Food News to Know Now: Sizzling New Steakhouse, Swim Club Revival, Custom-Made Margs and More

Food News to Know Now: Sizzling New Steakhouse, Swim Club Revival, Custom-Made Margs and More

Picnik's bacon-jam burger

IT’S ONLY MID-APRIL, and Houston is raining new restaurants. Catch inventive flavors, the newest steakhouse, a salute to Earth Day, and the re-opening of a popular swim club bar. Spring has sprung!

Andiron

Andiron (photo by Jenn Duncan)

It’s official — after more than a year of waiting, Andiron opened its doors for dinner service last night. The elegant and spacious steakhouse is the latest concept from Michael Sambrooks, owner of The Pit Room, The Patio at The Pit Room, and Candente.

Sambrooks has culled a top-notch team starting with Michelin-starred exec-chef Louis Maldonado, who has worked at The French Laundry, Mourad and Cortez in San Francisco. Expect top-quality Niman Ranch prime, Australian wagyu and small-farm Japanese wagyus, as well as small plates like caviar and Dungeness crab. Meats, seafood and vegetables are cooked over the 22-foot live-fire grill suite, sourced from Spain and visible from the dining room. Award-winning design firm AvroKO created an interior that incorporates historic features as well as an enormous chandelier, banquet seating, yards of meaty marble and custom artwork. A luxe patio is still in the works with its own bar and seating for 70.

Mandito's

Mandito's nachos (photo by Kirsten Gilliam)

Mandito’s, or “little Armando,” from Palacios Murphy Hospitality has bowed in Bellaire with an all-day Tex-Mex menu of classics. With the original in Round Top, the restaurant name is a reference to the childhood name given to co-owner Armando Palacios.

Upon entering the color-popping, playfully designed space, guests are greeted by a state-of-the-art press and oven capable of cranking out 900 tortillas per hour. But expect much more than tacos on the menu — think plant-based dishes, cheese enchiladas, fajitas, and the “World Famous Burrito Bowl.” The outdoor patio is outfitted with temperature control, which means every season is margarita season. (Speaking of margs, its “Make it a Margarita” program offers a choice of spirits and gourmet salts for a custom cocktail!)

Picnik

Picnik

Austin-born Picnik, a health-focused restaurant with menus especially for guests with dietary requirements, is set to open Monday, April 24, in the pedestrian-friendly Montrose Collective. “We strive to make sure our menu is approachable and delicious,” said Picnik CEO, Dan Mesches. The kitchen utilizes ingredients sans refined sugar, seed oils, gluten and peanuts; add-ons of superfoods and adaptogens like CBD are available. Menu highlights include the popular bacon-jam burger (grass-fed beef, organic raw cheddar) on a scratch-made sesame bun; a taco bowl; seasonal hash; and “everything salmon.” For brunch, the Picnik Benedict stacks no-sugar bacon and Vital Farms eggs on a biscuit finished with velvety hollandaise. The vibrant space uses design inspiration from nature with airy interiors and greenery.

Hongdae 33

Hongdae33 (photo by Jenn Duncan)

Line up for the new Asiatown Korean barbecue destination from the team behind Chinese Duck N Bao in Memorial and Cypress. The spacious restaurant on the upper level of Dun Huang Plaza offers all-you-can-eat pricing ($33 per person for 90 minutes) where guests select meats, seafood and other specialties to cook themselves over tabletop gas grills. Grilling options include galbi, brisket, bulgogi, marinated flat iron steak, pork and marinated chicken, as well as garlic-butter shrimp and spicy baby octopus. Vegetables, tofu and Korean side dishes (banchan) are included — plus ample dipping sauces. As for drinks, expect creative cocktails made with soju and other specialty spirits, Korean-style bomb shots, and Asian and domestic beers.

Pier 6

On Earth Day, this Saturday, April 22, Pier 6 is donating 10 percent of all oyster sales to the Christmas Bay Foundation to support its mission of protecting waters on the Texas Gulf Coast. Owner Raz Halili is a second-generation oysterman whose family owns Prestige Oysters, the first certified sustainable oyster operation in the Americas. Pier 6 is also throwing Thursday night shindigs with live music, seafood boils, and cocktail specials through May 11.

El Segundo Swim Club

El Segundo Swim Club (photo by Becca Wright)

One of Houston’s favorite swimming holes, which conveniently is a bar with food trucks, is gearing up for its seasonal opening on April 29. This year, the bar will host the new event series Sound Waves. The 90-to-120-minute DJ sets will showcase top talent such as members of Fat Tony, The Faint and Disko Cowboy. Open to the public, El Segundo offers day passes, available for purchase via the Tock reservation platform; each pass includes towels and sunscreen.

Postino

Postino The Woodlands (photo by Jenn Duncan)

Popular wine bar Postino has announced its newest Houston-area location, at Hughes Landing in The Woodlands, debuts on Monday, April 24. Cofounder Lauren Bailey says that The Woodlands has been on her radar since first opening the Heights Mercantile outpost five years ago. "It’s definitely been worth the wait to find the perfect space to open within the community," she says. "The Woodlands embodies everything that excites us — a relaxed vibe connected to the beauty of the outdoors, the familial energy, its burgeoning food scene and the cultural vibrancy of an international population.” Expect all the usual suspects here — boozy brunch, bruschetta boards, charcuterie and salads galore. Cheers!

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