Editor’s note: It’s been another busy week in the world of Houston restaurants. Here’s a few things we think you should know.
Xochi and Theodore Rex may have been named to GQ’s list of America’s best new restaurants, but critic Brett Martin found something else to like on his visit to Houston. He includes the rabbit wings at Nancy’s Hustle on his list of The 13 Dishes (and Other Things) I Can't Stop Thinking About.
“What to do with rabbit forelegs left over from making rabbit-liver terrine and rabbit confit,” Martin writes. “At this charming neighborhood restaurant, the obvious answer is to toss them in rice flour and pan-fry them with brown butter, capers, and lemon—a kind of glaze à la meunière that will have you forgetting about chicken.”
After an almost month-long hiatus to repair its beer cooler and make a few other changes, The Hay Merchant reopens on Friday, April 27. The good news is that the bar, which offers one of the city’s best selections of craft beer alongside wine, cocktails, and an eclectic menu from chef Chris Shepherd, now opens at 11 am every day. Also, the new menu includes a few of Underbelly’s classic dishes like Korean goat and dumplings, cha ca style catfish, vinegar pie, and more.
The only downside is that Hay Merchant now closes at midnight (instead of 2 am) Sunday through Wednesday. Plan those late night chicken fried steak cravings accordingly.
Beginning May 6, Midtown wine bar 13 Celsius will open at 1 pm on Sundays. Dubbed “13th hour” by co-founder Mike Sammons, the new promotion will feature a weekly rotating menu of wine and food along with occasional live music.
“We invite our regulars to come see their favorite Sunday bartenders a few hours earlier than before,” said general manager Adele Corrigan in a statement. “Opening at the '13th Hour' just means more time to soak up some sun on the patio while enjoying a nice glass of rosé.”
Les Noo’dle Pho Noodle Bar, the new concept Cat Huynh and Angie Dang that occupies the former Les Ba’get space on Montrose, will transition from its current soft opening mode to daily service beginning May 5. As the name implies, the restaurant serves three different kinds of pho — beef, chicken, and vegan — alongside a selection of small plates like smoked cauliflower, spicy cucumber, and a Vietnamese-inspired riff on elotes.
Austin-based wing joint Pluckers Wing Bar will bring its fried pickles, Dr Pepper wings, sandwiches, and craft beer to Cypress beginning on May 14. Located at 25310 NW Freeway, the new location will be the Houston area’s fourth Pluckers, joining the Washington Corridor, Memorial, and Webster.
Finally, Hay Merchant’s reopening isn’t the only exciting news from 1100 Westheimer. Montrose coffee shop Blacksmith will revive its popular Blacksmith by Night pop-up series on May 2 with special guests Hisato Hamada of Tokyo’s acclaimed WAGYUMAFIA and Erin and Patrick Feges of Feges BBQ. Hamada is visiting Texas to explore wagyu production in the Lone Star State and to try some of the state’s legendary barbecue joints.
The menu includes: Snake River Farms wagyu brisket with cracklin sweet and spicy sprouts ($14), Marble Ranch wagyu tri tip with Greenway Coffee and smoked pig head demi-glace ($14); Marble Ranch wagyu beef belly pastrami with homemade sauerkraut ($12); and 44 Farms beef rib ($20). Since Blacksmith is BYOB, those interested in a little wine with their wagyu may purchase Erin Feges’ suggested pairings by the bottle at Camerata.