An array of mezze and kebabs at the new Greek spot Kriti Kitchen shows this new Houston restaurant's food power. (Photo by Ajna Jai)
Designed by Houston-based Allie Wood Design Studio, Kriti Kitchen features modern-style dining tables and counter seating. Pops of vibrant blue cabinets and bronze globe pendant lighting give the restaurant a retro look. (Photo by Ajna Jai)
The counter-service restaurant is located in the Weslayan Plaza Shopping Center at 4010 Bissonnet Street, near Buffalo Grille and Randalls. (Photo by Ajna Jai)
Here's a look inside the West University outpost of the just opened Kriti Kitchen. (Photo by Ajna Jai)
Chef and owner Mary Cuclis of the new Kriti Kitchen in West University brings some major restaurant experience. (Photo by Ajna Jai)
The Mizithrapita – a cheese-stuffed pancake with a honey drizzle and nut crumble. (Photo by Ajna Jai)
Heat and eat meals to go include the traditional Moussaka, a Greek casserole made with eggplant, beef and a creamy bechamel. (Photo by Ajna Jai)
Opa! A new fast-casual Greek restaurant has opened in West University. Founded by chef Mary Cuclis and Scott Gilliland, Kriti Kitchen at 4010 Bissonnet Street is a counter-service restaurant serving up made-from-scratch Greek cuisine for breakfast and lunch and even late afternoon dinner. It centers around the food from the isle of Crete, emphasizing seasonal ingredients and traditional recipes with a modern twist.
The 990-square-foot blue-and-white tiled space is adorned an interior mural from local artist Julie Kesselman with an array of vignettes depicting some of the regions famed Minoan fresco paintings, as well as custom-built bronze and marble shelves to display the olive oils, wines and dry goods that hail from Greece.
While Cuclis’ inspiration for the Kriti Kitchen menu is derived from her own Greek roots, her experience working at Michelin-starred Bo Innovation in Hong Kong, Houston’s Pondicheri and her own catering company plays a significant role in how she prepares every dish. For example, the tzatziki is made using an Indian technique called Tadka in which whole spices are toasted on the stove top with oil until they pop and fizzle, imparting a depth of flavor to the hot oil before it is added to the sauce.
The streamlined all-day menu at Kriti Kitchen features a selection of shareable vegetable mezze boards, inventive salads, wraps and protein bowls. There will also be a daily offering of brunch items like the Mizithrapita – a cheese-stuffed pancake with a honey drizzle and nut crumble.
Eat gluten free? The powers that be made sure to accommodate those searching for those options too. For example, you can opt for almond cassava flatbread instead of the traditional pita, both of which are homemade by Cuclis. The food is accompanied by a selection of Greek beer and wine, as well as non-alcoholic beverages like mint lemonade, a Cretan herbal tea called diktamos, and an almond and cinnamon drink called soumada.
Looking for something to heat up later? Kriti Kitchen will also offer a separate takeout menu with the option to pre-order large “Heat & Eat” meals ahead of time and pick up at the restaurant on the same day. In addition, a rotating selection of appetizers and entrees from the menu will be available in the restaurant’s refrigerated section. The fridge is stocked with homemade dressings, sauces, dips, sweets, breads and family-style platters such as chicken souvlaki, pomegranate pork ribs and Moussaka complete with serving and heating instructions.
“We want to take the stress out of your weeknight meal prep,” Cuclis says. “Instead of worrying about what to serve, folks can instead use that time to enjoy family and delicious food.”
Kriti Kitchen is open from 9:30 am to 5 pm Tuesdays through Saturdays, with an all-day brunch menu available daily.