An ambitious new restaurant serving globally inspired cuisine will debut in Montrose this fall. Traveler's Table has claimed the former Aqui space on lower Westheimer for a concept the restaurant describes as "a curated menu of hand-selected dishes from around those world."
Those selections are being made by owner Matthew Mitchell, who has a somewhat circuitous path to the restaurant world. A former writer and journalist, Mitchell completed the Advanced Management Program at Rice's Jesse H. Jones School of Management and spent 14 years in the pharmaceutical industry before attending culinary school at the Art Institute of Houston. To prepare for Traveler's Table, he worked at both Benjy's and Local Foods, according to a bio provided by the restaurant.
Executive chef Jordan Economy has taken a similarly lengthy path to his role as Traveler's Table's executive chef. His resume includes Boheme, the Eatsie Boys food truck, Rudyard's, Prohibition, and Doris Metropolitan.
Economy's diverse experiences will come in handy at the restaurant, because the menu takes its inspiration from Mitchell's global travels. Rather than get into a pointless argument about authenticity, the restaurant proposes to create "lighter, brighter, and more flavorful" versions of dishes from East Asia, the Middle East, Europe, America, and more.
For example, soup dumplings come filled with pho broth, and Mexican-style elotes gets turned into soup. A vegetable board will give equal pride of place to cauliflower with North African spices, Japanese-inspired miso-glazed eggplant, and Indian-style crispy okra.
Entree options are similarly eclectic. Diners will choose from Chinese-style five spice duck, Jamaican jerk pork shank, a hearty American ribeye with truffle compound butter, and more. Mitchell's travels to various Asian countries inspired dishes like Sichuan-style cumin lamb and a riff on Korean bibimbap, while time spent living in Italy informed pasta carbonara and seafood risotto. Diners will be able to pair those dishes with a full selection of wine, beer, and cocktails.
General manager Austin Moreno will be tasked with keeping things running smoothly. After spending the last 13 years working at luxurious hotels and restaurants across Asia, the Hilton School grad has returned to his hometown.
To answer the obvious question, yes, the restaurant will have a literal "traveler's table" inspired by Mitchell's imagination as a place where "traders and merchants" could swap tales over a shared meal, the 16-seat dining counter will offer customers a view of the restaurant's open kitchen.
When it opens in October, Traveler's Table will be open for lunch and dinner daily. Brunch and happy hour will follow.