Fans of chef Chris Kinjo and MF Sushi in the Museum District have not one, but two new restaurants to look forward to dining at, as the lauded chef announced he will open MF Lobster & Ceviche, and Annam, a French-Vietnamese restaurant and wine bar at Autry Park this fall.
The 14-acre urban district, located at Shepherd Drive and West Dallas, is under the direction of Hanover Company in partnership with Lionstone Investments and retail development partner Rebees. The area is already home to Hanover Autry Park, a luxury residential tower, and has been garnering lots of buzz for its highly anticipated restaurant openings, including Berg Hospitality’s Turner’s Cut and Annabelle’s, Lick Honest Ice Cream, and Auden, all slated to open this year. Kinjo’s news adds further intrigue of the fast-growing development.
“We love the Autry Park area, working with the team at Hanover and Rebees, and the bespoke aspect of the project,” said Kinjo. “We wanted to be a part of what we feel like is a special development to the city of Houston’s dining scene.”
Houston-based firm MC2 spearheaded the design at MF Sushi, and are now leading the charge for both of Kinjo’s Autry Park restaurants. His Museum District hot spot has long been praised for its minimalistic dining room and flush sushi bar, and MF Lobster & Ceviche sounds like it will be a worthy follow-up when it opens this fall. Housed in a 2,200-square-foot round pod situated amongst the oak trees on the green space within the park, the restaurant will be the city’s only fully round restaurant. Designed by Michael Hsu Office of Architecture, the pod is made of glass, Western red cedrar, and steel, and offers picturesque views of the park from its floor-to-ceiling windows. A dining room with seating for 65 will be complemented by an 8-seat bar and an outdoor patio with a deck and seating for an additional 30 guests.
Kinjo collaborated on the MF Lobster & Ceviche menu with his longtime chef partner of 23 years, Miguel Alvarez. As its moniker suggests, the spotlight will be on fresh lobster, delivered daily from Maine, and a variety of ceviches. Alvarez will take the reins with multiple lobster-heavy dishes like lobster tacos with mango salsa and avocado aioli, lobster with brown butter and chive, and lobster ravioli made with hand-made pasta. Ceviche offerings will evolve based on seasonality of ingredients, but will be built with — you guessed it — lobster, among other gems from the sea like halibut, shrimp, scallop, and swordfish.
Steps from the pod, Annam will open on the ground-level of the Hanover Autry Park residential tower in a slightly larger space with 56-seats, a 16-seat bar, and covered patio. The name pays homage to the precolonial era when Vietnamese was referred to as “Annam.” Here, Kinjo and managing partner Dung “Lang” Nguyen bring Vietnamese-style tapas with French flair using globally-sourced ingredients.
Houstonians will have to countdown the months before they can get a taste of what Kinjo will be serving at MF Lobster & Ceviche and Annam, but you can get a sneak peek at the progress by journeying through the picturesque grounds of Autry Park along Buffalo Bayou, and curve cravings at MF Sushi in the meantime.