It didn’t take chef Ross Coleman long to find a new job. Formerly one half of the culinary minds behind Kitchen 713, Coleman has taken a new position as the executive chef at 2840 at Dukessa, the Galleria-area lunch spot that opened in October.
Owner Sara Bhatty tells CultureMap that she reached out to Coleman to bring some culinary firepower to both the restaurant and the Dukessa event venue. In addition to earning a James Beard Award semifinalist nomination in 2018 for his work at Kitchen 713, Coleman brings practical banquet experience from his time at both the Hotel ZaZa and the Houston Astros.
Coleman explains that the opportunity both to be a partner in the restaurant and to take his food in a lighter direction — one that’s more appropriate for the upscale lunch crowd Bhatty hopes to attract — appealed to him.
“I can essentially do whatever food I like to do,” Coleman tells CultureMap. “I’ve been trying to do a little lighter fare. I think it all went hand-in-hand. I thought I could make a success out of it.”
So, no, diners won’t find Kitchen 713’s signature fried chicken on the menu, but they will find plenty of Coleman’s signature global soul food. For example, a dish labeled “goat tostada” on the menu is really an Ethiopian-style goat wat on an injera crisp. The braised goat arrives topped with chopped boiled egg, and pickled mustard greens replace the traditional gomen.
“It’s traditional [Ethiopian food], but I named it so it would appeal to everybody,” Coleman says. “Once people taste it, I think they’ll appreciate it.”
Other highlights include a lamb burger topped with a slice of fried paneer cheese, a classic shrimp and grits, and a beet and burrata salad. Diners may also opt for a Cobb salad (with grilled or fried chicken) or a mixed green salad with butternut squash, roasted beets, cucumber, and candied pecans that’s tossed in a roasted garlic and shallot vinaigrette. The eclectic options and refined atmosphere should help the restaurant lure diners.
“We still want to celebrate the city and state’s diversity,” Coleman says. “It’s still global cooking, but right now I’m trying to refine it a little more and make it a little lighter.”
With Coleman’s former partner James Haywood serving weekend brunch — fried chicken included — at the Candy Shack bar on Washington Avenue, the odds of a Kitchen 713 revival look pretty slim, but Coleman says Houston hasn’t eaten its last meal from the dynamic duo.
“I think we may work together on a few pop-ups,” Coleman says. “We’re really good friends. He’ll be at my house for dinner later this week, and we’re just going to cook and eat. We’re not going anywhere.”