Five things to know

5 things to know about Houston dining right now, including a hot bar opening

5 things to know about Houston dining right now

Wagyu Carpaccaio Carmelo's Cucina Italiano
Wagyu carpaccio is new on the menu at Carmelo's. Photo by Felix Sanchez
Mike Raymond Reserve 101
Mike Raymond's new bar opens next week. Photo by Julie Soefer
Dish Society Sausage Egg Cheese biscuit
Get a free sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit at Dish Society. Photo by Lainey Latiolais
Underbelly wine bar
Own a small piece of Underbelly. Photo by Julie Soefer for Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
Fresco Cafe Italiano pasta
Fusilli with sun dried tomato and pesto at Fresco. Courtesy photo
Wagyu Carpaccaio Carmelo's Cucina Italiano
Mike Raymond Reserve 101
Dish Society Sausage Egg Cheese biscuit
Underbelly wine bar
Fresco Cafe Italiano pasta

Obviously, the CultureMap Tastemaker Awards are the biggest topic of conversation in the Houston restaurant community this week, but a few other topics are worth noting. Here's five things to know this week.  

The wait to experience Reserve 101 owner Mike Raymond's new bar has almost come to an end. The Cottonmouth Club will open to the public on April 13. Located at 108 Main St. in the historic Brewster Building (formerly the site of Barringer Bar), Raymond and his partners, acclaimed bartender Michael Neff and designer Greg Swanson, describe the Cottonmouth Club as "the least cocktail-y cocktail bar we could come up with."

First revealed on CultureMap's What's Eric Eating podcast, the bar will offer both classic cocktails and Neff's original creations, as well as proprietary whiskey blends aged in barrels from Houston's Yellow Rose Distillery

Ben Berg is busy putting his stamp on Carmelo’s Ristorante Italiano, the beloved Memorial-area restaurant he purchased from owner Carmelo Mauro in December. The restaurant, which has been renamed Carmelo’s Cucina Italiana, now features a new menu created by Berg's brother Daniel that features housemade pastas as well as the same quality meats served at Berg's steakhouse B&B Butchers. Sommelier Lexey Johnson has authored a new wine list focused on Italian varietals priced from $65 to $95. 

“My goal is to make Carmelo’s the best Italian restaurant in the city not only for its food but also for its ambiance. We want every guest to feel like family,” said Ben Berg in a statement. “I am confident the team we have in place can achieve this.”

It's said that there's no such thing as a free lunch, but next week there will be free breakfast. Dish Society, the farm-to-table neighborhood restaurant with three Houston-area locations, will offer one free breakfast item Monday through Thursday from 7 am to 10:30 am. Here's the schedule:

  • Monday, April 9: Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuit - Black Hill Ranch pork sausage, fried cage-free egg, and Swiss cheese on a house buttermilk biscuit (regularly $5.50).
  • Tues, April 10: Two House Breakfast Tacos - choice of corn or flour tortillas, cage-free eggs, all natural bacon, and white cheddar. Served with house salsa (regularly $7.50).
  • Wed, April 11: Traditional Breakfast Plate - Two cage-free eggs any style, two pieces all-natural bacon, whole grain toast, and seasonal fruit (regularly $9.50).
  • Thurs, Apr 12: Chicken & Biscuits - Two house buttermilk biscuits topped with fried cage-free chicken and house gravy (regularly $11.50).

Drip coffee (from local roaster Greenway) is always free Monday through Friday during breakfast hours.

Fresco! Café Italiano, an Italian restaurant that opened last fall at 3277 Southwest Freeway, is finally ready to celebrate its official grand opening. The restaurant, which is led by Italian chef Roberto Crescini (formerly of Enoteca Rossa in Bellaire), offers approximately a dozen different styles of fresh pasta that can be matched with seven different sauces and one of three proteins. From April 23 to 27, diners who purchase 10-ounces of sauce to-go will receive 14-ounces of pasta to-go.     

Good news for Underbelly superfans who want to own a small piece of the recently-shuttered restaurant. Chairs ($75 to $175) and barstools ($350) that aren't making the trip to UB Preserv are all for sale. Email general manager Katy Brittain to inquire about available, payment, and pickup. 

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