table, as well as a patio and main dining room.
Kahani’s Preet Paul Singh and Surpreet Singh plan to bring additional “intentionally unorthodox” concepts to the Houston area in 2022.
Hot Smoked Salmon Snitter (photo by Kat Ambrose)
Golfstrømmen From the concert venue to rooftop garden, POST Houston offers many a compelling reason to visit — but this latest one might be the most unique. James Beard-winning chef-restaurateur Paul Qui has teamed up with Norway-based Christopher Haatuft to open a sustainable seafood market and Neo-Fjordic restaurant dubbed Golfstrømmen. Not sure what that means? Read on.
A few years back, Qui visited celebrated chef Haatuft in Norway for farm tours and fishing, and the pair discussed opening a restaurant and market utilizing the freshest catches and Norwegian techniques, sauces, oils and seasonings. There’s the Gulf-caught red fish ceviche with tart Bergen Leche, and a raw bar with items like oysters, Gulf stone crab claws and more — all sustainably sourced, per Haatuft’s request.
“Although it’s impossible in today’s world for a restaurant to be fully sustainable, I have always tried to make my restaurants back in Norway as sustainable as possible,” he said in a release. “I’m excited about the opening of Golfstrømmen at POST Houston because it will give us the opportunity to bring sustainably sourced seafood to Houston residents, as well as allow us to work with local seafood suppliers to increase sustainability efforts in the region through education and the introduction of eco-friendly fishing and aquaculture farming ideas.”
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