eat for absolution
Talented Houston chef debuts new River Oaks-area restaurant with decadent dishes, caviar service, and buzzy vibe
Throughout his career in Houston restaurants, chef E.J. Miller has been the guy behind the guy. Now, he’ll lead the kitchen at Muse, an eclectic new restaurant opening this spring in the former Emmaline space at 3210 W Dallas St.
Food-obsessed Houstonians may recall that Miller worked alongside Brandi Key at Coppa Ristorante and SaltAir Seafood Kitchen. They may remember that Ryan Lachaine recruited him to help open Riel and that he served as celebrity chef Michael Mina’s tie to Texas during International Smoke’s short-lived run in CityCentre. More recently, he’s been leading The Sporting Club, the lively restaurant and nightlife venue on Washington Avenue.
He’ll bring all those experiences to Muse. Part of Sundown Entertainment — the group behind the Sporting Club, cocktail bar the Sugar Room, and tequila bar Todos Santos — Muse will feature a seasonal menu that pulls from different culinary traditions. Miller tells CultureMap he’s been inspired both by the places he’s worked and local restaurants he patronizes such as Mein, Ohn Korean Eatery, Pho Binh, and State of Grace. The result is a menu with a range of hot and cold shareable items, maki rolls, and wood-grilled steak and seafood entrees.
Specific dishes will include:
- Parker House Rolls with fresh dill, urfa everything spice, smoked salmon, and cultured butter
- Wood-fired Alabama Oysters topped with fried chicken butter, fermented peppers, and garlic honey
- Wagyu Potstickers topped with caviar and chives
- Lobster ravioli with shellfish nage, sweet chili sauce, and fresh herbs
- Caviar Service with brown butter potato madeleines, creme fraiche, and chives.
Pairing options will include a range of craft cocktails and a wine list with selections by-the-glass or bottle. General manager Patty Burbach, a veteran of establishments such as Mastro’s and MAD, brings more than 20 years of experience to her role.
Muse takes some of its design inspiration from restaurants such as Catch LA, MILA Miami, and Tattu UK, according to a representative. Large tables will feature Lazy Susans to make sharing easier. Both private dining rooms and an outdoor patio will be available.
“Our goal with Muse is to create a perfect blend of food, service, and ambience,” Miller said in a statement. “While food is always our number one focus, we also want to create a lively, buzzing atmosphere that can be enjoyed by all.”
Given the hysteria around Sundown’s other concepts, it seems likely that Muse won’t be a supermassive black hole in Houston’s dining scene. Indeed, we predict diners will be feeling good at this new born eatery.