Inside Little Hen — and More Wild Restaurants Making Waves in the New Year!

Inside Little Hen — and More Wild Restaurants Making Waves in the New Year!

Autumn Bonsai at Money Cat (photo by Sabrina Miskelly)

ANOTHER YEAR, ANOTHER roundup of delicious food news! From rose-petal pancakes to pre-flight delights, here’s what’s making headlines in Houston’s ever-evolving restaurant scene.


Little Hen

Inside Little Hen

An English-tea-inspired restaurant beloved in Miami makes its Texas debut today. Little Hen is now open in River Oaks District, offering breakfast, brunch and tea service in a whimsical, floral-bedecked, pink-tinged setting, dubbed an “elevated breakfast boutique,” per a release. The patio, or outdoor Champagne Garden, will open later this spring.

Meanwhile, guests can enjoy the café’s signature rose-petal pancakes with rose-water-infused maple syrup and powdered sugar, and other morning delights like Nutella French toast and some Mexican breakfast specialties like truffled huevos rotos. And the afternoon tea service — with mini sandwiches, scones, petit fours and macarons — is reasonably priced at $35 per person (prosecco and Champagne available for an upcharge). Little Hen is open from 8am-3pm on weekdays and until 4pm on weekends.

Money Cat

Cocktails at Money Cat (photo by Kimberly Park)

Katy sushi star Tobiuo has officially opened the doors to its inner-Loop spinoff, Money Cat. Located at Kirby Grove right by Levy Park, the “New Japanese” restaurant is run by chef-owner Sherman Yeung and his team, which includes Tobiuo alums chefs Jio Dingayan and Steve Nguyen.

Standard sushi offerings aren’t available here; Yeung says that Money Cat is part of a “new age of restaurants. We’re young and want to do something that pays tribute to and builds upon tradition.” So expect innovative cooked and cold preparations like honey-vanilla milk buns with cultured butter and trout roe, and the chef’s homage to buffalo wings. Special attention is paid to seasonality and quality of items from local and regional vendors. Cocktails are equally special, like the Calpico Fizz — sparkling sake and a splash of a tangy, milky Japanese soft drink — and a Japanese Old Fashioned with black-tea syrup.

The vibe of the place is minimalist-chic, with wood and marble and pops of emerald green — and, of course, plenty of waving money cats, which will hopefully “provide good fortune to the restaurant,” says Yeung.

Gatsby’s Grill

The patio of Gatsby's Grill (photo by Raydon Creative)

The Gatsby Hospitality Group, which made waves last year with Gatsby’s Prime Seafood and, before that, Gatsby’s Prime Steakhouse in Montrose, is heading east. Just after Christmas, the outfit opened the “craft-casual” Gatsby’s Grill on Navigation. With an aim of being a neighborhood go-to, the comfort-food spot boasts 7,000 square feet of homey, lounge-style furnishings and décor, plus a garage-style glass window that opens up to an outdoor patio with fire pits and TVs.

Food-wise, expect chef Erick Anaya to deliver flavorful fare that isn’t trying too hard — think crab-avocado queso, street-style corn, a fried-egg-topped burger, carnitas tacos and more. “We wanted to create an unfussy, contemporary restaurant with an upscale spin on traditional menu items you would typically get at a grill, while also paying homage to the El Segundo neighborhood, with some Latino driven offerings,” said Gatsby Hospitality Group partner Luis Rangel in a release. “This is a neighborhood I’ve been coming to practically my entire life, so I’m thrilled to join our culinary neighbors in this area and bring the Gatsby’s experience to this part of town.”

Hobby Airport

Renovations will soon begin on Hobby Airport’s core dining area, and some exciting changes are being cooked up courtesy of LaTrelle’s, a Houston-based franchising group that will open a number of new eateries inside the airport over the next two years. This means that travelers will be able to dine at Houston faves including Common Bond, The Rustic, Velvet Taco, Dish Society, Pink’s Pizza and Fat Cat Creamery before heading out of town. LaTrelle’s will also be responsible for reimagining the décor of the dining areas, and plans to incorporate “bold pops of color, sculptures from local artists, dazzling accent walls featuring custom artwork, and more, creating an inviting space to relax, dine, and celebrate Houston,” per a release.

LaTrelle’s began in 1979 as a bakery inside Hobby Airport, and eventually expanded to operate more than 30 restaurants in airports throughout the country. It’s still owned by members of the founding family, the Jameses.

Mocktails

Lyre Liar at Nobu.

Houston restaurants are seizing New Year and shaking things up behind the bar! From fennel foam to black-pepper syrup, we’ve rounded up some of the most innovative options appearing on menus around town this month. Check it out!

Food
Thrive & Inspire: Michelle Reyna Wymes Stresses Importance of ‘Continuing to Learn’

Michelle Reyna Wymes, Co-Owner of The Reyna Group

WHAT'S THE SECRET to running a successful business? It is so important to stay present every day. With the fast-paced patterns of today’s society and ever-evolving technologies, I stress to our agents how important it is to continue to learn. If one reaches a point at which the ego takes over or burnout sets in and progress takes a back seat, things will get stuck. Regardless of what field you are in, I believe in starting with the basics to set and strengthen your foundation. I treat everyone we work with from our contractors, clients, to our inspectors with respect, patience and care.

Keep ReadingShow less

Lee Ellis

ONE OF THE giants of the Houston restaurant scene, my friend, the restaurateur Lee Ellis, has died. A pal of Ellis’ tells me he succumbed to a heart attack yesterday in Round Top, Texas. He was just 63.

Keep ReadingShow less
People + Places
AS AN ART form, Western composition in the 21st century isn’t all that different from what it was when Bach, Mozart and Beethoven somehow, without the aid of computers and social media, managed to harness the forces necessary to get what they heard in their head to the ears of a (hopefully) appreciative audience.
Keep ReadingShow less
Art + Entertainment