a chef's touch
Star Woodlands chef beefs up Rice Village casual dining staple with tasty menu adds, HH, and more
A Rice Village staple for affordable, casual dining has upgraded its offerings with a new look and dishes created by one of the Houston area’s top chefs. The changes at Black Walnut Kitchen & Bar position it as a go-to destination for all-day dining.
Located at 5510 Morningside Dr., Black Walnut closed in July for renovations. When it reopened in October, the restaurant added a wider, covered patio that seats 60 people along with an interior that’s brighter and flows more smoothly. Over time, similar changes will be made to the restaurant’s eight other locations throughout Houston and Dallas.
Along with the interior changes comes a host of new dishes created by Austin Simmons, who seres as the executive chef for all three restaurants in the Woodlands Hospitality Group — Black Walnut; The Kitchen, a fast casual all-day restaurant in The Woodlands; and Tris, a fine dining restaurant with a steak program built around Gyulais wagyu beef.
Utilizing the skills of an accomplished chef to enhance its offerings is good news for Black Walnut’s customers. For now, the new dishes are only available at Rice Village, but they’ll spread throughout the company over time.
The changes start at breakfast and brunch, with additions such as Cinnamon Roll Pancakes, buttermilk pancakes, and the Greek breakfast that comes with two poached eggs plus chicken and vegetables in a white wine and parmesan sauce. At lunch and dinner, look for additions designed to make draw more dinner crowds such as Gumbo “ya-ya” with chicken, sausage, and shrimp and five new pastas, including grilled shrimp Alfredo and bolognese made with beef and lamb. Simmons also tweaked the dessert menu with cookies that are baked fresh daily and milkshakes that use soft serve ice cream that’s made in house.
To further enhance Black Walnut’s evening offerings, the restaurant offers happy hour Monday through Friday from 3-6:30 pm. It features select cocktails for $8 along with $5 wells, house wines by-the-glass, and draft beer. A happy hour bites menu includes $10 burgers (choice of beef or turkey) plus queso, chicken lettuce wraps, and more.
“After being part of the Rice Village community for 18 years, it’s very exciting to turn a new page with these fresh updates and chef-driven menu” Woodlands Hospitality Group president Eric Lysaker said in a statement. “With extensive dinner entrées offered daily, a full bar menu, and weekday happy hour, we offer an elevated dining experience that goes well beyond brunch.”