Houston Restaurant Weeks Must-Try Menus

Houston Restaurant Weeks Must-Try Menus

Visit Houston, by Mai Pham
Full Article: https://www.visithoustontexas.com/culinary-tours/culinary-blog/post/houston-restaurant-weeks-must-try-dinner-menus/

For restaurant lovers, there is no better time in Houston than August thanks to Houston Restaurant Weeks (HRW). The single largest fundraiser for the Houston Food Bank, it’s the month-long event during which eating out will actually help to feed the hungry. For each $20 lunch or brunch HRW menu sold, participating restaurants will donate $3 (enough for 9 meals) to the Houston Food Bank. Each $35 HRW dinner will result in a $5 donation (enough for 15 meals), and each $45 dinner will result in a $7 donation (enough for 21 meals).

Since its inception in 2003, Houston Restaurant Weeks has raised more than $12.2 million dollars. This year, HRW lasts from August 1 through September 3, 2018, with more than 250 of Houston’s top restaurants participating. Ready to eat out for a great cause? Here are seven tables to book for HRW 2018:

Potente HRW

Looking for a chance to dine in one of Houston’s most beautiful dining rooms for steal? Named Eater Houston’s Most Stunning Restaurant of 2017, Potente Houston’s $45 HRW Italian fine dining dinner menu offers a choice of four sumptuous starters, four entrees, and three desserts by executive chef Danny Trace. Start with the Polpetti Arrostiti, a charred octopus dish with squid ink fettuccine and fava bean, followed by a fire-roasted Branzino served in lobster broth, finishing off with a delightful Delizia al Cioccolato hazelnut chocolate dome.

The menu also offers some fancy upgrade options. A $5 supplement lets you enjoy a diver scallop appetizer, and an $8 supplement gets you an 8-ounce Filetto di Manzo beef filet entree. The restaurant’s signature Spaghetti al Tartufo Nero, a cacio e pepe pasta finished at the table side with freshly shaved truffles, is also worth the splurge for a supplement of $12. *Photo by Mai Pham

Devouring Houston

Devouring Houston

Houston CityBook – Winter 2018

Full Article: http://www.houstoncitybook.com/devouring-houston-2/

Every H-Town foodie knows that the Westheimer Curve in Montrose has risen to national notoriety for its superstar chefs, cool coffeeshops, bustling bakeries and trendy bar-next-door vibe. But the edible enclave is by no means the city’s only district vying for gastronomic greatness. As new and reimagined restaurants and nightspots tantalize tastebuds and tempt tipplers all over town, here’s your neighborhood-by-neighborhood guide to the best of Houston dining now. 

The signature Potente Gold cocktail, with whiskey, Cointreau, Kahlua and orange bitters

The signature Potente Gold cocktail, with whiskey, Cointreau, Kahlua and orange bitters


The hoopla may be dying down at Minute Maid Park after the Astros’ historic World Series win, but things are just getting started at team owner Jim Crane’s dual-concept restaurants helmed by localebrity chef Danny Trace across the street. At Potente (1515 Texas Ave.), plates like the handmade pappardelle pasta with roasted wild boar come with the option of tableside truffle service, and baguettes and pastries are made in house by pastry chef David Berg. A supremely sexy cocktail lounge serves as a festive gathering area with a happy hour to boot. Next door, Osso & Kristalla boasts a less formal approach to Italian cuisine with its breakfast, lunch and dinner menus featuring wood-fired pizzas, sandwiches and shared plates in a sceney but casual indoor and outdoor setting.

The 14 best new restaurants of 2017 are the Riel deal

The 14 best new restaurants of 2017 are the Riel deal

The 14 best new restaurants of 2017 are the Riel deal

FullArticle: http://houston.culturemap.com/news/restaurants-bars/12-19-17-best-new-restaurants-of-2017-riel-aqui-xochi-star-fish-yauatcha/#slide=4

What a year it’s been for Houston restaurants. The wave of post-Harvey closings has been sad, but, by any measure, it’s been an incredible time to be an eater in Houston.

Just consider the sheer amount of culinary talent that launched new concepts this year. The roster includes four James Beard Best Chef Southwest award winners — Hugo Ortega (Xochi), Paul Qui (Aqui), Chris Shepherd (One Fifth), and Justin Yu (Better Luck Tomorrow and Theodore Rex) — along with a Food & Wine Best New Chef winner in Bryan Caswell (Oxbow 7) and an Eater Young Gun in Ryan Lachaine (Riel).

I recognize that the assault charges pending against Qui make choosing to include Aqui controversial, especially in light of the current climate of sexual harassment allegations against many public figures. The allegations are disturbing, and, if convicted, the chef deserves to suffer what consequences the law dictates.

However, I consider it my job to inform CultureMap readers about new restaurants and offer an opinion about them as places to dine. I have friends who will never set foot in Aqui, and I respect their decision.

That aside, from the perspective of the culinary talent involved in this year’s group of openings, 2017 has been Houston’s best year for new restaurants since 2012, which is when Underbelly, Oxheart, The Pass & Provisions, Uchi, Roost, and Triniti all made a splash (I know Roost and Triniti debuted in December 2011, don’t @ me).

What makes this year even more intriguing than 2012 is that the trend of out of town restaurant groups seeking opportunity has only become more pronounced. Yauatcha, Roka Akor, Chengdu Taste, 85°C Bakery Cafe, Doris Metropolitan, Ramen Tatsu-ya, and Tacodeli have all made positive contributions to Houston’s dining scene.

While all of these developments would have been enough to cement this year’s status as a very good for one dining, it still doesn’t include chefs like Travis Lenig (Field & Tides), Manuel Pucha (Maison Pucha Bistro), and Jason Vaughan (Nancy’s Hustle) who are finally getting the chance to step out on their own. This year also featured well-executed new concepts from established restaurant groups like Cherry Pie Hospitality (Star Fish), Pappas Restaurants (Delta Blues Smokehouse), and Goode Company (Kitchen & Cantina). In addition, places like The Branch, Better Luck Tomorrow, Presidio, and Heights Bier Garten are redefining the boundary between bars and restaurants.

With so many choices to consider, ranking the year’s best new restaurants comes down to a mix of a professional assessment of a restaurant’s overall quality — has it raised the game for other restaurants? Is it innovative? Is it consistent? — with some personal opinions about desirability — i.e., how quickly do I want to eat there again? What feedback am I hearing from friends about their experiences?

Keeping this list to 14 made for some difficult choices. While I’ve really enjoyed burgers and tots at FM Kitchen & Bar, it doesn’t seem quite special enough to make this list. Newly-opened establishments like Emmaline and Doris Metropolitan might have earned a spot if I’d had more time to evaluate them. Restaurants like Kiran’s and Kitchen 713 that moved to new spaces and elevated what they do probably deserve consideration, but I chose to select places that opened their doors for the first time in 2017.

Although I recognize that poke is this year’s hottest trend, most of the restaurants seem too similar to elevate one over the others. My apologies to those who have strong feelings about the merits of SeaSide Poke versus Pokeology versus Pokeworks.

With that in mind, here’s my list of this year’s best new restaurants. Feel free to head to the comments, Facebook, or reddit to call me an idiot.

As he demonstrated with the hiring of Jeff Luhnow and A.J. Hinch, Jim Crane knows how to identify talented people to fill important leadership roles. When it came time to staff his two Italian restaurants, casual Osso & Kristalla and fine dining Potente, Crane found similar talent in veteran restaurateur Bill Floyd and executive chef Danny Trace.

Trace brought the same respect for local ingredients he demonstrated at Brennan’s to Potente, and he also showed a flair for Italian cooking that he never got to demonstrate at the Midtown institution. From tuna crudo with shaved foie gras to housemade spaghetti with black truffle, Potente’s cuisine consistently exceeds expectations. The talented front of house staff lends a sense of occasion to any meal, which is so important at Potente’s fine dining price point. Besides, you never know when Crane will drop by to show off the World Series trophy.
1515 Texas Ave.

The March of Dimes Signature Chefs Gala 2017 Raises $400K

The March of Dimes Signature Chefs Gala 2017 Raises $400K

Beautiful place settings set the stage for a night of culinary indulgence.

Beautiful place settings set the stage for a night of culinary indulgence.
Photo by Mai Pham

The March of Dimes Signature Chefs Gala 2017 Raises $400K – HoustonPress

A 20th Anniversary event calls for glitter and glam. It calls free flowing libations, scrumptious cuisine and opulent surroundings. And when we look back on 2017’s Signature Chefs Gala — a culinary fundraiser for the Houston-area March of Dimes that has raised more than $8 million towards the charity’s research efforts to prevent premature births over the last 20 years — it was indeed all that and then some.

During the seated portion of the event, white-gloved servers provided synchronized service of spaghetti with shaved truffles by Danny Trace of Potente, and spiced lamb chops with kale and sweet potato gnocchi by Jackson & Co. while the speakers introduced the honorees and a live auction took place for luxury packages like a South African Safari for three, or a 16-person steak lesson and steak tasting by chef Robert del Grande of Cafe Annie.

The night ended on a sweet note with mini bundt cakes by Nothing But Bundt and coffee and doughnuts by Morningstar.

Thanks to the generous donations made that evening, the Signature Chefs Gala raised more than $400k for the March of Dimes.

Houston’s Best New Restaurants of 2017

Houston’s Best New Restaurants of 2017



Published On 11/13/2017



The only Italian steakhouse you’ll need to know in Houston
With a piping hot location across from Minute Maid Park, this highly-anticipated concept from Astros owner Jim Crane hit a grand slam (!) when it nabbed chef Danny Trace (of Brennan’s fame) to helm the kitchen this spring. Potente oozes sophistication, with a dark and luxe interior that evokes a modern villa, top-notch service and superb wines, and high-end Italian steakhouse fare that pays respect to local ingredients. Dine on a beautiful branzino hit with burgundy grapes and romanesco; impossibly silky burrata caprese, dressed up with things like confit cherry tomato and smoked sea salt; and cacio e pepe upped with black truffles shaved tableside.

Full Article: https://www.thrillist.com/eat/houston/best-new-restaurants-houston-2017

Chef in the middle of World Series action, new restaurants are hot podcast topics

Chef in the middle of World Series action, new restaurants are hot podcast topics

Chef in the middle of World Series action, new restaurants are hot podcast topics

Danny Trace Potente chef

Danny Trace is this week’s guest on “What’s Eric Eating.” Courtesy photo
Tyson Cole and Aaron Franklin have teamed up to open Loro in Austin. Photo by Logan Crable

On this week’s episode of “What’s Eric Eating,” chef Danny Trace joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss his new role overseeing both Potente and Osso & Kristalla, the fine dining and casual Italian restaurants from Astros owner Jim Crane and Reef partner Bill Floyd. After opening quietly shortly before the Super Bowl, the two establishments have garnered more attention thanks to both their proximity to Minute Maid Park and the food Trace is serving.


Trace discusses the food he’s serving at Potente as an Italian-style evolution of the Creole food he became known for during his long stint as the executive chef at Brennan’s of Houston.

“To me, I’m continuing to do the same things I’ve done and put my stamp on and am known for,” Trace says. “I’m using seasonal products. I’m using all the same purveyors and farmers and fishermen. It’s just more Italian-influened, which, Creole and Italian go hand-in-hand. It’s kind of easy for me.”

Trace also discusses what its been like to be in the middle of the World Series crowds, how he feels about working for Jim Crane, and what he’s done to make Osso & Kristalla appealing to diners.

Prior to the interview, local restaurant consultant Nathan Ketcham joins Sandler to discuss the news of the week. The two discuss Cafe Annie’s new, steak-oriented direction, the official announcement that Feges BBQ is coming to Greenway Plaza in 2018, and note news out of Austin that James Beard Award winners Tyson Cole (Uchi) and Aaron Franklin (Franklin Barbecue) have teamed up on Loro, a new barbecue concept that will blend both chefs’ skills.

In the restaurant of the week segment, Ketcham and Sandler discuss their visit to Pokeworks, the rapidly expanding New York City-based chain that opened its first Houston location near the Heights. Sandler also shares his experience trying the omakase at Kukuri; the new sushi restaurant on Washington Avenue is lead by chef Shimao Ishikawa, who comes to Houston from New York City’s Michelin-starred Jewel Bako.

The Astros and Caviar Go Together Like Carlos Correa and Daniella Rodriguez –  It’s Gourmet Foodie Heaven

The Astros and Caviar Go Together Like Carlos Correa and Daniella Rodriguez – It’s Gourmet Foodie Heaven


The Astros and Caviar Go Together Like Carlos Correa and Daniella Rodriguez

It’s Gourmet Foodie Heaven


With World Series celebrations in order, timing could not be better for a night of caviar, truffles, bubbly and Belvedere — to benefit the Astros Foundationand the Astros Harvey Relief Fund. The “Evening of Indulgence & Extravagance” takes place Tuesday, November 7, at Potente, which happens to be Astros owner Jim Crane‘s experiment as restaurateur.

DR Delicacy and Potente chef Danny Trace are teaming up for the six-course dinner extravaganza with the former providing the caviar and truffles and the latter delivering on a menu worthy of a World Series victory celebration. Moet & Chandon and Dom Perignon will be icing down the champagne at the restaurant that is within cork-popping distance of Minute Maid Park, home to the 2017 World Series champions.

Reservations, $200 per person, are available here. For that tariff, diners will taste four different caviars, Texas Wagyu beef, black truffle spaghetti, foie gras mousse, foie gras torchon, and more.

Tis the season for baseball and truffles, a happy coincidence that DR Delicacy is giddily embracing as the first direct importer of fresh black and white truffles in the southern U.S. Add to the company’s luxury larder caviars, foie gras, edible gold and the like.

The importer of gourmet foods has also teamed up with UberEATS to offer home or office delivery of all manner of delicacies including Russian and French blinis to pair with DR/Delicacy’s Royal Osetra caviar, duck foie gras torchons, or smoked salmon. It’s a holiday thing, available within a six-mile radius of the company’s headquarters at 4120 Directors Row, Suite A, 77092. That includes parts of Tanglewood and Memorial. The service is available via the UberEATS app on Thursday and Friday, 9 am to 3 pm. Saturday and evening hours are planned.

Houston gourmands can now get caviar and truffles through UberEATS

Houston gourmands can now get caviar and truffles through UberEATS

Houston gourmands can now get caviar and truffles through UberEATS

Published 10:03 am, Thursday, November 2, 2017

Photo: DR Delicacy

Most UberEATS users know they can their favorite wings, burgers, nachos and lo mein delivered at the touch of a fingertip. But it’s not an app traditionally associated with bringing caviar, fresh white truffles, and foie gras to your door.

Houston’s DR Delicacy has partnered with UberEATS to change that. The luxury food purveyor that specializes imported gourmet food items is working with UberEATS to begin delivery of posh foodstuffs including fresh artisan pasta, sauces, truffle products, smoked salmon and caviar. For now the delivery is available only on Thursday, Friday and Saturday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. (presumably that gives you plenty of time to fetch the French champagne and Russian vodka before your osetra-eating guests arrive). Evening delivery hours are coming soon, though; and the delivery area is currently a six-mile radius from DR Delicacy’s headquarters near the 610/290 split.

“I know there are days that many of us prefer to entertain friends and family at home,” said DR Delicacy founder and CEO Diane Roederer. “To be able to just tap the app and have caviar and truffles delivered to your door seems like an amazing idea. It also takes last minute stress out of party planning.”

The delicacies also can be sent as holiday gifts, she added.

Roederer, who has made a name for herself in Houston as a specialty food importer specializing in black and white truffles from Spain, has steadily built her luxury food offerings since establishing in 2014.

For the UberEATS venture, DR Delicacy rolls out the red carpet. The fish roe offerings range from smoked trout roe ($10 for 1 ounce) to osetra caviar ($110 for 1 ounce); Russian or French blini for $10. Other delectables: foie gras torchon, $80; fresh white truffles for $150 per ounce; fresh black truffles for $45 per ounce; artisan pastas for $7.99; fresh lobster ravioli for $13.99; fresh pesto or Italian marinara for $10.99; and truffle oil for $25.98. And in case you need a dab of crème fraiche for your blini, or misplaced your truffle slicer, they have that too.

Speaking of caviar, DR Delicacy and Potente restaurant in downtown Houston are collaborating an evening of culinary extravagance on Tuesday, Nov. 7 from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Called La Nuit du Caviar, the dinner from chef Danny Trace will feature variety of caviar presentations, dishes such as pork belly with pumpkin risotto, Texas wagyu carpaccio, foie gras mousse with truffled toast, pasta with truffles, and foie gras torchon with toasted brioche. And plenty of champagne from Moet et Chandon and Dom Perignon; vodka from Belvedere.

Tickets are $200 per person with proceeds going to the Astros Foundation and the Astros Harvey Relief Fund.

Glam Slam

Glam Slam

Glam Slam – Houston CityBook

November 2017

Full Article: http://www.houstoncitybook.com/glam-slam/


Glam Slam

With their posh new Potente, an elegant eatery near the ballpark, top-tier chef Danny Trace and Astros-owner-turned-restaurateur Jim Crane have hit a haute homerun. 

There haven’t been many quiet evenings at the corner of Texas and Crawford outside Minute Maid Park since the Astros started their impressive playoff run — and for one Houston restaurateur, the winning spirit is doubly consequential.

“I wanted our fans to be able to come to Downtown and spend time before and after ballgames,” says Astros owner Jim Crane. Earlier this year, Crane opened Italian fine-dining destination Potente and adjacent fast-casual pizza bar Osso & Kristalla in order to “provide that experience right across from Minute Maid Park.” As of press time, the Astros are ACLS-bound and the city is orange with excitement — no place more than at Crane’s very own restaurants, where the celebratory mood is infused into a menu of perfectly plated pastas and simple but well executed cocktails.

  • Lambchops with seasonal veggies
    Lambchops with seasonal veggies

Polished and sophisticated, Potente presents upscale Italian cuisine in an elegant space whose lavishness is hidden from the crowds of ballpark visitors, with its unassuming exterior and simple entryway. The grandiose dining room, with chandeliers and fancy wingback chairs custom designed by Gensler, and equally stunning cocktail bar serve as picture-perfect backdrops for enjoying tasty food from a familiar name.

Over the summer, Brennan’s of Houston alum Danny Trace was named exec chef of both restaurants. The multi-faceted chef says he draws inspiration from what is made available to him by the farmers, fisherman and restaurant vendors that he’s gotten to know over the years. “Right now, it’s hunting season, so to go hand-in-hand with the smell of gun powder, we have prosciutto-and fig-stuffed Hill Country quail on the menu,” he laughs. And as the mercury drops, even if ever-so-slightly, Trace’s fall dishes take on a heartier approach. Think duck confit cassoulet with wild boar and lamb sausage. And he sprinkles the menu with “gels, dehydrated powders, and tricky tuiles as garnitures and accents,” so bring your foodie dictionary.

But for the ultimate pep in your pasta? Hand-pick your own black burgundy truffles, and have them shaved tableside atop the Tartufo di Nero, which is handmade spaghetti with Kampot pepper, pecorino Romano and truffle sauce.

In the way of something more complex, Trace says the duck and rabbit ravioli takes three days to produce: First, pasta is rolled into sheets, stuffed and crowned with a refined Cacciatore sauce that begins with stock made from the duck and rabbit bones. The dish is garnished with the crispy julienne of emerald green collards, brown butter powder and dehydrated charred onion. “This to me brings a respectful nod and appreciation to the animals and the changing of season,” says Trace.

For many, the true test of fine dining is the dessert menu, and Trace guarantees that Potente’s focus is “from start to finish.” Executive Pastry Chef David Berg serves ones like the lemon zabaione — a custardy delight with orange shortbread and crispy meringue — and the H-Town Dream cake, made with Chambord-infused devil’s food cake paired with cool vanilla bean gelato.

On any given evening, Trace and the rest of the team can be seen working the room at Potente — even slinging pizzas at Osso & Kristalla for young Astros fans — bearing a strong sense of pride for the city on their shoulders, today more than ever before. “At the restaurant,” says Trace, “we have adopted [Crane’s] motto for the Houston Astros: ‘Earn It.’ We strive to earn the title of the best restaurant in Houston, period.”

Houston Food News Bites: Winter Truffle Season Is Here

Houston Food News Bites: Winter Truffle Season Is Here

Houston Food News Bites: Winter Truffle Season Is Here

Houston Food Finder – POSTED: OCTOBER 31, 2017 AT 11:41 AM   /   BY 

La Nuit du Caviar

November 7

DR|Delicacy and Potente Present La Nuit du Caviar, 1515 Texas: Ease into the holiday season with an evening of indulgence and extravagance benefitting The Astros Foundation and The Astros Harvey Relief Fund on November 7 from 6:30 to 10 p.m. at Potente. The La Nuit du Caviar event features domestic and imported caviars, autumn truffles from France and Italy, Champagne provided by Moët & Chandon, Dom Pérignon, vodka provided by Belvedere, and a special menu crafted by Danny Trace, executive chef at Potente. Tickets are $200 per person and may be purchased through Eventbrite.