By now, most of the Houston restaurants that shut down at some point during the coronavirus pandemic have reopened. Most of the ones that haven’t are unlikely to return, but a few exceptions remain.
One of them is La Table. The Galleria-area French restaurant will reopen on November 18. Thankfully, chef Stephen Conklin and general manager Valerio Lombardozzi remain in their roles, but major changes have been to the restaurant’s operations. La Table’s management firm, New York-based hospitality company Bastion (formerly Invest Hospitality), has taken steps designed to make the restaurant more, as a press release states, “approachable.”
Towards that end, La Table has converted Chateau, its fine dining concept that occupied the restaurant’s second floor, into a private event space. Chateau’s signature dishes like the roast chicken for two, cognac-marinated ribeye, and cheese souffle have been dropped from the menu, but the chef thinks the restaurant's fans will appreciate the changes.
“We plan to keep all the things that made La Table La Table, Conklin tells CultureMap. “We’re focused on how do we take all the elements that we thought were the best elements of the whole experience and make it grow and make all of Houston accessible to La Table.”
Towards that end, La Table will operate its downstairs space as the only area for day-to-day dining. The space has been renovated with an expanded patio that now includes seating facing Post Oak Blvd.
Conklin worked with acclaimed New York chef Jonathan Benno on a new menu of French-inspired fare that utilizes local ingredients such as beef from Texas wagyu purveyor R-C Ranch and mushrooms from Lone Star Mushrooms. Other dishes include avocado salad, French onion soup, and red snapper with saffron broth.
Prices are lower, too. The only entrees over $40 are filet mignon and a 28-ounch ribeye for two — which, again, utilize Texas wagyu beef.
“We left all the elements that we really love,” Conklin says. “We have a brand new patio. We updated the downstairs nicely. It’s still going to have the same great feel.”