With names like Balls Out Burger and Poitín, it’s clear restaurateur Ian Tucker likes catchy titles for his eateries—ice breakers, if you will. For his newest venture, the Irish expat prepared for mispronunciations by spelling out the name phonetically on the menu: PUUT-cheen. It’s named after a centuries-old clear distilled beverage born from Irish moonshine—a notoriously potent spirit that you’ll find blended into cocktails at this Sawyer Yards newcomer.
The restaurant name also reflects the bold direction of the eclectic menu designed to appeal to immigrant cultures in Houston, spanning the globe from Asia to South America. It’s ambitious, indeed, but exec-chef Dominick Lee, formerly with Kiran’s, keeps the menu concise and sources quality local ingredients to create seasonal, thought-provoking dishes. “Poitín celebrates the diversity of Houston with its menu, cocktail program and its overall unpretentious atmosphere,” says Tucker, a 16-year veteran of the restaurant biz back in his native Dublin.
Pull up a chair at the curved 28-foot bar, which is reminiscent of a classic New York City hotel, for unique noshes like Pick Ya Flavor crunchy pork skins or the terrific hummus drizzled with parsley oil and garnished with savory braised lamb. Wash it down with a cold craft beer or a sustainable wine curated by sommelier Shannon Nöelle Crow, a 13 Celsius alum. A large bar, not to mention the etymology of that name, call for a high-level cocktail program, and this all-female team of veterans, including Bar director Christa Havican and Beverage Director Sarah Cuneo, are filling up gorgeous stemware with inventive libations to complement the cross-cultural menu. The smoked (literally smoking) old-fashioned, Key lime pie martini (an Irish invention crowned in meringue), and the P&T, a riff on a gin and tonic starring poitín, already have a cult following.