When Olivette opened in 2000 in The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa, it was right on trend. Modern Mediterranean was hot. Chefs were showcasing olive oil, fresh fish and light sauces as a nod to healthful dining. Fast-forward 10 years and new restaurants like Tribute, replacing Olivette, find their calling based on terroir. “Our concept is Tex-Lex, a collection of flavors from Texas, Louisiana and Mexico—the roots of the city’s culinary history,” says executive chef Neal Cox, an eight-year veteran of the hotel.
Houstonians and international visitors frequenting the beloved inn are wowed by the luxurious $3 million renovation of the restaurant, lounge, pre-function Hearth Room and intimate wine room by Gensler. Guests are greeted by dazzling back-lit glass wine lockers. Wood floors complement the dining room’s rustic ceiling beams, accented by antique gold mirrors, deep amber leather chairs and a modern light sculpture of metallic tree branches glowing with crystals. The natural touches echo beautiful views of wooded lawns from new wall-to-wall windows.
While the mesmerizing setting will relax even the most stressed urbanite, the food will make you sit up and take notice. Big, spicy, multilayered dishes hit all the right notes thanks to the kitchen dream team. “Our chefs hail from each emphasized culinary region: Mexican flavors from sous-chef Juan Tuch, Louisiana from chef de cuisine Jeff Boudreaux and Texas influences from me,” says Cox.