Spring Branch Restaurant Boom, 30-Minute Omakase, and More of the Week’s Turkey-Free Food News!

Spring Branch Restaurant Boom, 30-Minute Omakase, and More of the Week’s Turkey-Free Food News!

Itayori at Sushi by Hidden (photo by Jenn Duncan)

WE MIGHT BE coming up on a big holiday, but there are no days off in the restaurant world. Read on for some of the tastiest tidbits you'll come across this week — prepare to be stuffed!

Underbelly Burger

Underbelly Burger (photo by Julie Soefer)

You bet your buns this long-anticipated burger spot has been worth the wait! The family-friendly Spring Branch area officially welcomes Underbelly Burger to the intersection of Westview and Witte, located just behind Costco, next to the forthcoming Wild Oats and the just-opened Decoy volleyball bar. It's also near the Gessner development that's home to Kirby Ice House, Mia's Table and Torchy's. Expect a "thoughtful," streamlined menu of double-patty burgers, a chicken sandwich, veggie burger, hot dog and fries. There are also some milkshakes and floats — and a kale salad, if it makes you feel better about indulging. Bonus: High school students score 15 percent off each time they show their student I.D.!

The Decoy

The Decoy (photo by Alex Montoya)

As mentioned above, The Decoy is now open on Witte Road, just in time for holiday-season gatherings. The 21-and-up spot is marketed as a "playground for adults," featuring sand volleyball courts, corn hole and other yard games, live DJs, and food pop-ups — including ones from Underbelly Burger. Open til 2am nightly!


Churros at Comalito (photo by Daniel Ortiz)

Other news from Underbelly Hospitality: The Houston Farmers Market on Airline is now home to Comalito, the group's latest concept that will replace the former location of Wild Oats. The authentic taqueria aims to be "fun, affordable and approachable," inspired by the flavors, techniques and overall vibrancy of Mexico City. There are tacos al pastor, tostadas, quesadillas and more, served with six different house salsas and on housemade, organic, heirloom corn tortillas. Wash 'em all down with agua fresca or a mezcal cocktail. Breakfast coming soon!

Sushi by Hidden

Shima Aji

Twelve courses in 30 minutes? Leave it to Rice Village's Sushi by Hidden, the 10-seat omakase restaurant that just announced it's starting lunch service. There are six seatings available between 11am and 2:45pm, with chef Jimmy Kieu guiding guests through a dozen delectable bites, all for just $60 per person. With the expansion of sake, beer and wine offerings, Kieu's dinnertime omakase will be 45 minutes, priced at $75. Whether it's for lunch or dinner, don't miss a chance to try new menu items like medai — bluenose butterfish with umeboshi and fried garlic. Yum!

Junction Beer Garden

Railway Heights Market, located off Washington on the north side of I-10, is now Junction Beer Garden. The giant, open-floor concept has two main bars (with 20 TVs!), plus a patio with gazebos and umbrellas, and a 10,000-square-foot lawn, which regularly has lawn games and will soon host a rotating slew of events like shopping markets and movie nights. The opening menu — on which Brian Doke and Evin Haines consulted — has a dozen bars on tap, plus wine and cocktails like the apple-cinnamon-inflused Aperol spritz, and the Spiced Pear concoction with chamomile-honey and gin. Coming soon: the second-floor event space, with a whopping 6,000 square feet and skyline views!

Local Foods

Seth Siegel-Gardner (photo by Ben Sassani)

Beloved restaurateur Benjy Levit has appointed fellow Chef Seth Siegel-Gardner (off Pass & Provisions fame) as the culinary and creative director of his concepts, which include Local Foods, Lees Den and Eau Tour. Together, they'll also open a Mexican restaurant in West U. Siegel-Gardner most recently served as the culinary director of Southern Smoke Foundation, and will give a portion of proceeds from special menu items to the charity; in November, it's the crispy pork rillette with champagne-cane-vinegar reduction.

Chapman & Kirby Launches Free Concert Series for Spring

Danny Ray and the Atlantic Street Band performs May 31 (photo from dannyrayatlanticstreetband.com)

CHAPMAN & KIRBY, THE premier event destination in Houston’s East Village, is thrilled to announce the launch of its Spring Music Series, kicking off on Friday, April 12. Chapman & Kirby has become synonymous with top-tier events and unforgettable experiences, many attended by celebrities both local and worldwide. With concert ticket prices soaring to hundreds and even thousands of dollars in the last year, this eight-week music series promises to be a welcomed opportunity to engage with live music for free, showcasing an eclectic lineup of talented acts.

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Chef Royere

IT’S NOT EVERY day that a Houston chef is graced with one France’s most prestigious honors. But that day arrived for The Post Oak’s executive chef Jean-Luc Royere who received the Ordre du Mérite agricol in a private ceremony on April 16. The award is an esteemed honor bestowed to French citizens by the French Republic for outstanding contributions to agriculture and the culinary arts.

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People + Places

Melon Carpaccio and the Strawberry Chill

THE CROWD AT River Oaks’ Relish doesn’t let up as early evening turns into nighttime. To toast the pretty spring weather, a posh set is filling the neighborhood eatery’s airy bar and lush patio.

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