Updated: Houston Restaurant Weeks announces participating restaurants for 2017

Updated: Houston Restaurant Weeks announces participating restaurants for 2017

Updated: Houston Restaurant Weeks announces participating restaurants for 2017

Houston Business Journal

By  –  Senior web editor, Houston Business Journal

With the start of Houston Restaurant Weeks on Aug. 1, the list of participating restaurants has been updated.

When the initial list was released on July 15, nearly 245 restaurants had signed up. Now, the list has increased to about 280 participating locations. See the full list below or on HoustonRestaurantWeeks.com. Menus for the participating restaurants also are available on the event’s website.

The annual event runs through Labor Day, which is Sept. 4 this year.

Restaurants participating in the event offer specially priced, multicourse prix-fixe menus and make donations to the food bank based on those sales. Last year, HRW added a $25 dinner option, but this year’s dinner options include only the $45 and $35 prices. Lunch is still $20, and brunch is $22. From each meal, $7, $5, $3 and $3, respectively, will be donated to the Houston Food Bank. The Houston Food Bank also partners with the Montgomery County Food Bank and the Galveston County Food Bank. All donations from restaurants operating in those counties will go to their respective food banks.

Houston Restaurant Weeks is the largest single fundraiser for the country’s largest food bank. Since it began in 2003, the event has raised more than $9.6 million for the Houston Food Bank. Last year’s event raised a record $2.015 million, up from more than $1.9 million in 2015.

Enjoy Houston Restaurant Weeks 2017 at these 11 can’t-miss newcomers

Enjoy Houston Restaurant Weeks 2017 at these 11 can’t-miss newcomers


By Eric Sandler 7.15.17 | 9:02 am

For food lovers in Houston, July 15 is one of the most eagerly-anticipated days of the year, because that’s the day the Houston Restaurant Weekswebsite goes live with menus.

Organized by TV and radio host Cleverley Stone, the month-long dining event, which runs from August 1 until Labor Day (September 4), features over 250 participating restaurants that run special two and three-course menus at set price points of $20 (lunch), $22 (brunch), and either $35 or $45 (dinner). Each meal contributes a set donation of between $3 and $7 to the Houston Food Bank.

All those meals add up. Last year’s event raised just over $2 million to feed hungry people in the Houston area, and the event has raised over $9.6 million since 2003. The event is a win for restaurants that have turned one of year’s slowest months into one of their busiest, a win for diners who get to try some of the city’s most popular establishments at a discount, and a win for the Food Bank.

While diners may choose to patronize restaurants like B&B Butchers, Masraff’s, and Peli Peli that ranked in last year’s top 10, many others will use it to try places that are either newly opened or new to the event. As an opening salvo in CultureMap’s HRW coverage (more restaurants will be added through July 31), here are 11 newcomers to consider, including the best new restaurant to open in Houston this year (so far) and the Heights spot that took the top prize at this year’s CultureMap Tastemaker Awards.

The Italian-inspired restaurant that took home both Restaurant of the Year and Chef of the Year in the CultureMap Tastemaker Awards makes it HRW debut with a compelling, three-course, $35 menu. To start, choose from either two small snack/salumi plates (arancini, eggplant dip, pork terrine, etc) or a more substantial appetizer or salad (chicken wings, fried cauliflower, grilled figs with prosciutto, etc).

Entree options include six different pizzas, five pastas — including the signature black pepper spaghetti — and three dishes (mussels, eggplant parmesan, or roast chicken). Finish with one of three desserts. Since Coltivare doesn’t take reservations, diners should plan to arrive either early or late to minimize their wait times. 3320 White Oak

Hugo Ortega’s Oaxacan restaurant in downtown’s Marriot Marquis hotel may not be the concept that won him a James Beard Award in May, but it has emerged as this year’s consensus best new restaurant. Xochi is serving both a $20 three-course lunch menu, three different $45 dinner menus (four courses each, wine or spirit pairings available for an additional $28), and a four course $35 vegetarian dinner menu (plus $27 optional wine pairing).

While all of the dinner menus look compelling, the menu de mezcal, which celebrates Oaxaca’s signature spirit with dishes that include both a peach tamal and dry-rubbed pork shank (along with a $27 spirit pairing) seems particularly must try. 1777 Walker

The recent addition of former Brennan’s chef Danny Trace has made Astros owner Jim Crane’s fine dining Italian restaurant a must visit destination. For HRW, Trace is serving a four-course, $45 dinner menu that blends Italian preparations with Texas ingredients. Start with a classic dish like burrata caprese salad or Italian wedding soup. Entree options include a spicy pasta fra diavolo with Texas shrimp, Hill Country quail saltimbocca, and an eight-ounce beef filet with garlic-whipped potatoes.

Save room for dessert. Executive pastry chef David Berg offers three options, but those who pass on his signature caramel apple galette are missing one of Houston’s most underrated treats. 1515 Texas

Osso & Kristalla
Potente’s more casual sister restaurant is serving all three HRW meals. Choices on the two-course $20 lunch menu include fried calamari, tomato soup, pulled pork pizzetta, and a cheeseburger made with a pork and beef patty. Brunch starts with a prosecco cocktail, continues with a small starter, and finishes with entrees like a blueberry bacon malted waffle, eggs pomodoro, and smoked salmon rillette toast.

Dinner starts with an amuse bouche of artichoke hummus. The three-course $35 menu starts with classic dishes like fried calamari, prosciutto and melon, or burrata caprese salad. Entree options include a mozzarella-stuffed meatball with rigatoni, Sicilian barbecue shrimp, and four cheese tortellini. Keep dessert classic with Italian cake, tiramisu, ricotta cheesecake, or berries with mascarpone cream. 1515 Texas

The casual half of The Pass & Provisions will serve both a two-course lunch and a three-course $35 dinner during HRW. Both menus features the same three starters (red oak salad, watermelon and tomato gazpacho, and spicy tuna sourdough toast) and overlapping main dishes like green pea cavatappi and smoked pork sausage, but the dinner menu includes an eggplant parmesan pizza and three dessert options that aren’t being served during lunch. 807 Taft

Le Colonial
This Vietnamese restaurant in River Oaks District has earned a reputation as a pleasant place to dine thanks to its beautiful decor and lively bar scene. The three-course $45 dinner menu offers diners the opportunity to sample Le Colonial’s lighter, fresher take on traditional Vietnamese dishes.

Start with steamed dumplings filled with chicken and mushrooms, summer rolls filled with shrimp and rice noodles, or crispy spring rolls packed with shrimp and pork. Entree options consist of a classic Bo Luc Lac cuisine as well as grilled salmon and asparagus or shrimp in green curry sauce. While both strawberry panna cotta and a chocolate mousse dome sound pretty good for dessert, a mango sundae should prove to be a tempting choice. 4444 Westheimer

Relish Restaurant & Bar
This River Oaks restaurant serves the sort of well-executed comfort food that someone could eat once a week or more. The three course $35 menu features some of chef Dustin Teague’s best dishes, including starters such as duck liver mousse and a daily crudo. Entree options consist of fried chicken, New Orleans-style BBQ shrimp, and an eight-ounce filet. Dessert choices keep things classic; the seasonal fruit crostata looks like the most appealing option. 2810 Westheimer

Brasserie du Parc
Already known for his acclaimed Galleria-area restaurant Etoile, chef Philippe Verpiand opened this restaurant that looks out onto Discovery Green in January. The three-course $35 dinner menu serves up classic French fare.

Of the five appetizer options, beef tartare, chicken liver pate, and chilled tomato soup are the most intriguing. While it would be hard to pass on steak frites as an entree, seafood risotto and beef bourguignon are compelling alternatives. Just leave room for one of the three dessert options; skipping sweets at a French restaurant is folly. 1440 Lamar

Cafe Azur
While Brasserie du Parc serves mostly traditional French cuisine, Cafe Azur offers a lighter, more seafood-oriented take on Gallic dishes. The two-course $20 lunch menu includes dishes such as fish soup, chickpea fries, veggie fettuccine, and mussels Marinere.

While at dinner, the three-course $35 steps things up a bit a taleggio cheese-topped butternut squash, squid ink risotto, and an eight-ounce flat iron steak. Dessert options consist of a strawberry cake, apple and jalapeno crumble, and a classic floating island. 4315 Montrose

Bayou & Bottle
Instead of traditional courses, this comfortable lobby bar in downtown’s Four Seasons Hotel offers a $35 menu that gives diners the opportunity to choose two dishes from a list of 13 possibilities. Some, like Korean BBQ wings, beef fat fries, and chips and queso are all clearly intended to be appetizers. Others, like steak frites, a cheeseburger, and pan-seared scallops, are more entree oriented.

Regardless of one’s choices, the friendly, accommodating staff won’t judge anyone for doubling down on either style of dish. Just leave room for one of the three dessert choices: chocolate brownie, PB&J sundae, or strawberry shortcake. 1300 Lamar

Eloise Nichols Grill & Liquors
Keep things Southern with this more upscale concept from Adair Kitchen owners Nicholas Adair and Katie Barnhart. The three-course $35 dinner menu starts with choices that include caramelized Brussels sprouts, spicy fried chicken nuggets, and venison sausage. Vegetarians will choose to dine on the “super foods” bowl, but omnivores will likely skip it in favor of choices that consist of shrimp and grits, a sweet tea-brined pork chop, and grilled half chicken.

Finish the meal with chocolate hazelnut cake, peach crisp or key lime pie. 2400 Mid Ln

Click the video below from our partners at ABC13 for more details.

The 10 Best Summer Salads to Try in Houston

The 10 Best Summer Salads to Try in Houston

The 10 Best Summer Salads to Try in Houston

Full Article: http://www.houstonpress.com/restaurants/houstons-best-salads-summer-2017-9594851

“I’ve been craving something green and delicious,” wrote my friend in a message requesting salad recommendations. Despite my general penchant for green and delicious things, I found myself stumped after recommending my beloved standby, Local Foods (the vegan Caesar is life-changing; the market vegetable salad is less novel but no less delectable). Where were all the good salads in Houston hiding? After just a little exploration, a wealth of green and delicious salads unearthed themselves from local restaurants. Bookmark these for refreshing summer eats.

The preserved lemon dressing on The Kristalla salad is incredibly addicting.

The preserved lemon dressing on The Kristalla salad is incredibly addicting.
Photo by Erika Kwee

The Kristalla from Osso & KristallaEven if you don’t like kale, the Kristalla may convert you based on the pure beauty of the stiff purple-green kale leaves that form the base of this salad. Studded with just enough juicy apple slices, salty, crisp chunks of pancetta, roasty pine nuts, and creamy ricotta that hides at the base of the salad, the flavors meld together under the expert touch of a light, perfectly acidic preserved lemon dressing. Add a protein like chicken, beef, shrimp or salmon for $6 for a delicious and well-balanced summer meal.



Big Changes Defined Houston’s Food Scene Last Month

Big Changes Defined Houston’s Food Scene Last Month

Big Changes Defined Houston’s Food Scene Last Month

Relocations, name changes and chef shifts mean more new ways to eat.

By Jakeisha Wilmore  6/15/2017 at 8:00am

Full Article: https://www.houstoniamag.com/articles/2017/6/15/big-changes-defined-the-food-scene-of-the-last-month-may-2017

Kitchen Overhauls

After eight years heading the kitchen of Brennan’s of Houston, chef Danny Trace takes on a new role as executive chef for Jim Crane’s downtown dual Italian restaurants —casual trattoria Osso & Kristalla and high-end Potente at 500 Crawford Street.

Houston’s Great Chef Shakeup — Major Changes at Three Top Restaurants

Houston’s Great Chef Shakeup — Major Changes at Three Top Restaurants


Houston’s Great Chef Shakeup — Major Changes at Three Top Restaurants Spur Musical Chairs – PaperCity

Where is Your Favorite Kitchen Star Now?

BY // 05.15.17

1 2 3 4

The name Danny Trace has been synonymous with Brennan’s of Houstonfor nearly 10 years. So when news broke that he would suddenly depart from the storied New Orleans-centric institution, many were left scratching their heads in confusion.

What would happen to Brennan’s kitchen without Trace, and what was next for the beloved chef who’s called the Midtown restaurant home since 2009?

Trace heads downtown to helm Houston Astros’ owner Jim Crane‘s duo of new restaurants — Potente, which specializes in fine Italian dining, and Osso & Kristalla, a casual cafe  — stationed inside developer Marvy Finger’s recently opened mid-rise project 500 Crawford.

“Growing up with an Italian grandmother and Cajun grandfather was truly a culinary experience, everyone looked forward to Sunday dinners,” Trace tells PaperCity. “From an early age until now, my whole world has been surrounded by the love of food. I am excited to bring her authentic Italian inspiration to Potente and Osso & Kristalla.”

Trace becomes the third chef to be put in charge of Crane’s new restaurants. The Astros owner originally tapped celebrity chef Bryan Caswell to manage the two kitchens before a mutual parting. Chef Michael Parker, head of culinary operations at Crane’s Floridian National Golf Club, stepped in shortly after.

“We are fortunate to have found someone with Chef Trace’s culinary training and breadth of experience,” Crane says. “He impressed us with his energy and talent and we look forward to seeing how the menus at Potente and Osso & Kristalla will continue to evolve and expand.”

Will the third chef be the charm for the mid-rise restaurants? Only time will tell, but we’re hoping that chef Trace’s culinary expertise and loyal following will breathe new life into both outposts.


As for the Brennan’s kitchen, former Killen’s Steakhouse executive chef Joe Cervantezwill fill the executive chef job, a fitting match considering Cervantez trained under Trace at Brennan’s before his two-year Killen’s stint.

Of course, Cervantez’ departure also leaves a vacancy in the Killen’s kitchen. Chef-owner Ronnie Killen replaces Cervantez with steakhouse veteran Steve Huang, whose resume includes 18 years with Del Frisco’s.

“Besides working at one of the best steakhouses in Texas, [Huang] has a corporate restaurant background, so consistency is also a strong asset that he will bring with him. And I’ve always loved his calamari  — we’ll have great calamari on our menu!” says Killen, who also addded, “I have nothing but the utmost respect for Joe and am looking forward to continuing to watch him grow within the Brennan’s family.”

But the barbecue maestro didn’t stop there with new team additions. Killen revealed today that former Bernadine’s and Hunky Dory culinary director Graham Laborde will also come on as operating chef for Killen’s Restaurants.

“I’m excited about working with Ronnie,” Labrode says. “What I immediately admire about him is how hard he works. If it’s making all the barbecue himself at NRG stadium or touching all the restaurants every single day… he’s been there.”

Longtime Brennan’s executive chef makes move to Astros owner’s new restaurants

Longtime Brennan’s executive chef makes move to Astros owner’s new restaurants

Longtime Brennan’s executive chef makes move to Astros owner’s new restaurants – CultureMap Houston

Chef Danny Trace from Brennan's

Danny Trace is the new executive chef at Potente and Osso & Kristalla. Courtesy photo

In the latest edition of “Where is the Houston chef now?” former longtime Brennan’s executive chef Danny Trace has been named the new executive chef at Astros owner Jim Crane’s two new downtown restaurants.

Trace will head the culinary operations at Potente and Osso & Kristalla, both located at 1515 Texas Avenue, near Minute Maid Park, where the American League West-leading Houston Astros play.

Trace replaces executive chef Michael Parker, who will continue to oversee Crane’s culinary operations in Florida. Parker was instrumental in hiring Trace, according to a press release about the change.

Trace left Brennan’s in late March after working for the Brennan family for 20 years, first at Commander’s Palace and then in Houston when the iconic restaurant reopened in 2010 after being damaged during Hurricane Ike.

Trace said he learned about cooking from his Italian grandmother and Cajun grandfather while growing up in Louisiana. “From étouffée to grand bowls of pasta, the marriage of these traditional dishes and family experiences is the very reason I am a chef. I look forward to returning to my Italian roots at Potente and Osso & Kristalla,” Trace said in the release.

His hiring caps a flurry of restaurant changes in Houston. Earlier this week​ former Killen’s Steakhouse executive chef Joe Cervantez was named the new executive chef at Brennan’s to fill the role vacated by Trace. Prior to joining Killen’s, Cervantez worked at Brennan’s under Trace.

Killen’s Steakhouse chef-owner Ronnie Killen hired Steve Haug, recently of Jade Hospitality (Grazia Italian Kitchen, Peska) to replace Cervantez in the lead role at his popular Pearland restaurant.

Houston Astros owner’s downtown Italian eateries land former Brennan’s chef

Houston Astros owner’s downtown Italian eateries land former Brennan’s chef

Houston Astros owner’s downtown Italian eateries land former Brennan’s chef – Houston Business Journal

 A new chef is leading the kitchens at Potente and Osso & Kristalla in downtown Houston.

Danny Trace, former executive chef at Brennan’s of Houston, has taken over as executive chef at the Italian restaurants, according to a press release. Earlier this year, Houston Astros owner Jim Crane opened the restaurants at 1515 Texas Ave., on the ground floor of The Finger Cos.’ new 500 Crawford apartment complex across from Minute Maid Park.

At the time, Crane’s personal chef, Michael Parker, was named executive chef for the restaurants’ culinary team. Micah Rideout was named chef de cuisine, and David Berg was named executive pastry chef. Rideout and Berg remain in place, a spokeswoman confirmed.

Parker played an integral role in hiring Trace and continues to oversee Crane’s culinary operations in Florida.

“I am excited to have Chef Trace in Houston to oversee the culinary operations at Potente and Osso & Kristalla,” Parker said in the release. “A remarkably talented chef, I know that he will embrace and elevate what we have created at both concepts.”

Bryan Caswell was originally attached to the concepts, but he mutually split with Crane and the eateries in November to pursue new projects with his company, Bryan Caswell Concepts. Bill Floyd remains general manager for both restaurants.

Trace left his position as executive chef of Brennan’s on March 31. He had worked in Brennan-family restaurants for two decades and was hired to his latest position in 2009.

Earlier this week, Brennan’s announced it hired Joe Cervantez, the former executive chef of Killen’s Steakhouse, as its top chef. On the same day, Killen’s also announced it hired Steve Haug, most recently of Peska Prime Steaks & Seafood and Grazia Italian Kitchen, to replace Cervantez.

Growing up in Louisiana, Trace learned about cooking from his Italian grandmother and Cajun grandfather.

“The most memorable meals for me are of my grandparents in the kitchen. My grandmother’s family was from Milan and Naples and my grandfather was from Thibodaux, Louisiana,” Trace said in the release. “From étouffée to grand bowls of pasta, the marriage of these traditional dishes and family experiences is the very reason I am a chef. I look forward to returning to my Italian roots at Potente and Osso & Kristalla.”

Olivia Pulsinelli is the senior web editor for the Houston Business Journal’s award-winning website. Follow her on Twitter for more.

Danny Trace joins team at Potente and Osso & Kristalla

Danny Trace joins team at Potente and Osso & Kristalla

Danny Trace joins team at Potente and Osso & Kristalla – Houston Chronicle

The chef shuffle game has been in active play lately. This week saw the announcement that Killen’s Steakhouse executive chef Joe Cervantez would return to Brennan’s of Houston (where he was once sous chef) as the iconic restaurant’s executive chef. Killen’s then announced that chef Steve Haug would join the popular steakhouse’s team to lead kitchen operations as executive chef, replacing Cervantez. Haug left work at the rebranded Peska Seafood & Prime Steaks (it will soon be renamed again as PesKarne) and before that with Grazia Italian Kitchen and a much longer affiliation with Del Frisco’s steakhouse group.

And now comes the biggest shuffle of the week: Danny Trace, former executive chef at Brennan’s of Houston, will oversee kitchen operations at downtown newcomer Potente and its sister restaurant Osso & Kristalla.

The news answers a long-standing concerned by many local foodies about Trace after Brennan’s announced on March 31that it was parting ways with its longtime executive chef. Trace was tapped from within the Commander’s Palace family of restaurants in October 2009 to lead the reopening of Brennan’s of Houston after it was destroyed by fire during Hurricane Ike.

Trace has been mum since leaving Brennan’s, leaving many to wonder what was to become of one of the city’s most popular and visible chefs.

Today Trace announced he is taking over at Astro’s owner Jim Crane’s luxe Italian restaurant, Potente, and its sister outpost, the casual trattoria Osso & Kristalla, at 1515 Texas. Both restaurants opened in February. Trace takes over for opening chef Michael Parker, Crane’s personal chef who also serves as executive chef at the Floridian National Golf Club which Crane owns. The news of Trace’s hire was confirmed by Bill Floyd, general manager for both restaurants.

“It feels right. I’m very excited,” Trace said Thursday. “I’m looking forward to working with Jim Crane and Bill Floyd.”

And, he said, for putting his own stamp on Potente’s upscale Italian menu. Trace said he that within weeks there will be a new Potente menu that will embrace Italian cuisine but with a nod to Houston – he plans to use local seafood and local produce as much as possible.

It’s a cuisine, he said, that’s familiar and comfortable for him. “I’ve always been influenced by Italian,” he said. “It’s part of Creole and what I’ve been doing for the past 20 years.”

When Trace left Brennan’s, the restaurant’s owner, Alex Brennan-Martin, said it was on good terms. Brennan-Martin went on to praise Trace as a valued member of the Commander’s Palace family and wished him luck. On Thursday Trace said he feels the same affection for the restaurant family he left: “God bless the Brennan’s family. I’ve learned so much from them. They teach you how to be a restaurateur, which is so much more than just cooking.”

Trace said that two original members of the Potente/Osso & Kristalla team remain in place: Micah Rideout as chef de cuisine, and David Berg as executive pastry chef.

Trace’s work at Potente and Osso & Kristalla begins immediately.

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Where to dine tonight, tomorrow, this weekend

Now open in the swanky 500 Crawford building, Osso + Kristalla serves up a full day’s worth of modern Italian fare. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, diners can dig into Italian pastries, wood-fired pizzas, pastas, and salads. Pair your selection (perhaps truffle or lobster risotto?) with a glass of wine from the restaurant’s lengthy list.