10 things to know

6 can't-miss restaurant openings, plus the latest Houston food news

6 can't-miss restaurant openings, plus the latest Houston food news

Jinya Ramen tonkotsu black ramen
Tonkotsu black now being served at Jinya in Champions. Courtesy photo
Bosscat Kitchen Gulf tuna wraps
Bosscat Kitchen is ligthening things up with these Gulf tuna wraps. Photo by Kirsten Gilliam
The Lost Cajun chicken sausage gumbo
Chicken and sausage gumbo at The Lost Cajun, sir. Courtesy photo
La Vista 101 interior
Take a sneak peek inside La Vista 101. Courtesy photo
Jinya Ramen tonkotsu black ramen
Bosscat Kitchen Gulf tuna wraps
The Lost Cajun chicken sausage gumbo
La Vista 101 interior

Editor’s note: Houston’s restaurant scene moves pretty fast. In order to prevent CultureMap readers from missing anything, let’s stop to look around at all the latest news to know.

Openings
Jinya Ramen, the California-based Japanese restaurant, opened its fourth Houston-area location in the Champions area at 5050 FM 1960 Road W. Like its siblings in Midtown, Webster, and Katy, the new Jinya serves 13 signature soups as well as shareable small plates. Additional locations are planned for Cypress, Springwoods, and the Heights, which means it won’t be long before every Houstonian is slurping bowls of Jinya’s signature tonkotsu black ramen.

In the mood for a lighter noodle soup? Consider Flying Pho. Located at 3434 Ella Blvd., this new project from Ninja Ramen owner Christopher Huang serves northern, Hanoi-style pho that features a lighter, less heavily spiced broth that isn't as sweet as the southern, Saigon-style Houstonians eat every day. Keep an eye on Facebook for hours and additions to the menu.

Cantina Barba is now serving up mezcal and tacos at 3701 N Main St. Open every day from 7 am until late, the restaurant serves all the familiar tacos from the Taqueria Barba food truck as well as new starters (guacamole, queso) and an addictive pineapple-orange slushie (among other things). 

Padna Cajun Eatery recently opened at 403 Westheimer Rd. The menu and ordering procedures are a bit of a work in progress — splitting the check between two people took some extra time — but the quality of the shrimp po’ boy and boudin balls made a strong first impression when a friend and I dropped by for lunch. We'll be back for late-season crawfish that looked big enough to be mini-lobsters. 

Speaking of bayou eats, The Lost Cajun opened its second Houston-area location in Rosenberg at 24004 SW Freeway. Founded by Louisiana native Raymond Griffin, the Colorado-based restaurant serves Cajun classics like gumbo, red beans and rice, and etouffee and features a down home atmosphere where servers address patrons as “sir” and “ma’am,” according to a press release. Seems maybe a little heavy-handed, but at least they aren't calling the customers "chief."

Closings
It’s been a tough couple of weeks for chicken-based concepts. Fresh off the news that Fielding’s Rooster closed in The Woodlands, comes word that the original, Galleria-area location of Krisp Bird & Batter has also shuttered. The Heights location at 2400 N. Shepherd Dr. remains open.

Other things to know
King's Bierhaus has partnered with Fransmart, the franchising development group behind restaurants like The Halal Guys and Five Guys Burgers & Fries, to seek out people who want to take the beer and bratwurst concept beyond the Bayou City. Would-be franchisees must meet the following requirements: $500,000 of liquid capital, a net worth of at least $1,500,000, a franchise fee of $50,000, and a royalty fee of six-percent of gross weekly sales.

"We want to bring the authentic German biergarten experience to people around the globe, and our distinct combination of casual dining with personalized service brings the best of both worlds together in a scalable concept," said King’s Bierhaus president, Philipp Sitter, in a statement. "The success we’ve seen with this model all started years ago with a brat and a dream, and we’re looking forward to taking King's Bierhaus to the next level by expanding the concept to new markets with the able support and expertise of Fransmart as a partner."

Bosscat Kitchen + Libations is lightening things up a bit. Chef Peter Petro’s new menu sheds its “dude food” reputation with new additions that include gulf tuna lettuce wraps, a tomato salad, and snapper with rye whiskey butter — all of which make the decision to order the new banana pudding a little easier. In addition, the Galleria-area spot has also transformed part of the restaurant into a 1,300-square-foot, 66-person private dining room with full A/V capabilities.

The Dunlavy has always been a stylish destination for breakfast, lunch, and brunch, but only attendees at private events have had the opportunity to see those 42 chandeliers sparkle at night — until now. Clark Cooper Concepts announced that it will begin serving dinner every other Wednesday starting June 6. The family-style meals include starter, main, and dessert for only $30 (see the full menus for June 6 here and June 20 here).

Since Marvel has made post-credit scenes all the rage, here’s a little reward for sticking around to the end of the article. Greg Gordon has quietly opened La Vista 101 at 1805 W. 18th St. The updated/relocated version of his beloved Briargrove neighborhood spot features J.D. Woodward (Southern Goods, Goro & Gun) in the kitchen and ex-Coltivare general manager Jeb Stuart overseeing the dining room. “Dig the menu,” a friend who attended May 17’s service texted me.