Bistro menil uibojn

Chef Greg Martin offers a clever take on the tuna niçoise at Bistro Menil.

Like Erin Smith at the JW Marriott's Main Kitchen, chef Jose Hernandez is similarly raising the bar for hotel dining expectations at Radio Milano, the sleek Italian aerie inside Hotel Sorella. Enjoy Hernandez’s outstanding house-made pastas (the lasagna-like vincisgrassi in a veal ragout with parmesan cream is a favorite) in a luxe dining room overlooking the main lawn at CityCentre, or head downstairs for a more intimate experience at the Milano Bar, which offers a tempting late-night menu of pizzas and specialty cocktails.

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Image: Kyle Hilton

Meanwhile, Houston’s museums are getting some culinary upgrades of their own, with Bistro Menil of particular note. Chef Greg Martin’s lovingly plated dishes, like the crispy duck confit with pink peppercorn butter, are a fitting accompaniment to the grand works of art in the museum across the street, while charcuterie and cheese plates and salads are ideal snacks before or after a stroll through the galleries. And coming soon, look for partners Paolo Fronza and Matteo Allessandri—formerly of Fellini Caffé in Rice Village—to transform an old Café Express space into the MFACafe for the Museum of Fine Arts, creating a continental café with Italian coffee and a European vibe.

And if you don’t think a brewery is the place for a serious chef, you haven’t enjoyed Joseph Stayshich’s food at the Karbach Restaurant inside the beermaker’s massive complex. The brewery itself fits right into this deeply industrial part of Houston, but Stayshich’s food is as refined as any you’d find in Montrose or Midtown. He sneaks beer into unlikely dishes, among them his clever malted ricotta gnocchi, and his sausage sandwich with beer-based sauerkraut and housemade giardiniera.

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