Culture / Travel

As Houston’s Theater District Makes a Comeback, The Lancaster Hotel’s Cultivated F+B Rolls Out a New Menu, Complete with Brunch

The Restaurant Adds a New Top Chef and Exciting Dishes While Keeping The Lancaster Classics

BY // 11.01.21

The Lancaster Hotel’s Cultivated F&B is a Houston favorite for business lunches, pre-theatre dining and late-night cocktails, but as curtains rise throughout the Theater District, the venerable spot is stepping into the limelight itself with a new chef and a reimagined menu that casts brunch in the lead.

With new talent in its kitchen, Cultivated F+B balances classic dishes with exciting updates thanks to Joseph Vinson, the newly hired chef de cuisine. The modern American menu is a mix of playful and elegant options like bananas foster waffles, roasted beet salad and lobster Wellington.  

Vinson and Lancaster Hotel director of food and beverage Allan Levine collaborated on the menu’s thoughtful direction, making sure the popular dishes are still available while introducing more forward-thinking offerings as well. 

“It’s been a lot of fun working with Chef Vinson. He has great motivation and was ready for the new challenge,” Levine says. “The menu isn’t over the top. It’s simple and elegant and we do it very well.” 

Lancaster Hotel general manager Tom Harwell believes Vinson’s knowledge and expertise along with his culinary and management background gave him the perfect pedigree for Cultivated F+B’s updated direction. Vinson brings more than 13 years of culinary experience to the restaurant, most recently overseeing OTG in George Bush Intercontinental Airport. He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York.   

Vinson’s arrival also ushers in the arrival of brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 4 pm. Since no brunch menu would be complete without avocado toast, Vinson created the restaurant’s own version, served on grilled sourdough bread with a side salad and two eggs.

The Lancaster unveiled brunch in early October, and the bananas foster waffle and braised ribs Benedict are quickly becoming menu favorites. Benedict-loving diners take note — the dish is only available for weekend brunch. Cultivated F+B is one of the few downtown restaurants that serves breakfast during the week, starting at 6:30 am, a perk of the restaurant being attached to the hotel. 

Lancaster regulars will be happy to find longtime palate pleasers such as the Lancaster crab cakes and filet mignon are still on the menu, alongside Vinson’s deliciously innovative take on crispy pan-seared salmon, finished with an avocado glaze and accompanied by sweet potato mash, shaved sauteed brussels sprouts and mango salsa. 

“Chef Vinson took his inspiration for this dish from deconstructed fish tacos,” Levine says. “The five different flavors blend together perfectly.”

From shareable churros complete with hot chocolate sauce to sip-worthy tequila-based cocktails, every nook and cranny of the menu was given a deeper look. New cocktail additions include the West Texas Sunset, The Lancaster’s version of ranch water with a splash of cranberry juice, and the TXLA Boulevardier, made with Angel’s Envy Bourbon, Campari and Dolin vermouth.

The Lancaster Keeps It Fresh

After staying close to home during the height of the pandemic, diners are back out and eager to explore. 

“It’s great news to have the theatre business back and to see people after so long,” Levine says. “They are happy to be out and we are happy to be here to serve them.”

The Cultivated F+B staff keeps track of weekly show schedules and adjusts the restaurant’s hours accordingly, so whether it’s a long-running opera or weekend matinee, the doors will be open. 

The Lancaster is a longtime Houston staple for good reason.
The Lancaster is a longtime Houston staple for good reason.

As one of downtown Houston’s historic locales, The Lancaster maintains its elegant charm, while also looking ahead to what’s next. 

“We want to stay fresh, but we also maintain that old school service The Lancaster is known for,” Levine says. “Whether you live downtown, are staying at the hotel or are coming for dinner, we’re here for you.”

To learn much more about The Lancaster Hotel, check out the hotel’s full website. 

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