Oxheart is a joint project from from chef Justin Yu, pastry chef Karen Man and sommelier/GM Justin Vann. This progressive restaurant presents three prix-fixe menus that change often. Guests might encounter dishes such as braised young goat with spices, boiled peanuts, sweet peppers and black garlic. Oxheart, 1302 Nance St., Houston, TX 77002, 832-830-8592.
Brio Tuscan Grille has opened a location in River Oaks in the former Pesce space. The Italian restaurant offers generous portions of seafood, steaks and chops; made-from-scratch pastas; flatbreads and a wide assortment of desserts. A $5 martini night occurs every Wednesday in the bar. For more information, visit www.BrioItalian.com. Brio Tuscan Grille, 3029 Kirby Dr., Houston, TX 77098, 713-528-8200.
German Mosquera, the chef/owner of Roots Bistro, now has his own juice bar next door. This summer, Mosquera opened Roots Juice Bar at 504 Westheimer Road. “Roots Juice was a natural extension of the bistro and shares our commitment to working with the best of farm fresh ingredients that are locally sourced,” Mosquera says. “Our goal was to create a fun and casual, coffee shop-like environment that would serve both grab-and-go needs and as a gathering place in the Montrose area.” Besides fresh fruit and vegetable juices, Roots Juice offers seasonal breakfast and lunch items that are vegetarian and often gluten-free. Roots Juice Bar, 507 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77006, 713-524-1000.
BB's Café recently opened its fourth Houston location in Greenway Plaza. BB's serves New Orleans food with a Texas influence, such as their signature New Orleans style po' boys overstuffed with filling. The restaurant is open late and is available for dine-in, delivery, takeout and catering. BB’s Café, 3139 Richmond Ave., Houston, TX 77098, 713-807-1300.
Changes at T'afia
Big changes at Top Chef Masters’ Monica Pope’s T’afia restaurant in Midtown. She locked the doors August 1 but says she plans to reopen August 14 with a new concept. No word on if she’s planning a name change --- or just what the changes will be --- but celebrity chef Pope has been a staple on the farm-to-fork scene in Houston for decades, supporting local growers and producers and wowing diners at the former Boulevard Bistro and at T’afia since it opened ten years ago. T'afia, 3701 Travis St., Houston, TX 77002, 713-524-6922.
Sundown at The Grove
One of the best views in town can be seen from the air-conditioned rooftop deck at The Grove, chef Robert Del Grande’s green restaurant in the middle of downtown’s Discovery Green park. And now, through September 26, you can enjoy Sundown at The Grove. Every Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. you can enjoy live music, specialty cocktails and complimentary light bites, not to mention a gorgeous view of the sunset against Houston’s downtown skyline. The Grove, 1611 Lamar St., Houston, TX 77010, 713-337-7321.
Brooklyn Athletic Club is set to open in September, taking over the space currently occupied by Zimm's Little Deck. Chef Shepard Ross, sommelier and co-owner of The Glass Wall, will create American- and Italian-influenced cuisine reminiscent of Brooklyn. Ross plans on expanding the patio so guests will be able to play croquet, badminton, bocce and horseshoes. He's also adding a second bar area, with new beer, wine, and cocktail selections. Brooklyn Athletic Club, 601 Richmond Ave., Houston, TX 77006, no phone available.
Adios, Ava. Fans of Robert Del Grande’s Ava Kitchen & Whiskey Bar were saddened by the closing but found solace just upstairs. Ava was part of a Schiller Del Grande two-restaurant, two-story concept in the multi-use West Ave center in Upper Kirby. But Ava never really took off and the decision was made to close the downstairs eatery and merge the best menu items with the upstairs Alto Pizzera. The two restaurants shared en entranceway that West Ave will now separate; plans are for a steakhouse to go into the old Ava space. Ava Kitchen & Whiskey Bar, West Ave, 2800 Kirby Dr., Houston, TX 77098, no phone.
View our calendar of Wine Dinners & Tastings in Houston