One of the country's most famous chefs is giving Houstonians a sneak peek at his eagerly anticipated new restaurant. San Francisco-based celebrity chef Michael Mina will offer a preview of International Smoke, the global barbecue concept he developed with cookbook author Ayesha Curry, this Sunday, May 20, at Hugo's from 6-9 pm. A Houston location is scheduled to open in CityCentre next month.
As the name implies, International Smoke takes a global perspective on barbecue by featuring dishes inspired by live fire cooking that occurs in different cultures around the world. The restaurant's menu includes everything from Chinese-style char sui pork shoulder to Argentinian steak with chimichurri and ingredients cooked over Japanese binchotan charcoal.
The International Smoke pop-up will take over all of Hugo's on May 20, which will allow Mina to serve a variety of dishes from the restaurant's menu. Diners will be able to sample different styles of ribs paired with barbecued oysters, Gulf snapper with fermented black beans and fried rice, "instant bacon" steamed buns, shaking beef lettuce wraps, and more.
Best of all, tickets are only $30 and include a welcome cocktail — plus the opportunity to meet Mina. They're on sale now.
Coming to Hugo's makes a certain amount of sense. After all, Mina and Hugo's chef-owner Hugo Ortega are already business partners in Mi Almita, a Mexican concept that started as a pop-up and evolved into a restaurant that will open in Los Angeles next year.
Sadly, Curry won't be able to attend. Her husband, Mario Kart enthusiast Stephen Curry, is playing in a basketball game that night against the Houston Rockets. Houston foodies who love basketball may feel a little guilty about missing part of the game to meet Mina, but, given the timing, it's easy to attend the pop-up and be home in time to catch the second quarter.