Cook & Collins [Photos: Kim Coffman]
Back in October, we introduced you to Cook & Collins, the Midtown eatery that hopes to break the bar-and-club-scene mold in that area by bringing better dining to the neighborhood. Michael Paolucci's hospitality group IronCress is at the helm of this project (you might recognize Paolucci as the owner of Pub Fiction and 3rd Floor). The Cook & Collins team includes Joshua Shobe as executive chef, Crisp's Jared M. Estes as chef/partner, Chris Payne as general manager and Donny Salvato as managing partner. Housed in the former Xuco Xicana space, the restaurant officially opened to the public on Jan. 20 and seemed to be off to a promising start with a busy Monday night dinner service. Lunch hours at the new place will begin Jan. 27 and brunch should be launching Feb. 8. Like many recently opened places, they're phasing into longer hours while working out all of the kinks. Especially since they hope to establish a particular reputation in a part of town that has veered more toward the late-night party crowd.
The partners knew that when approaching Midtown, they wanted to resist the proliferation of drinks-centric establishments and open a restaurant that has good drinks, instead of a bar with decent food. Toward that end, the menu shows an upscale take on American comfort food. So say, instead of beef you'll have bison on your fries, and instead of your run-of-the-mill pizzas there are creative flatbreads, like the "Party Fowl" with duck leg, candied bacon and pickled shiitake mushrooms. There are also heavier, classic cravings like a cookie dough brownie or fried chicken that comes with a honey jar. (See the complete menu here.) It's not the standard fare we've come to expect from many Midtown establishments. "Until the restaurants start coming, it won't become a world-class neighborhood." Paolucci told Eater back in October. "I'm from Chicago and in Chicago, for every bar there's a restaurant; in [Houston's] Midtown, for every 20 bars there's one restaurant."
Next up in the Midtown restaurant department is Gyu-Kaku, which we told you about earlier this month. That Japanese barbecue place is coming in the next few months. But for now, take a complete look inside Cook & Collins.
· Cook & Collins [Facebook]
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