3 openings to know
3 Houston-area restaurant openings to know right now: Italian seafood, Miami doughnuts, and a sizzling Japanese staple
The summer has already been a busy time for new restaurant openings. In the past few weeks, eagerly anticipated new arrivals such as ElRo Pizza & Crudo, Benny Chows, and Trill Burgers are all drawing attention from food-obsessed Houstonians.
Let’s take a quick look at three other openings to know. One is a new effort from a prominent local restaurant group, while the others are noteworthy suburban options.
Pastore Italian Kitchen
Underbelly Hospitality will officially open the doors to Pastore this Friday, June 30. Located next to Georgia James, the company’s luxurious steakhouse, in the Regent Square mixed-use development, Pastore combines two of Houston’s most of the moment restaurant trends: Italian and seafood.
Chef Jeff Potts collaborated with Underbelly culinary director Scott Muns on the menu. It starts with raw items such as cured Gulf snapper and scallop crudo as well as shareables that include stuffed, roasted calamari. The four housemade pastas include swordfish amatriciana and ravioli en brodo.
Pastore puts its wood-burning oven to good use by serving five pizzas — including one topped with clams and another topped with figs and lemon ricotta — along with whole roasted branzino and a hearty porchetta. Pair them with a selections from the Italian-oriented wine list or cocktails created by former CultureMap Tastemaker Awards Bartender of the Year winner Sarah Troxell.
“Houston has great Italian restaurants, but we’re filling a void for seafood-forward, coastal cuisine,” Potts said in a statement. “In keeping with the ethos of Underbelly Hospitality and Italian gardens, the flavors sown through the menu will be light and fresh, rooted in seasonality.”
Notably, Pastore is Underbelly Hospitality’s first opening since the departures of founder Chris Shepherd and its original culinary director, chef Nick Fine. The company will open second locations of Wild Oats and Underbelly Burger later this year in Spring Branch.
A Miami-based dessert concept has arrived in Pearland. Yonutz debuted in Pearland Town Center last weekend (11200 Broadway, Suite 430).
Known for its signature smashed doughnuts, Yonutz serves treats such as the Nutella Crunch Smash Donut that's cut in half, filled with cookie dough ice cream, heated on a waffle iron-style griddle, and topped with Oreos, cereal crunch, and Nutella drizzle. The hot and cold taste experience has won recognition at the annual Dessert Wars competition and attracted an investment from former Shank Tank cast member Kevin Harrington
The menu also includes conventional, non-ice cream filled doughnuts as well as milkshakes. A "secret menu" — available to anyone who joins the company's free VIP club — offers even more choices.
“We’re big fans of the Yonutz brand and its family-friendly atmosphere,” franchisee Chris Allen said in a statement. “We’re there seven days a week with our five-year-old and one-year-old daughters, so stop in anytime to say hi and experience what makes Yonutz so special.”
The Pearland location will soon be joined by shops in Kingwood and Memorial City Mall.
The Japanese-inspired steakhouse chain’s fifth Houston-area location will open July 13 in Conroe’s Teas Crossing Shopping Center (3061 Interstate 45 North). Known for its signature teppanyaki cuisine, the 7,000-square-foot restaurant has 17 tables where chefs prepare meals in front of diners.
Benihana’s interactive meals are built around a range of steak, chicken, and seafood entrees that are served as part of five or six-course menus. Diners can expect a lively environment with the theatrical chefs executing signature moments that include the onion volcano and made-to-order fried rice.
The restaurant also serves sushi — nigiri, sashimi, and maki — along with hot and cold appetizers. Pair them with wine, sake, beer, cocktails, or non-alcoholic sips.
“Every Benihana restaurant has its own unique story to tell,” Conroe general manager Andrew Kim said in a statement. “By crafting a fun, distinctive dining experience at each Benihana restaurant, we strive to create a special connection with our guests and neighbors and invite them on our culinary journey.”