With the new Vallone's set to open officially on Sunday for dinner, more than 175 friends of Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital poured in beneath the soaring canopy entrance for an early look at the restaurant and a sampling of things to come on the steakhouse menu.
Partners in the enterprise, chef Grant Gordon and Scott Sulma joined Vallone's consultant Tony Vallone in welcoming the well-heeled crowd, many of the ladies in fur-trimmed ensembles as a hedge against the damp, cold weather. Memorial Hermann System CEO Dan Wolterman, Children's Memorial CEO Susan Distefano and Memorial Hermann Foundation CEO Ileana Trevino led the hospital team in the fundraising effort that brought in more than $70,000.
The food and wine flowed as Vallone's GM Chuck Criswell, a familiar face from his tenure at Eddie V's in CityCentre and The Tasting Room, saw to it that the staff and kitchen were running smoothly. While heavy hors d'oeuvres were served in the restaurant's bistro section, high-priced ticket holders were seated for a set-menu tasting dinner in the main dining room. Guests raved about the beef tenderloin, the lamp chops, creamy mashed potatoes and more as well as the restaurant design, created by architect Shafik Rifaat (this scribe's husband) in tandem with Vallone.
Among those savoring the early look-see and tasting were State Sen. John Whitmire, Port of Houston chair Janiece Longoria and Steve Lasher, H-E-B president Scott McClelland and wife Soraya, Donna Vallone, Kay and Fred Zeidman, Dr. Yvonne and Rufus Cormier, Sheridan Williams, Lauren Snyder, Sandy and Dr. Barney Barrett, Laura Moore and Don Sanders, Jeremy Parzen and Lori Krohn with Phillip Sarofim.
The restaurant is located at Gessner and I-10, next to the Westin Memorial City Hotel. Lunch service begins on Wednesday.