New seafood restaurant freshens up familiar Uptown space with light, coastal fare and expansive patio
The owners of Galleria Italian restaurant il Bracco have more plans for Houston. Balboa Surf Club, a new seafood restaurant from the Dallas-based Western Addition Restaurant Group, will open later this spring.
Described as a Pacific-inspired seafood restaurant, Balboa will occupy the former Masraff’s space that’s also located in the Post Oak Plaza shopping center that’s already home to il Bracco. Western Addition is working with the Michael Hsu Office of Architecture (Uchi, Da Gama) on the design, which will feature an expansive, 1,200-square-foot covered patio that includes a water feature. Other design details include an open fireplace and artwork collected by Western Addition CEO Robert Quick and his wife Mary, Western Addition’s vice president of design.
Western Addition COO Matt Gottlieb tells CultureMap that the company sees an opportunity for a restaurant that’s a little different from the steakhouses and other fine dining restaurants that are popular in the Galleria area. A seafood restaurant will appeal to diners looking for a lighter option for both lunch and dinner, he explains.
“We love seafood,” Gottlieb says. “Balboa is a little different style than we’re seeing done anywhere else. The seafood restaurants we find in Houston are great, but I think our style is a little bit different, a little bit fresher.”
While he isn’t ready to share specific dishes until the menu is finalized, dishes will be influenced by California and Mexico's Pacific coast. A selection of different kinds of sushi will help provide the lighter, fresher options that the restaurant aims to serve. Diners can also expect entree-sized salads, sandwiches that utilized bread baked on-site, and Prime steaks.
Since Balboa will do all of its butchering in-house, it will be able to serve different preparations of fish, such as a “baseball cut” swordfish that will be cooked medium rare. Gottlieb says he’s working with the restaurant’s seafood purveyors to supply fresh Pacific swordfish at least six months out of the year.
Some of the lessons learned from opening il Bracco will be applied to Balboa. Known for its elegant, midcentury-inspired dining room and dishes such as spicy gemelli pasta and chicken piccata, the Italian restaurant has been bustling since its August opening. Gottlieb acknowledges that the extent to which Houstonians have embraced the restaurant being open all day has been a pleasant surprise.
“We really enjoy the different times people like to dine and the business throughout the evening,” he says.