Ignacio Torras and Luis Roger of BCN, and now MAD.

Image: Jenn Duncan

In the crowded restaurant field of Houston, few restaurants consistently stand out like BCN Taste & Tradition. The cozy, romantic restaurant from Ignacio Torras and Luis Roger specializing in Barcelona-inspired cuisine is a jewel with impeccable service, inventive plates, and an excellent gin program.

Now, Torras and Roger, with sommelier Sebastien Laval, are adding to their portfolio with MAD, a restaurant paying homage to the food and drink of—where else—Madrid, and it's going to open June 19 at River Oaks District.

“Luis and I have always aimed at sharing the love of Spanish cuisine and culture with Houstonians, showcasing a culinary experience that is part exceptional interior design and innovative cuisine,” said Ignacio Torras, owner. “With MAD, we hope to continue highlighting the evolution of Spanish culinary experience and spotlight the traditional tapas and paellas which strongly label Spanish cuisine around the world.”

Paella power: arroz de calamares, almejas y shishito.

Image: Julie Soefer

So yes, tapas and paellas are the name of the game here, with the latter prepared over a wood-burning fire. The tapas will be extensive—look for foie gras cornetto, a savory dish that will look like an ice cream cone. Roger, who runs the kitchen at BCN, will oversee things at MAD, as well.

Fans of BCN can rejoice that MAD's bar program will have a similar vibe. Jerry Arguelles has designed a menu that focuses on gin, with plenty of gin and tonics, plus classics, and savory cocktails like a paella G&T. Those just wanting a G&T, and maybe a small plate, can do so at MAD's late-night service, which launches with dinner and will run 10 p.m.-1 a.m. Thursday-Saturday.

The 6,000-square-foot space designed by Barcelona-based Lazaro Rosa-Violan will be a colorful, lively place with moving mirrors above the bar, and art from the Brutalist Era of the mid-20th century, along with Picassos. The MAD team has also commissioned a mural for an outdoor side wall that'll undoubtedly invite passersby into the space.

MAD will launch dinner (5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday) and late-night first, with lunch (11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday) coming later in the year.

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