This time last year, Dosi Restaurant & Soju Bar had just opened in Montrose to rave reviews from critics who praised chef Jordan Asher's inventive take on Korean food, though the young restaurant quickly found that being a critical darling doesn't always translate to critical success. By this past May, Dosi decided it needed a shot in the arm and closed to rebrand as a more streamlined version of itself; gone were the modern Korean dishes and gone too was the chef who created them.
Meanwhile in the Heights, Witchcraft Tavern & Provision Co. found itself in similar need of a fresh take—a reason to get Houston's ever more finicky diners back into its doors two-and-a-half years after opening. This wouldn't be the first facelift for Witchcraft, however, which itself was a total overhaul of the previous tenant, Dragon Bowl, which served fast-casual pan-Asian fusion for seven years. In late 2012, owner Ken Bridge—whose company, Delicious Concepts, also owns other Heights-area institutions such as Pink's Pizza, Shepherd Park Draught House and Lola—ditched the Asian fusion food and decor in favor of the gastropub concept of Witchcraft. It opened with a splash in December 2012, but was soon drowned out by a chorus of other gastropubby concepts opening across the city in quick succession, all of them riding the crest of the Great Gastropub Wave of 2013.
This all brings us to today and news that Witchcraft and Ken Bridge have teamed up with Jordan Asher to see if the chef who was rebranded out of his restaurant can rebrand their own. Gone now are Witchcraft's small pub plates of crispy chili wings, the Texas Wagyu burgers, the flatbreads topped with "chef selected proteins" and the White Girl sandwich filled with tarragon chicken salad. In their place is a menu split into sections called Garden & Grains, Sea, Land and Sugar, with dishes served tapas-style. It's impossible to discern what the cuisine will be from the few menu descriptions included in the press release ("potato rosti with anchovy, crab and radish" and "lemongrass and ginger curd" among them), but perhaps this is purposeful, as the press release further notes that the "small, sharable and interactive dishes...are designed to invoke conversation and thought provocation."
It remains to be seen whether this collaboration will be the third charming time for Witchcraft or whether future rebranding efforts will be required of all parties, though you can make those predictions for yourself on August 5 when Asher rolls out his new menu. It will be accompanied by an "exciting and extensive new cocktail and wine menu," which are words that make sense and have meaning, and are also words that helpfully indicate a smaller spotlight on the craft beer that was the original focus when Witchcraft first opened.