Restaurants

Historic Montrose Boutique Hotel Brings in a New Chef For Its Striking Restaurant — Tonight & Tomorrow Makes Menu Changes

A Special Setting Demands Special Food and Drinks

BY // 05.07.22
photography Rebecca Wright

One year after owner Steve Zimmerman and his son Dan transformed their storied La Colombe D’Or boutique hotel, situated in a nearly century-old Fondren manse in Montrose, into an exciting collaboration with a global real estate firm Hines, which built a 34-story apartment high-rise connected to the historic property, change is in the air in the front and the back of the house restaurant. Jesus “JB” Babaran has been appointed the new executive chef at Tonight & Tomorrow, charged with advancing the restaurant’s coastal European cuisine.

True to its inspiration (the Roux brothers’ famous hotel in Saint-Paul de Vence, which inspired Zimmerman decades earlier), Chef Babaran will introduce more classic French cooking techniques and flavors to his spring and summer menus. He replaces Jonathan Wicks, who had been the chef since Tonight & Tomorrow opened a year ago.

“I’m thrilled to call La Colombe d’Or my new home and bring my cooking techniques to a Houston institution,” Babaran says. “As a longtime Houston resident, I understand the city’s palate and look forward to introducing new and interesting flavors and ideas on our seasonal menus in the restaurant and bar.”

Inside the boutique hotel — which was completely reimagined with the help of lauded design firm Rottet Studio (helmed by Houston’s own Lauren Rottet) — you’ll find the Tonight & Tomorrow dining room, a separate craft cocktail bar dubbed Bar 3, along with five one bedroom suites just up the winding staircase.

Its dining areas — which thankfully retain all the glorious original millwork — were updated with cozy emerald tufted banquettes and elegant caned backed chairs, marble tabletops sans linen alternate with those edged in gold and topped with a gleaming black lacquer finish. Like the French original, over the years, Steve Zimmerman has attracted artists to his very own enclave and added works from Raoul Dufy, Arik Levy, Christian Rosa and Dorothy Hood to his enviable art collection.

Calvin Salemi and JB Babaran (Photo by Rebecca Wright)
Calvin Salemi and JB Babaran are taking over as the food and beverage team at Houston’s Tonight & Tomorrow restaurant. (Photo by Rebecca Wright)

Overseeing the service and day-to-day operation of Tonight & Tomorrow and Bar No.3 is the new food and beverage director Calvin Salemi, a recent transplant from Guam via Paris, Bangkok, Tokyo and New York City. Salemi brings extensive food and beverage experience in global five-star hospitality environments, including Minetta Tavern in New York City and the Dusit Thani resort in Guam.

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Tonight & Tomorrow Menu Changes

Look for new dishes like Cacciucco, a stew of lobster, octopus, shrimp, clams, mussels, scallop and finfish simmered in a red wine and tomato broth. It will share space on the menu with entrees like sauteed gulf red snapper topped with jumbo lump crab, grilled rabbit, Rohan duck, lamb shank barbacoa, ribeye steak and beef tenderloin.

Starters range from seared foie gras and black truffle risotto to a mix of seasonal salads. A selection of family-style sides is available, too, where sharing of every course is heartily encouraged. While longtime menu favorites, including the French onion soup and the crab ravigote, still maintain a place on the menu.

Bar No.3 -Mountain of Light Cocktail (Photo by Rebecca Wright)
The collection of seasonal craft cocktails is named after the outdoor sculptures poised on the grounds of La Colombe d’Or including this one called Mountain of Light. (Photo by Rebecca Wright)

In addition, a brand new drinks and bites menu has debuted at Bar No.3. The collection of seasonal craft cocktails is named after the outdoor sculptures poised on the grounds of La Colombe d’Or.

‘East of the Pecos,’ a tequila and mezcal-based tincture, is named after the cantilevered yellow-painted steel installation from artist Rolf Westphal. ‘Rock Growth Root,’ a dark rum and coffee liquor drink, is named after the Corten steel installation by Arik Levy found at the corner of the property on Montrose Boulevard and Harold Street.

Nine craft cocktails and a seasonal mocktails can be found on the spring and summer menu. A few additions to the bar bites menu include a duck carnitas tostada, steamed mussels and steak frites.

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