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Restaurants

Houston’s Chef-Driven Food Hall Sets Itself Apart by Making Things Anything But Cookie Cutter

Your First Taste Look at Bravery Chef Hall

BY // 08.31.19

Food halls are the new food courts of this millennium — and they’re popping up everywhere. Currently there are four in downtown Houston. In the coming months, you’ll see intriguing projects opening in Rice Village, the Heights and Washington Avenue.

Some, such as the upcoming Lyric Market in the Theater District, are positively huge — Lyric is reputed to span an entire city block, with 31,000 square feet. Conservatory Underground Beer Garden & Food Hall was the first, followed by Finn Hall, then recently Understory in the Bank of America Tower and Bravery Chef Hall in Hines’ new Aris Market Square, a luxury high-rise apartment building on Travis Street.

Captivating downtown dwellers and workaday day trippers, these food halls provide a unique, often chef-driven dining experience while allowing their tenants — many, first-time restaurant owners — an incubator to grow their business with a small, affordable space and short-term lease.

For Bravery Chef Hall, Anh Mai and Lian Nguyen ( founders of the aforementioned Conservatory Underground Beer Garden & Food Hall) are at it again, collaborating this time with sommelier and restaurateur Shepard Ross. Bravery is built with five open-style kitchen islands and three bars. Each micro-restaurant is a one-of-a kind concept that offers an immersive experience for the diner. Table service is eliminated. Saunter up to a bar stool (or call ahead for takeaway) and interact directly with the chefs.

At BOH Pasta & Pizza, Ben McPherson’s team makes pasta noodles from scratch daily, as well as signature Roman-style pizza dough that’s fermented up to 96 hours to develop an airy, chewy texture inside a crisp exterior.

Then there’s chef Christine Ha — winner of the third season of Gordon Ramsey’s Master Chefs — at The Blind Goat, a modern Vietnamese gastropub. Ha suffers from an autoimmune condition that left her sight impaired, but that hasn’t deterred her from honing her culinary skills.

Horizontal Christine Ha
Chef Christine Ha is all in on Bravery Chef Hall. (Photo by Varner Productions Ltd.)

Over at Cherry Block Craft Butcher + Kitchen, sommelier turned pig farmer turned small restaurant owner Felix Florez and his partner, chef Jess DeSham, want to change your idea of a steak restaurant.

At Kokoro, former Uchi sushi chefs Daniel Lee and Patrick Pham wow us with sushi and yakitori. Wondered what became of English chef Richard Knight, late of Hunky Dory? He’s here, running Atlas Diner, which puts a twist — and a British accent — on American diner fare.

In the mood for a little spirited fun? Look no further than Lockwood Station, where David Daiquiri will mix you up a draft cocktail (vermouth and whiskey are his go-to); Secret Garden Coffee & Cocktails, manned outside by Jonathan Gallardo; or Bravery Wine Bar, where Shepard Ross shares his latest wine finds

Bravery Chef Hall, 409 Travis Street; open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.

For PaperCity‘s complete food hall guide, click here.

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