Culture / Restaurants

Houston’s Hot New French Restaurant Draws Mad Praise from CNN

This is More Than Just Crepes

BY // 02.10.17
photography Mauricio Hernandez

As downtown Houston readied itself for the Super Bowl masses, a petite French brasserie opened in the midst of the game week chaos. Nestled in the One Park Place nexus — the Marvy Finger high-rise building which also houses Phoenicia Specialty Foods — the new Brasserie du Parc marks the second installment from accomplished Etoile duo Master Chef of France Phillipe Verpiand and his wife and partner Monica Bui.

Verpiand, who is one of only three Master Chefs residing in H-Town, garnered a whirl of notable press before the restaurant’s highly anticipated debut, securing the attention of news heavyweight CNN for an extensive digital and video profile.

“The diversity in Houston, you know, it’s not every city that you can just go and grab Ethiopian food, and there’s a large community of Indian people, and same thing with Vietnamese [people]. So when we came here [from California] we would try out different restaurants, and they were packed every night,” Bui told CNN. “Every table had a bottle of wine, so we knew people were spending, and the economy was good.”

“Most Houston people, I think they are hungry for new restaurants, and I think this new location is at the epicenter of the city,” Verpiand told CNN’s senior digital correspondent Chris Moody.

The brasserie marks a more casual concept for Verpiand and Bui who have already experienced success with their posh Uptown eatery Etoile Cuisine et Bar, churning everything from coq au vin to escargot out of its expert French kitchen.

But Verpiand’s encore project touts a striking whimsical aura. Upon entry, guests are greeted by a buoyant bartenders, the skilled curators of the brasserie’s 360-degree bar. A dainty dining area hides a few feet back, stocked with sleek table tops and modern leather chairs in a neutral shade of camel. While the restaurant’s quaint interiors boast an eye-catching display, the true show stopper is the locale’s indoor-outdoor dining area.

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Encased by floor-to-ceiling windows, the sprawling room offers a front seat to downtown’s bustling convention center corridor, which has been newly transformed thanks to the biggest sporting event in America. Woven black-and-white side chairs accent the sea of tables, which are adorned with amber-hued water glasses and navy cloth napkins. It’s a display reminiscent of a classic cafe on the streets of Paris.

But the chic surrounds aren’t just for gazing … eating is also encouraged. Brasserie du Parc’s new menu is divided into six sections — hors d’oeuvres, les crêpes, les steaks, les salades/les sandwichs, les moules (mussels), and plat principaux.

Start your meal with Crevettes du Golfe, a statuesque presentation of Gulf shrimp, crushed avocado, grapefruit, and tarragon cocktail sauce; Escargots Bourgogne smothered in fresh herbs garlic butter; or Raviolis aux Champignons, mushroom ravioli in a port wine truffle sauce topped with aged parmesan.

For the main course, Brasserie du Parc’s steak frites reigns supreme. The eight-ounce flat-iron arrives to the table perfectly cooked complete with a crusty sear on the meat’s exterior. Au poivre sauce provides an additional flavor profile, and golden pommes frites paired with creamy béarnaise sauce complete the stand out dish.

Not in the mood for steak? Opt for the Sanglier de Bolognaise made with wild boar, mushrooms, and linguine pasta; Risotto aux Fruits de Mer, a seafood risotto filled with Gulf shrimp, calamari, saffron, and red bell pepper stew; or Coq au Vin, a classic French dish of chicken braised in red wine with mashed potatoes.

Indulge in a bevy of crepe options for dessert. Devour your banana nutella crepe in-house, or grab the confection to-go from Brassserie du Parc’s soon-to-open walk-up crepe window. Then head across the street to Discovery Green, crepe in tow.

Brasserie du Parc, 1440 Lamar Street,, 832.879.2802.

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