Only two short months after D'Amico's closed its Heights location on White Oak, investors in the family-friendly Italian cafe have revamped the space for a new restaurant concept better suited the area's influx of young weekend revelers.
Opening Thursday, City Oven strikes a balance for the changing neighborhood, offering casual comfort food that works for families seeking an early dinner as well as those looking for fuel along the strip's late-night bar scene.
CultureMap enjoyed a recent tasting of the new menu — a selection of updated tavern fare (fried egg BLT with serrano aioli, anyone?) alongside pizzas, hot wings and hearty salads.
City Oven may also be the first Houston restaurant to serve up so-called Giant Meatballs, these baseball-sized spheres of ground beef served in a cast iron skillet with a starchy side. Diners can choose from four versions, although we'd have to recommend the rather amazing Chipotle Texas Meatball, which comes with a smashed baked potato.
From the wood-fired oven, we tried the Thai Dye pizza with curried chicken and chili paste as well as a Buffalo Chicken-themed variety. While both pizzas hit the spot, the simple Roasted Garlic and Spinach pie was, personally, the standout winner of the tasting session . . . especially when paired with a Moose Drool Brown Ale, one of the ten or so craft brews the restaurant's bar will rotate on a regular basis.
Owned by the HUSA group of Sherlock's and Local Pour fame, City Oven officially opens its doors at 2802 White Oak at 4 p.m. on Thursday. Be sure to stop by the restaurant's Facebook page, where every "like" means one dollar donated to the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art throughout September.