Houston has lots of restaurants, but none of them are quite like Turner's. The new restaurant from restaurateur Ben Berg's Berg Hospitality (B&B Butchers, B.B. Lemon), Turner's aims to set a new standard for luxury and refinement when it opens for service on Friday, March 6.
During the renovations that turned Cafe Annie into The Annie Cafe, Berg created the space that would become Turner’s by relocating the space’s stairwell. With approximately 1,800 square feet available, Berg realized he could execute his vision for an intimate, upscale supper club. Although the two restaurants occupy the same space, they have their own entrances, branding, and identities.
“To do it on a grand scale it would lose its intimacy,” Berg tells CultureMap. “It gave us the opportunity for a 50-seat restaurant that’s super lux.”
Those luxurious touches will be evident from the moment people enter the space. Working with local architect Issac Preminger, Turner’s features marble floors inlaid with its logo, gold leaf ceilings, a black marble bar, and a mahogany baby grand piano where pianists will serenade the dining room.
Berg has never been shy about mining his New York roots for influences — B.B. Lemon essentially channels iconic NYC restaurant J.G. Melon — and Turner’s is no exception.
“If anything influenced it from a style standpoint, it’d be more like the Polo Bar, with the dark woods and brass,” he says. “I took that as my backdrop and put my own touches on it.”
The menu, developed by Berg and chef-partner Robert Del Grande, harks back to the Continental-style dishes that ruled American dining rooms in the ’50s and ’60s: king crab terrine, lobster thermidor, and meatloaf, as well as the usual steaks and chop.
“You take some old dishes that have gotten into the home and bring some luster to them and do them at a high level. It’s all stuff I like to eat — except for salmon,” Berg says with a laugh. “The cured salmon with the Jameson spritz I can handle because of the Jameson.”
Dishes will be served with tableside presentations that add to the luxurious aspects of the experience.
On the beverage side, general manager and wine director Jose Montufar contributed a list of “big, bold wines from well known regions.” Lead bartender Curtis Harwood collaborated with beverage director Kara Slife on a menu of well-executed classic cocktails. Berg adds that he did make one request for the cocktails.
“I told [Slife] I want the best screwdriver you’ve ever had,” he says. “They made it with clarified orange juice. It’s so yummy.”
While The Annie Cafe has an upscale neighborhood vibe with a spacious bar that could accommodate everything from a casual lunch to a business dinner, Turner’s is explicitly more intimate, upscale, and expensive. The best comparison might be MAD, where the over-the-top decor and decadent food combine to create a memorable experience.
“It’s not a casual evening. It’s an evening you kind of plan for,” Berg says. “It’s elevating the dining experience, kind of throwing it back a little. The grandeur of an old hotel. It’s pure comfort and taking care of the guests.”
Turner's; 1800 Post Oak Blvd.; Tuesday - Saturday 4 pm-late; 713-804-1212