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Restaurants / Openings

Major Changes at Houston Seafood Restaurant Lure a Hot New Chef

Can He Put Them Back On Top?

BY // 06.09.17

Big changes are underway at Houston seafood restaurant Peska. Originally lauded for its upscale, seafood-focused concept, the fish market/restaurant hybrid in BLVD Place — which is the brainchild of Mexico restaurateur Maite Ysita — embarks on a new journey this season, reforming its menu of Mexico-inspired coastal dishes and remodeling its interiors.

The result aims to be a new and improved Peska Seafood and Prime Steaks (previously Peska Seafood Culture), a collaboration between Ysita and the restaurant’s new partner Adrian Hembree, owner of Pearland’s Grazia Italian Kitchen.

With a new team and menu comes a new chef. While Peska’s kitchen was originally manned by 22-year-old culinary wunderkind Omar Pereney when it debuted, he resigned in the wake of Peska’s new vision. The refreshed menu now will be helmed by chef Chris Loftis, a fitting upscale choice given his stint as the former chef de cuisine at Killen’s Steakhouse.

Under Hembree’s tutelage, Ysita has not only replaced Peska’s fish market with a larger bar and additional seating, but she’s also broadened the new menu to include eight USDA prime steaks and steakhouse-style additions such as jumbo lump crab cakes, lobster macaroni and cheese, and wedge salad — a change which has been dubbed “PesKarne” cuisine. But don’t worry, many of Peska’s seafood staples will remain. With new chef power.

peska
Chef Chris Loftis heads to Peska. (Courtesy photo)

“One of the things that speaks volumes about Chris, aside from the obvious experience on his resume, is his ability to relate to people,” Hembree says. “Maite and I want to do more than serve Houston’s best seafood and steaks. What we want to offer at Peska is that feeling of family you get when you put great food on the table.

“The idea behind the evolving PesKarne offerings is to create a menu that feels like home. Chris will bring fresh ideas to create new Gulf Coast seafood dishes and put one of the best steaks on the table, all while holding true to our Latin inspired beginnings. If that doesn’t describe Houston, then I don’t know what does.”

Following Loftis’ stint at Killen’s, he served as executive chef of Sam Houston Hotel’s recently unveiled lobby bar and restaurant The Pearl. Hopefully we’ll see some of Loftis’ creative Gulf Coast creations on the new Peska menu.

“It was just the right move for me. It’s tough finding a good home, but I think I’ve definitely found it here,” Loftis tells PaperCity. “Our staff is really eager to get back to the top.”

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