Montrose may be Houston's premier dining neighborhood, but its mix of restaurants changes constantly. In the last few weeks alone, established restaurants Pepino's, Au Petit Paris and Byzantio have closed while newcomer Snooze is already making a splash. On Sunday, another longtime favorite will end its nine-year run.
Brasserie Max & Julie will close after dinner service on Sunday, but a new French restaurant will take its place in approximately six weeks. Owner Christophe Paul tells CultureMap that he's brought on a new partner named Sydney Degain, who will replace Max & Julie's classic bistro fare with a new focus on Provençal cuisine with Northern Italian touches. The partners are still deciding on a name for the concept. Diners who are looking for steak frites and bouillabaisse after Sunday will likely turn to L'Olivier, where former Tony's chef Olivier Ciesielski still turns out classic French fare.
According to Paul, Degain is a native Frenchman who has spent the past 10 years operating restaurants in Brazil. After deciding to move to Houston, Degain approached Paul about purchasing his restaurant. After some negotiating, they came to a deal that will allow Degain to serve his food while also giving Paul a presence at the restaurant.
"I have a good vibe about this," Paul says. "I think it’s going to be a cool spot. Montrose is exploding really. He’s coming at the right time. I’ll stay with him in the back. Being as discreet as possible, because I want him to be the guy there."
During Max & Julie's remodeling, Paul says he intends to take some time off and also return his focus to his other restaurant, Cafe Rabelais in Rice Village. Look for those changes to come soon.
Chef Michael Nutt will also be leaving the restaurant and tells CultureMap he's also working with new partners to open another restaurant. "Mike is a fantastic guy. I really hope he explodes on the scene," Paul says.
On Sunday night, Paul and Nutt will celebrate the restaurant with a special, $30, buffet-style menu of some of the restaurants most popular dishes. Patrons are invited to remember the good times they spent there and enjoy 30-percent off wine.
"Sunday will be more of a party than anything else," Paul concludes.