Culture / Restaurants

Foodie Buzz

River Oaks’ Hottest New Restaurants Emerge, a Market Makes Major Changes & a Cookie Palace Opens

BY // 03.10.16

Editor’s note: The Houston restaurant scene is constantly changing, with new hotspots, must-try places and major culinary events coming along on a daily basis. Even the most dedicated eater can have trouble keeping up; but don’t worry, PaperCity’s Jailyn Marcel has you covered.

District Dining
Following a whirlwind of luxury retail openings, River Oaks District debuts the first of its restaurant offerings on Monday, April 4, with Toulouse Café & Bar, a Parisian café (think classic French pastries, frog legs à la Provençal and the house specialty — escargot Toulouse) from Dallas-based Lombardi Family Concepts. Taverna, another restaurant courtesy the Lombardi crew, will follow with a mid-April opening. A go-to stop for all things Italian, the eatery specializes in bold, rustic flavors and farm-to-table cooking serving everything from pan-seared sea bass to fresh pasta and risotto.

Late spring brings four more restaurants to River Oaks District, starting with Austin transport Hopdoddy Burger Bar. Expect the beloved eatery’s locally sourced burgers (there’s even an ahi tuna option), fries, salads, shakes and cocktails; but brace yourself, there’s sure to be a line.

Goodnight Tuna - credit Hopdoddy Burger Bar
Not a fan of beef? Try Hopdoddy’s goodnight tuna burger. (Photo courtesy Hopdoddy Burger Bar)

Grab some comfort food with a side of uptown flair at The Porch, a Dallas-based new American eatery also headed to River Oaks District. Indulge in classics like pimento cheese dip, beer-battered onion rings and smoked brisket sliders, then take advantage of the new location’s craft cocktail bar and brunch service.

Le Colonial, a French-Vietnamese restaurant, provides an upscale dining experience for ROD patrons. Inspired by 1920s French-colonial Southeast Asia, the 100-seat restaurant takes guests on a culinary journey with dishes like Ca Chien Saigon (Vietnamese crisp-seared whole red snapper in a light spicy and sour sauce); Chao Tom (grilled shrimp wrapped around sugar cane with angel hair noodles, lettuce, mint and dipping peanut sauce); and Banh Out (grilled sesame beef over flat rice noodles, cucumber and fresh herbs).

Brothers Jeffrey and Michael Maestro round out the spring with the scheduled River Oaks District opening of Steak 48. The steakhouse joins the duo’s Phoenix-based restaurant Steak 44 (named for its location on the 44th street in Phoenix) in the family-run enterprise. The new restaurant’s name is a salute to Arizona’s ranking as the 48th state. The expansive menu has everything from hand-cut, wet-aged prime steaks to a raw seafood bar and unique dishes like ahi poke and burrata with grilled stone fruit.

Summer is reserved for Arizona-based Sumo Maya Mexican-Asian Kitchen, which serves tapas-style plates incorporating flavors of Latin America and the Far East.

It’s all about tapas at Sumo Maya Mexican Asian Kitchen. (Photo courtesy Sumo Maya)

Relish Reboot
Major changes are ahead for Relish Fine Foods. The grocery and sandwich shop moves from its current digs at 3951 San Felipe St. to the former Bird and the Bear location at 2810 Westheimer Road. But don’t expect the same salads and sandwiches from the new kitchen: The soon-to-be full-service restaurant will undergo a major transformation, in the process receiving  a new name — Relish Restaurant and Bar — and menu. Look for seasonal American comfort food and a classic wine and cocktail program. Relish’s re-opening is slated for late May or early June.

Milk and Cookies
Restaurant and green space Tiny Boxwoods has made a name for itself with its beloved chocolate chip cookies. Now the irresistible confection is taking center stage with the opening of Milk & Cookies, Tiny’s cookie and coffee shop, which will be located nextdoor to Tiny’s No. 5 at 3636 Rice Blvd. The eatery’s famous cookies will be on display along with Tiny’s homemade ice cream and other sweet treats. Tiny’s has enlisted the expertise of design company Found for the space’s interior. Milk & Cookies is expected to open in June of 2016.

Berryhill 2.0
Mexican eatery Berryhill Baja Grill is getting a major upgrade. Owner Jeff Anon will relocate the original Berryhill (2639 Revere St.) to 2300 Westheimer Road (formerly Harwood Grill). The new location, which is slated to open this summer, will double the restaurant’s existing seating and parking space.


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