In the current issue of Houstonia, I mostly praise Arthur Ave and chef William Wright's inventive takes on red sauce Italian-American fare. After all, the guy is nominated by the James Beard Foundation for its Rising Star Chef of the Year award for his work at sister restaurant Helen Greek Food & Wine. But as much as I enjoyed the crisp-edged lasagna and grill-marked escarole salad, elsewhere in the review I called the dining experience "strangely demure" and "like a date hesitantly asking first before he kisses you."
Apparently, Houstonians agreed with those comments. Arthur Ave will close on March 19. Sad emoji. But happy emoji for what's to come. Helen in the Heights will be another Greek project for the team of Wright, sommelier Evan Turner, chef de cuisine Mercedes Gomez and director of operations Tim Faiola, but don't expect Helen II. Whereas Helen's cuisine is an upscale take on regional dishes from around Greece, Helen in the Heights will stick to the Arthur Ave template of greatest hits — just Greek instead of Italian this time.
The 1111 Studewood space will lie dormant for a few weeks after March 19 to make the transformation, but expect to be eating Greek favorites in the Heights this spring.