Mutiny on the Bayou

New Napa-style wine bar and restaurant uncorks in The Heights

New Napa-style wine bar and restaurant uncorks in The Heights

Mutiny Wine Room braised jerk Spanish octopus
Braised jerk Spanish octopus. Photo by Jenn Duncan
Mutiny Wine Room Mark Ellenberger Emily Trout
Emily Trout and Mark Ellenberger. Photo by Jenn Duncan
Mutiny Wine Room bottles
A selection of boutique wines. Photo by Jenn Duncan
Mutiny Wine Room braised jerk Spanish octopus
Mutiny Wine Room Mark Ellenberger Emily Trout
Mutiny Wine Room bottles

The Heights may be known as a top-tier dining destination, but the neighborhood has also become more wine-friendly. In addition to staples like Sonoma and Coltivare, recent arrivals such as Savoir and Squable have given the area exciting new options for oenophiles. 

That movement takes another step forward this month courtesy of Mutiny Wine Room. Set to open January 18 at 1124 Usener St., the new wine bar and restaurant seeks to recreate the experience of visiting a California winery. 

Mutiny's owners, the husband-and-wife duo of Mark Ellenberger and Emily Trout, got their start in the wine business when they celebrated their first anniversary by making a barrel of wine. Since then, the couple turned their passion into Kagan Cellars, an award-winning winery that produces 500 cases per year.

Mutiny recreates the winery experience with its own tasting room. Staff members will guide customers through tasting flights that are based on offerings from a specific boutique winery or around another theme such as a specific varietal. 

A separate area, dubbed "The Farmhouse," will allow patrons to eat and drink in a more traditional wine bar setting. The entire list of approximately 45 bottles will also be available by the glass, courtesy of a self-described "state-of-the-art Coravin wine system." Selections will be drawn from boutique wineries, which are described as those that produce between 500 and 5,000 cases per year. 

To further enhance the Napa Valley vibe, Ellenberger and Trout recruited California chef Ari Weiswasser to create Mutiny's menus. A veteran of restaurants such as New York City's Corton, which earned two Michelin stars, and The French Laudry, Weiswasser and his wife Erinn Benziger-Weiswasser operate Glen Ellen Star in California's wine country.

At Mutiny, the menu will feature dishes such as cream of sunchoke soup, rigatoni pasta with black trompette mushrooms, and steamed mussels with saffron and Pernod emulsion. Chef Eduardo Alcayaga (Goode Co.) will oversee day-to-day operations.

In terms of design, the establishment takes its inspiration from Napa Valley farmhouses. Details include "exposed beams, reclaimed wood fixtures, and stone walls," according to a release. Two patios, one of which will be dog-friendly, provide al fresco drinking and dining possibilities.

"We are thrilled to be able to bring this new type of wine tasting experience to Houston,” Trout said in a statement. “Mutiny Wine Room has been a labor of love for Mark and me, and we know that the journey is only just beginning. Wine is our collective passion, and we could not be more excited to share our passion for wine, food, and socializing with future guests in a setting that will be the first-of-its-kind for Houston and even Texas.”