In and Out

The Opening & Closing of the Week: Feb 28-Mar 6

Mutt City cuisine makes itself at home on Washington Avenue.

By Katharine Shilcutt March 6, 2015

Now at Commonwealth: Gulf oysters with Maui onion sauce (left); big-eye tuna and roasted beet tartar (right)

Each Friday, Gastronaut rounds up the most notable opening and closing of the week.

A fresh face has debuted in the old Washington Avenue space that previously housed TQLA. Commonwealth opened to the public today—that's as fresh as you can get, folks!—after a few weeks spent in a very soft opening period.

4601 Washington Ave.

Though its Facebook page is a little vague as to the restaurant's concept, calling Commonwealth a "New American restaurant with chef specialty inspired meals," which is just, like, a string of nonsense words these days, here's what we can cobble together from the menu: it's Mutt City cuisine, a term we're liking more and more these days as a catch-all phrase to connote a specific blend of culinary influences that Houstonians love to play around with (i.e., Tex-Mex, Indian, and Vietnamese). Among the culinary influences at Commonwealth are Japanese, Korean, Southern, Cajun, French, and Mexican—if it weren't for the Asian and Cajun bits, you could almost call it Six Flags cuisine (but don't, okay).

At his new restaurant, chef Michael Sanguinetti weaves these various threads into dishes such as braised quail empanadas, Korean chargrilled oysters with gochujang butter, and grilled octopus with winter vegetables and squid ink noodles. As is the trend these days, Commonwealth also offers family-sized meals it calls "roasts," including a rack of pork from Black Hill Ranch for $45 and a center-cut tenderloin for $62. For now, Commonwealth is only serving lunch and dinner but look for brunch service to begin on March 30.

With no real closings to report this week, some short news about a slight delay: Jinya Ramen, the ramen shop we reviewed with gusto in January, was set to open its second Houston-area location in Midtown earlier this year. Now, Eater Houston reports that it's pushed back its official opening date to March 16 after some utility connection issues. If you just can't wait another two weeks for your ramen fix, you can always drive down to Webster to visit the first Houston outpost of the Japanese chain.


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