Tongue Cut Sparrow
310 Main St., 713.321.8242
Thirsty for something sleek and new? Hit bar maven Bobby Heugel’s latest cocktail lounge is named after a Japanese fable. The 25-seat space, located right above the Pastry War, opened quietly pre-Super Bowl and features classic cocktails, new drinks, and beer and wine. Top-notch glassware is chilled to perfection and garnished with trinkets and accoutrements from Japan. Anticipate polished service, a special sound system, and comp bar snacks.
420 Main St., 713.227.0531
Restaurateur Benjy Levit opened his fourth outpost late January in the historic art deco building that was once Byrd’s Department Store. The lofty, modern teal and turquoise space, designed by Michael Hsu Architecture, has bar stools that look like corks and a raw bar dispensing oyster shooters, ceviches and campechana. Drink up new cocktail creations, Texas wines, local beers, cold-brew coffee on tap and locally made kombucha tea.
The Pearl, The Sam Houston Hotel
1117 Prairie St., 832.200.8800
The Sam’s poshly redesigned resto is a knockout space by Candice Schiller of H3D, featuring knotted cedar walls, dangling oyster shell lamps and caramel-colored tufted sofas. Executive chef Chris Loftis, former chef de cuisine at Killen’s Steakhouse, heads the team with a pearl of a menu utilizing Gulf seafood riches and meaty options. Selections are vast and deeply flavored with inventive touches—think grouper over curried corn and lentils; scallop carbonara; and fall-apart Dr Pepper-glazed short ribs with Brussels sprouts and spaetzle.
1515 Texas St., 713.237.1515
Astros owner Jim Crane’s new high-end concept is fashioned with plush high-back chairs, dramatic lighting and an eight-seat wine table accessed via the bustling kitchen. Executive chef Michael Parker, Crane’s personal chef, crafts modern Italian plates like tuna crudo with foie gras, whole branzino with crabmeat and cauliflower, and rack of lamb with sausage and bean fagiolini. Mangia!