grab your chopsticks
Dim sum, sushi, and roast duck: Chinese chef has big plans for Medical Center hotel
An acclaimed Chinese chef has ambitious plans to open restaurants at a hotel in the Texas Medical Center. If Ho Chee Boon succeeds, food-obsessed Houstonians will soon be making their way to the Blossom Hotel.
First up is Molihua, which the chef describes as a restaurant that will serve both sushi and dim sum-style small bites. Scheduled to open in February, Boon has teamed up with Japanese chef Hideki Hiwatashi to open Molihua. Both men worked together previously for the Hakassan Group, the global hospitality company best known locally for upscale dim sum concept Yauatcha.
Named for the Chinese word for “jasmine,” Molihua will serve as a showcase for chef Hideki. He brings an impressive resume to the project, including serving as head chef at Kikunoi Roan, a two-Michelin star kaseki restaurant in Kyoto.
“It’s the best sushi I’ve ever had,” Boon says about Hideki. “He brought the idea of doing sushi and dim sum together. We want to try something new.”
That something new involves seeing the intersection between sushi and dim sum. As chef Boon explains, both cuisines are small bites that are consumed as individual pieces. The menu is still being developed, but the chef is clear that it won’t include traditional steamed dumplings like hai gow or shu mai.
“This restaurant is very modern. You won’t have traditional dim sum,” he explains. “Soup dumplings can be dim sum. In China, South dim sum and North dim sum are different. In Beijing, they don’t have hai gow or shu mai. They have fried dumplings and fried wontons.”
The desserts will modern, too, as they’ll be created by chef Rory Macdonald. Another Hakassan veteran, Macdonald is currently the chef-owner of Patisserie Chanson in New York City. He’ll also create desserts for a lobby bar that’s slated to open next year.
At some point next year, the chef will also open Duck House by Boon. Located in an adjacent building on the hotel’s first floor, the restaurant will serve a similar menu to his San Francisco restaurant Empress by Boon. Like Molihua, it will offer an upscale environment.
“I don’t want it to be like the ones in China. I want a very different experience,” he says. “From the bar, you can see the duck cooking. When your duck is ready, you go sit down [in the dining room].”
These restaurants have been in the planning stages for a long time. The Blossom initially announced them for a late 2022 opening. With construction nearly complete on Molihua, it seems like Houstonian will finally be able to sample chef Boon’s cuisine.
The 16-story Blossom Hotel offers 267 luxury guestrooms and suites, plus more than 9,000 square feet of meeting and event spaces. The property also boasts a rooftop pool and lounge with views of downtown Houston.