Restaurant Buzz

Houston Dining News for January

Laurann Claridge
January 01, 2014

Tony Vallone has reprised his Vallone Steakhouse, but this time the players and locale are different. Situated at the Gateway at Memorial City on Gessner, this reinterpretation serves dry- and wet-aged steaks and all the go-withs crafted by chef Grant Gordon (a Tony’s alum). Gordon, GM Scott Sulma and Vallone are partners in the new venture and together oversee the 12,000-square-foot space designed by Shafik RifaatSeasons 52 and The Capital Grille have opened at CityCentre. Houston-based Chris Fannin, formerly of The Strip House and Philippe, serves as managing partner at The Capital Grille, with Todd Williamson as exec chef … James Beard Award-winning chef Bradley Ogden and his protégé son, Bryan, have opened a branch of their fast-casual chicken concept Funky Chicken in the Houston Heights. Look for American comfort food with — no surprise — all kinds of chicken dishes taking center stage … As we go to press, Tracy Vaught and chef Hugo Ortega were poised to open their long-awaited new concept Caracol in the BBVA building on Post Oak. We’ll be heading there as soon as the doors open to give you details … This month, Etoile chef/owner Philippe Verpiand will begin serving his own house-made ice cream. Why is this big news? Because this is the only item that Etoile’s chefs didn’t make themselves. Now they can brag that 100 percent of everything they serve chez Etoile is made on premises … This month at Nara, chef/owner Donald Chang debuts a 10-person chef table serving a six-course tasting menu ($85 per person; seatings at 6:30 and 8:30 pm) that will change every two weeks. He has also just opened the semi-private Korean Grill Room at Nara, including communal tables built with authentic yakiniku grills … Piatto Ristorante, John M. Carrabba’s Italian concept, is opening a third incarnation in the Heights on Studewood.