The Montrose Collective mixed-use development continues to cement its status as Houston’s newest dining destination. Fresh off openings such as Oheya by Uchi and Picnik comes a new bistro from a veteran team of restaurateurs.
Meet The Chelsea. Now open across from Marmo, the upscale Italian steakhouse, The Chelsea serves a diverse menu of New American fare in a stylish environment that’s inspired by classic European restaurants.
Restaurateurs Shawn Rao and Jonathan Serrano teamed up with Houston operator Roveen Abante, a partner in concepts such as Be More Pacific, Sushi Rebel, and the upcoming Conservatory Galleria food hall, to open The Chelsea. Rao and Serrano are native Houstonians who found success in Dallas with the Syn Group, a hospitality company that operates a number of concepts in the Metroplex, including Don Chingon, The Social House, and America Gardens.
While those concepts are bar forward and casual, The Chelsea aspires to offer a more elevated experience, which suits its owners state in life.
“I think you create the best products when you’re at the stage of your life to relate to the product,” Rao tells CultureMap. “If you create something you won’t enjoy, you may miss the mark. The Chelsea is exactly a place I’d go to. It’s like places I eat in Dallas. That’s why we decided to go this route. We really latched on to it.”
To create the proper atmosphere, Rao and his partners took inspiration from their travels across Europe. They created a space that features marble-patterned floors, shades of teal and burgundy, and lots of art on the walls.
“Our initial design was way over the top. We had to dial it back,” Rao says. Later, he adds, “We wanted to get the design right. We know Houston has a discerning eye when it comes to new restaurants. We felt we had to get it as perfect as possible.”
Chef Andre Garza contributes to those goals with his eclectic menu. Meals at The Chelsea start with raw items such as oysters, tuna tartare, shrimp and scallop verde that’s made with a Peruvian-style leche de tigre and a spicy chili crisp. Three salads round out the starters.
From there, diners may choose from a selection of shareable small plates. Highlights include shrimp scampi, miso-marinated chicken lollipops, charred Spanish octopus, and a tempura fried lobster tail. Parker House Pigs — a riff on the classic rolls that are stuffed with spicy Japanese Kurobuta sausage — emerged as an early fan favorite during last weekend’s invite-only soft opening. Those looking for a more traditional entree have a range of choices, including seafood pot pie, roast chicken, and a classic cheeseburger.
Beverage options start with a cocktail list that offers eight martinis. Look for variations such as the espresso martini, Gibson, Vesper, and a Martinez made with Maraschino and Angostura. The wine list includes about 15 by-the-glass options with most bottles priced between $30 and $180, Rao says.
“We want to be that sort of neighborhood, three-to-five mile radius, go-to for meals, go-to for drinks,” he adds. “I know everyone says that, but we want to cater to that element.”
The Chelsea opens for dinner beginning at 4 pm daily. Brunch will follow in the coming weeks.