High-profile seafood restaurant to close its doors in Houston food hall
Opened in December of 2021 by James Beard Award winning chef Paul Qui and Norwegian chef Christopher Haatuft, Golfstrømmen provided a fine dining seafood restaurant inside the lively confines of the Post HTX food hall. Haatuft’s commitment to sustainability influenced the restaurant’s menu, which featured dishes such as bluefin tuna sashimi — a nod to the Japanese training Qui acquired at Uchi — along with dishes such as whole snapper two ways, snitters (Norwegian-style open-faced sandwiches), and red fish ceviche.
The elevated fare earned it considerable acclaim, including a nomination for Best New Restaurant in the 2022 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards and the top spot on Chronicle critic Alison Cook’s list of Houston’s top 100 restaurants. To suit the tastes of food hall diners, Qui and Haatuft eventually dropped most of the fine dining menu in favor of more casual fare such as fish and chips, lobster rolls, and crab rangoon.
At the same time, a wave of new seafood restaurants such as Aaron Bludorn’s Navy Blue and Pappas Restaurants’ Little’s Oyster Bar demonstrated Houstonians have an appetite for more elevated seafood concepts with stylish interiors, comprehensive beverage programs, and polished service. Since creating a luxurious atmosphere is difficult in a food hall, it became clear to both chefs that Golfstrommen’s future lay elsewhere. Details where that new location will be and when it will be open will be announced at a later date.
“This is a goodbye for now,” Qui said in a statement. “It has been a pleasure for Christopher and I to serve Houston and introduce our flavors to the city. We plan on taking the lessons we learned from Golfstrømmen as a food hall concept and adapting into a more elevated experience. We're excited to keep our guests posted on our next steps with the Golfstrømmen brand.”
The closure does not affect the operations of Qui’s other restaurants at the food hall that are operated under the FAM Hospitality Group umbrella. They include Thai Khun, Filipino concept Soy Pinoy, Japanese restaurant East Side King, hot chicken concept Lea Jane’s, Johnny Good Burger, and two bars, Return to Sender and Address Unknown.
To celebrate Golfstrømmen’s legacy, Qui will be in the kitchen on the last night of service to serve dishes from the restaurant’s opening menu. Dinner hours will be 5-9 pm.
“I can say for me personally, the joy I’ve had working with this team and creating these dishes has reignited my passion for cooking, and I can’t be more thankful to the Houston community for that,” Qui added.