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Restaurants / Openings

Down-Home Dining in River Oaks

New Restaurant Brings a Casual Vibe and Breakfast for Dinner to Rich Land

BY // 03.08.17

Nashville hot frog legs, warm pimiento cheese, scorched whiskey okra, and cornbread madeleines— while this may sound like the makings of a down-home Southern eatery, it’s the product of Westheimer’s newest restaurant tenant, Newport Beach-based whiskey bar Bosscat Kitchen + Libations.

Following three years honing their skills in California, owners John Reed, Leslie Nguyen, and Vinnie Capizzi have relocated to Houston to debut the second iteration of their established Bosscat concept.

“Houston stood out from the moment I first visited last year,” Reed says. “On the business side, it was an opportunity for us to compete in the fourth-biggest market in the country. On the personal side, it was amazing to find a city this big with a community this small.

“Other chefs and restaurateurs have really welcomed us with open arms, and I love the way that the people here have invited us into their city and made us feel at home.” 

Much like its restaurant neighbor Eloise Nichols, Bosscat is striving to introduce a laid-back dining experience to the posh River Oaks neighborhood, providing premium whiskey and American comfort food just steps from luxury shopping center River Oaks District, which is known for its fine dining hotspots such as Le Colonial and Steak 48.

“We hope to bring a fun, lively environment — whiskey-forward with great food. We saw a need in the River Oaks area for a comfortable environment that welcomes people from all walks of life, and we can’t wait to get started,” Reed says.  

A lively, casual aura is immediately noticeable upon entry. Guests are greeted by the expansive bar area, where it is not uncommon to see an energetic clan celebrating a birthday or even a Houston Texans player or two. The new digs measure in at nearly 7,000 square-feet, making the new Houston restaurant ripe for a bevy of gatherings whether its a young professionals happy hour or merely dinner for two.

Led by chef Peter Petro, the kitchen echoes the restaurant’s rustic-industrial interiors, showcasing comfort classics with a refined flair. Start your meal with everything from Nashville hot frog legs and pork belly poutine to pimento cheese and pig candy — pork belly tossed in rye whiskey caramel and sesame seeds, served with kimchi. 

Fill up on entrees such as the Bosscat Burger, which brings California pizazz using fresh flavors such as purple lettuce, blue cheese, and black garlic sauce; the black-eyed pea sandwich, a flavorful vegetarian option with a deep-fried black bean fritter taking center stage; the 12-hour beef short ribs served with potato gratin; and the Carolina barbecue salmon paired with a butter bean succotash.

But the restaurant’s true menu standout is the barrel-aged breakfast, because who doesn’t crave breakfast for dinner — the dish’s skillet pancake is topped with sugary whiskey maple syrup, a duck butter fried egg, and crispy bacon.

Of course, a whiskey bar wouldn’t be complete without… whiskey. Bosscat houses one of the largest whiskey collections in the city with nearly 270 variations available including Texas-based brands Yellow Rose, Balcones, and Herman Marshall. An exclusive whiskey room also offers a fleet of whiskey lockers for VIP guests as well as a sprawling 12-seat table for private dining. 

Bar director Matt Sharp transforms Bosscat’s whiskey reserves into a collection of don’t-miss cocktails including the restaurant’s namesake drink which combines Basil Hayden, citrus, bitters, and rosemary; the Kentucky Orange Blossom, a mix of Buffalo Trace, elderflower, and orange; and the Boss Lady Vol. 2 — a great option even for the non-whiskey drinker — which brings a combo of Wild Turkey Bourbon, blackberry, citrus-infused syrup and thyme.

If whiskey isn’t your thing, Sharp also churns out various whiskey-free libations including the Bosscat mules — his riff on the classic Moscow; the tequila-centric Kerouac; and The Southsider, which puts Seersucker Gin at the forefront.

Bosscat Kitchen + Libations, 4310 Westheimer Road, bosscatkitchen-houston.com

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