Editor’s note: Houston’s restaurant scene moves pretty fast. In order to prevent CultureMap readers from missing anything, let’s stop to look around at all the latest news to know.
The Houston area’s first Dutch Bros. Coffee has made its debut in Spring at 19366 I-45. Known for its customizable coffees (including vegan options), its handcrafted proprietary coffee blend, smoothies, freezes, teas, and specialty drinks like nitrogen-infused cold brew and its private-label Blue Rebel energy drink, Dutch Bros has been a favorite on the West Coast since it debuted in 1992. Overall, the company plans to open 100 Texas locations in the next couple of years.
Rooster Vietnamese Grill has opened its third location in the East End at 2929 Navigation Blvd. Like its siblings in Spring Branch and the Galleria area, the new restaurant serves traditional banh mi made with high quality ingredients, including housemade garlic aioli and locally-baked loaves. In addition to sandwiches, the menu features noodle bowls, chicken wings, and soups (try the alphabet). Both dine-in and to-go customers may pair their meals with an extensive selection of craft beer as well as tea, cold brew coffee, and sodas.
Good news for those seeking an update on the Houston location of Loro, the Asian smokehouse concept developed by Uchi chef-owner Tyson Cole and Franklin Barbecue chef-owner Aaron Franklin. The restaurant, which will open in The Heights later this year, has named Marcos Leal as its chef de cuisine. Leal will oversee execution of a diverse menu that ranges from smoked meats to rice bowls and small plates.
Set those DVRs
This week offers Houstonians two opportunities to catch locals on the Food Network. Joseph Quellar of JQ’s Tex-Mex Barbecue competes on Chopped: Playing with Fire, a five-episode miniseries devoted to live fire cooking. Tune in on Tuesday, August 10 at 8 pm to see if Quellar advances to the finals and a shot at the $25,000 prize.
On Friday, August 13 at 8 pm, Montrose restaurant Traveler’s Table will be featured on the season premier of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. CultureMap has contacted the Food Network for information about when episodes featuring the five other restaurants host Guy Fieri visited in April will air and will share the news when it’s available.
Now serving dinner
Homestead Kitchen & Bar, the recently opened restaurant in the Heights M-K-T development, has added dinner service to its offerings, which means the restaurant is now open from 7:30 am-9:30 pm Tuesday-Sunday. In addition to its diverse array of breakfast offerings, chef Fernanda Alamilla’s menu includes Mexican-inspired dishes such as enchiladas and carnitas, Cajun/Creole-style fare such as fried chicken and crawfish etouffee, and Southern favorites like chicken fried steak. Still the opportunity to have pancakes for dinner remains tempting, especially when paired with cocktails.
Agnes Café & Provisions, the all-day cafe in Boulevard Oaks, added dinner service last month. While breakfast and lunch remains fast casual, dinner is a sit down, candlelit experience that features a mix of favorites from the lunch menu with some more luxurious items such as filet mignon and redfish on the half shell. John Mason (River Oaks Country Club, Camerata) consulted on a beverage list that includes wines as well as cocktails such as a tomato martini and a blood orange mezcal margarita.
Diversión Cocktails has a new food menu created by Burger-Chan chef-owner Willet Feng. Prompted by a request from customers for more substantial dining options, owner Steven Salazar enlisted Feng to create dishes such as braised short rib with white bean puree, Catalonia fish sticks, and white asparagus with prosciutto and salsa almadroc.
“The project forced me to research and test dishes outside of my comfort zone,” Feng said in a statement. “I also got to experiment with new culinary equipment, such as a freeze-drier! I'm extremely proud of the results, and I think the food goes perfectly with the well-crafted cocktails.”
Julep, Alba Huerta’s Southern-inspired, Washington Avenue drinking destination, rolled out new food and cocktail menus in July. The eight new house cocktails feature “migrant ingredients,” defined as items such as tamarind and cardamom that originated in one place and became staples in another culture. Highlights include the tepache julep, made with sous vide Verdejo, pineapples, and tamarind; the nightshade hideball, made with white port, Manzanilla, red bell pepper, and tonic; and the Swimming Upstream, made with tequila, yellow Chartreuse, strawberry, and ginger.
On the food side, former Tony’s chef Kate McLean has created dishes such as the Oyster Picnic (six oysters, sausage, bread from Magnol French Baking, and butter) and a burger that uses Texas akaushi beef.
“We’ve existed in a world where ingredients are globally sourced,” Huerta said. “During the pandemic, we witnessed the breakdown of the supply chain—how quickly items arrive, what items are no longer available or less readily available, how prices have changed. Origin stories have always been important, but now the awareness of where ingredients come from and how they migrated here is crucial.”
Chef-owner Travis Lenig has rolled out a new menu at Field & Tides, his Southern-inspired restaurant in The Heights. New tastes that include crab tostada, pistachio-crusted halibut with celery root puree, and Low Country fried chicken piccata with garlic mashed potatoes and green beans join customer favorites like the she crab soup and crispy fried oysters with Brussels sprouts. Look for dishes with vegetables sourced from Huckleberry Farm, a property in Round Top that’s owned and operated by Lenig’s in-laws.
Tonight & Tomorrow, the restaurant at the recently renovated La Colombe d’Or hotel in Montrose, has new food and cocktail menus. Chef Jonathan Wicks offerings include an heirloom tomato salad, campechana, a Berkshire pork chop, and a butcher’s cut of lamb. Food and beverage director Chris Fleischman’s new additions feature the Rajasthan Royale (passion fruit, Amaretto, vodka, and sparkling wine) as well as the Excelsior that’s a spin on the familiar carajillo (cold brew coffee, cognac, liquor 43, and cardamom bitters). In addition, the bar menu features new snacks that are available daily from 11 am-11 pm.