Benjy Levit is making some big changes at Benjy’s. As the Rice Village restaurant prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary, the restaurant will debut a new menu and a fresh, new look.
“I think the typical lifespan of a restaurant is 10 years,” Levit tells CultureMap. “We’re lucky to have made it this long. The goal is to reinvent, to become relevant again. Keep some of our same audience but certainly broaden it to be a little more youthful.”
Towards that end, executive chef Mike Potowski worked with Seth Siegel-Gardner, formerly of The Pass & Provisions, to create a new menu focused to create a new menu built around shareable plates. Levit describes the new dishes as both ingredient and vegetable-driven with a focus on Asian flavors, including mazemen-style pasta made with Japanese ingredients. Siegel-Gardner, who recently moved to Marfa to open a distillery, played an important role in helping the restaurant fine tune each dish.
“I think his role is to help us still get a ton of flavor from each and every dish but to help us keep the ingredients to a minimum,” Levit says. ”To let each one speak for itself, I think that’s one of his fortes.”
Designer Aaron Rambo, who worked with Levit on both Local Foods and The Classic, created the restaurant’s new look. It includes new floors, chairs, and tables, as well as a refreshed look for the bar. Benjy’s will be closed from Monday, September 30, until Wednesday, October 2, to facilitate the changes.
“We’re trying to lighten it, make it more playful,” Levit says. “I think 25 years ago I was trying to do something really different for Houston. That’s the goal with this redo, both with the menu and the decor, is to do something a little bit out of the box.”