The owners of Steak 48 have already changed the way Houstonians enjoy beef. Coming soon, they want to have the same effect on the way the city savors seafood.
Mike and Jeff Mastro are ready to provide more details on Ocean 44, the new seafood restaurant they’re opening in Scottsdale, Arizona this November. Just as Steak 44 became Steak 48 when it expanded to Texas, Houston will be home to a sister concept called Ocean 48 in the next 12 to 18 months, Jeff Mastro tells CultureMap.
“It’ll have some similarities to the steakhouses, but it’s a totally new concept for us,” Mastro says. “It’s going to have intimate spaces. The one we’re building now has an enclosed courtyard with 30 foot ceilings. It’ll have a grand scale to it.”
Steak 48 already serves seafood from its raw bar and as entrees like salmon and Chilean sea bass. Ocean 48 will expand those offerings with more fin fish and different preparations.
“We’re going to have this really cool wood burning oven we’re going to use for some of our fish for guests who like that style of cooking,” Mastro says. “We’re cool things that we haven’t done before. We’re working on a stuffed lobster. There’s a bunch of other types of fish that we currently don’t have that we’ll be adding to the menu here.”
He also notes that they’re focused on using sustainable seafood as much as possible. Mastro adds that a commitment to sustainability is the biggest change in terms of menu sourcing from the days when he and his brother founded the Mastro’s Ocean Club restaurants. The brothers sold those restaurants and Mastro’s Steakhouse to a private equity firm that eventually sold them to Landry’s, Inc., which opened a Houston location of the steakhouse in December.
Asked about the difficulties of operating a seafood restaurant in a beef-loving town like Houston, Mastro reiterated comments he made on CultureMap’s "What’s Eric Eating" podcast in January, where he discussed the Ocean concept as one component of a longer interview.
“A big part of what we want people to know is they can still get our same great steaks [at Ocean],” Mastro says. “People are a little more finicky with fish. They can come in and one can get steak and two can get fish. I think that’s a big part of our seafood concept and how we do it.”
Mastro says the company is still negotiating on a couple of possibilities for the location but did confirm it will generally be in the same River Oaks/Galleria area where Steak 48 has found success. Not that he needs any advice about possibilities, but it’s worth noting that the Mastro brothers could be considering either of the two large, recently closed seafood spaces in the area: the former homes of SaltAir Seafood Kitchen at Kirby and West Alabama or the Peska Seafood Culture space at Post Oak and San Felipe. With a goal to be open by the end of 2019, expect to hear the final decision sooner than later.