APRIL IS JUST about to wrap, and the culinary hits keep coming! Here’s a rundown of the latest openings.
Marmo (photo by Kirsten Gilliam)
Is it a steakhouse or an Italian restaurant? How about both! The sun-strewn modern Italian chophouse by Atlas Restaurant Group, which recently bowed in the flourishing Montrose Collective, puts dry-aged steaks in the spotlight with premium hand-cuts from local, domestic and international purveyors. But it wouldn’t be Italian without hand-rolled pasta, starring (for one) an opulent Squid Ink Campanelle with fresh blue crab and uni cream sauce. Fresh seafood and hearty Italian classics round out the menu — veal chop Milanese and chicken marsala are perfect for pairing with the robust Italian-friendly wine list.
This spring, we have our eye on the Sicilian Lobster Salad with basil-avocado vinaigrette, asparagus soup, and the blue crab bruschetta. Expect elegant, yet neighborhood-welcoming surroundings with striking black and white marble elements throughout (paying homage to Marmo, “marble” in Italian), and a grand piano featuring local musicians nightly. Find its large, shaded patio within the central gathering space at Montrose Collective.
The Warwick (photo by Kirsten Gilliam)
The former Houston’s restaurant space at Westheimer and Fountain View has been transformed by new ownership into an upscale restaurant with indulgent Southern-inspired cuisine. Korean cauliflower, chargrilled oysters and polenta balls are tempting starters, while Snapper Orleans, Gulf shrimp and pimiento grits, and Chicken 713 Pasta headline the entrées crafted by executive chef Antoine Ware. The chef is an alum of popular spots including Underbelly, Harold’s in the Heights, and Mr. B’s Bistro in New Orleans. To keep things fun, he’s added riffs on Houston’s signature dishes — think The Dip (spinach and artichoke, of course) and a Thai noodle salad with grilled shrimp. For a splurge, try the over-the-top Sidecar Royale cocktail ($32)!
Chinois chicken salad at III by Wolfgang Puck
Famed California celeb-chef Wolfgang Puck quietly opened his new concept in the John P. McGovern Commons Building of the Medical Center last week. The generous window flanked space that was formerly Third Coast still sports the mesmerizing waterfall view – for a weekday business lunch, happy hour, or dinner. Expect a rainbow of colors and farm-to-table ingredients on each plate of elevated American fare executed under Puck’s direction. The double-stacked crab cakes with tomato garnish will grab your attention, and the towering chopped salads like Chinois chicken make lunch a happy meal. Main plates to put on your radar: Pasta a la Bolognese; Local Grind Burger prepared with short rib and ground brisket, and pan-seared Gulf Snapper with sauce Veracruz and saffron.
Just want a great pizza? Join the party at Roberta’s in POST Market. It was born in Bushwick, Brooklyn, where it became famous for kick-starting the Neapolitan movement with pies baked in a wood-burning oven at high enough temps to develop black char on the crust. Combos like the Bee Sting — a sweet, smoky, spicy and cheesy pizza drizzled with honey — are brilliant. Also try the luscious Cheesus Christ (mozzarella, parmigiano reggiano, taleggio, black pepper) and the Lil Stinker boasting garlic, red onion, tomato, pepperoncini and tangy cheeses galore.
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