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News for Restaurants in Houston
August 2010 Archive

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Chef Philippe Schmit, formerly of bistro moderne, has been galloping around the globe this past year but he’s now back in Houston, and hard at work on his Philippe Restaurant & Lounge, set to open in The Galleria in November. The two-story space in BLVD Place will feature a swanky lounge, outdoor patio and main and private dining rooms. Lauren Rottet, an award-winning architect who currently is renovating new bungalows at the Beverly Hotel and The Surrey Hotel, is the interior designer. “Since bistro modern closed two years ago, I’ve been carefully planning and researching,” says Schmit. “It was important for me not to rehash bistro modern. Philippe is going to be much more accessible and much more casual. It’s taken a lot of patience and drive to get here, but the result will be my dream restaurant tailor-made for Houston.” The French chef has really taken to Texas since he arrived in 2004, one of the reasons he’s decided to stay and open his new eatery here. “I really enjoy Houston and going off the beaten path to discover new things,” he says, which is why he’s also starting a blog about the city. It will be called, appropriately, The French Cowboy.

News Bytes

Popular Sommelier to Launch Own Concept
Catalan Food & Wine’s sommelier Antonio Gianola has announced plans to open his own wine and small plates venue around the first of the year. As such, he'll be leaving Chris Shepherd‘s popular restaurant in September. Gianola is well known for having put together wonderful wine lists at Catalan and at Marco Wiles’ Da Marco. Foodies and oenophiles are waiting for more details, but right now Gianola says he’s looking for the right spot, reportedly in trendy areas such as Montrose, the Museum District or Washington Ave. Catalan Food & Wine, 5555 Washington Ave., Houston, TX 77007, 713-426-4260.
Houston’s Winning Wine Guy
Congratulations to Jack Mason from Mark's American Cuisine who landed a second place win and a $1,500 scholarship at the 6th annual Texas Sommelier Conference competition in Dallas in August. Mason was one of 21 sommeliers who competed in the three-part exam involving service, blind tasting and theory. Held August 15 at the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Las Colinas, the competition is a key part of TexSom, an annual wine-education conference. Since its inception in 2005, it has attracted more than 1,800 wine professionals from across the United States, and more than 140 Texas sommeliers have competed. Mark's American Cuisine, 1658 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77019, 713-523-3800.
Dining Out for a Cause
The average Houstonian eats out four times a week. But in August, that number rises along with the temperatures as Houston Restaurant Week---actually more of a month now---entices eaters with menu specials to raise funds for the Houston Food Bank. From now until August 21, 130 area restaurants are offering set menus with a portion of the proceeds going to the charity that feeds 137,000 people in 18 Texas counties each week. Founded by food journalist Cleverly Stone, HRW is now in its eighth year. New this time around is the addition of lunch menus: two courses for $20 with $3 going to the Food Bank. The three-course dinner menu is still $35 with $5 going to the bank. Last year the event raised $240,000 for the charity. Restaurants include choices from Tony’s to taquerias from downtown to Sugar Land. Check out the website at, reservations are required at participating restaurants.

Chef Shuffle

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