One of this year's most eagerly anticipated restaurants has set its opening date.
Poitín, the ambitious all-day concept from Balls Out Burger owner Ian Tucker, will open to the public on May 14, the restaurant announced May 1. Located in the Sawyer Yards development at 2313 Edwards St., Poitín (put-cheen) takes much of its inspiration from The Exchequer, Tucker's award-winning gastropub in Dublin that's rated as one of the best cocktail bars in Ireland.
“Poitín celebrates the diversity of Houston with its menu, its cocktail program and its overall unpretentious atmosphere,” Tucker said in a statement. “Just as the City of Houston opens its doors to immigrants from around the world, Poitín welcomes all-comers. As an immigrant myself, I have been embraced by the Houston community and have envisioned this restaurant to be a culinary embodiment of the city’s inclusive spirit.”
At almost 10,000 square feet, the space seems fairly massive, but it's been divided into a 116-seat dining room, three different private rooms, and a 1,200-square-foot patio that looks towards the downtown skyline. Tucker tapped local firm Studio RED Architects to create the space's industrial look, while designer Erin Hicks (Helen Greek Food & Wine, El Big Bad) contributed "finishes and textures."
Tucker has tapped top talent in both the dining room and the kitchen to bring Poitín to life. Executive chef Dominick Lee comes to the restaurant after a well-regarded stint at Kiran's, and pastry chef Dory Fung's resume includes time at Yauatcha, Aqui, and the Houston Country Club. In the dining room, general manager Todd Leveritt's (Museum Park Cafe, El Big Bad) staff includes beverage director Sarah Cuneo (Anvil, The Pastry War); bar manager Christa Havican (Goodnight Charlie's, Reserve 101); and sommelier Shannon Noelle Crow (13 Celsius).
As he told CultureMap in February, Lee's menu takes its inspiration from his New Orleans childhood, time living in Houston, and "bold flavors from culinary capitals around the world." Dishes include slow-braised lamb neck with harissa and ras al hanout; Marble Ranch wagyu steak with chimichurri, papa rellanos, and dulce de leche carrots; and herb-infused ricotta ravioli with cherry tomatoes, spinach-parmesan cream, and hen of the woods mushrooms.
Cuneo is working with Exchequer veteran Kevin Doherty on the cocktail menu. Expect at least a few drinks made with the restaurant's namesake spirit, which it describes as a kind of Irish moonshine that's only recently begun to be imported into the United States. Crow's wine list will feature natural, organic, and/or sustainable wines, many of which will be priced at $65 or less per bottle.
Last year, Tucker told CultureMap that he wanted to create a space with amazing food and amazing drinks. In two weeks, diners will get to decide for themselves whether he's succeeded.