Food News: Wake Up and Welcome The Classic

A new eatery from Benjy Levit, plus National Sandwich Month and Cap'n Crunch macarons!

By Timothy Malcolm August 3, 2018

Salmon pastrami. Or as some like to call it: Asgard.

Everyone, we made it. Another week in the books. Time to lounge back, put on some Steely Dan, and enjoy a cold cocktail. Maybe the Twice Shy from Present Company?

Here is your news from across the Houston food and drink scene:

Today is opening day for The Classic (or The Classic All-Day ... someone will have to come to a ruling on this), the new concept from Benjy Levit of Benjy's and Local Foods. It's in the old Benjy's space at 5922 Washington Ave. Like Levit's other restaurants, The Classic is designed as a neighborhood eatery, though it'll also have two separate menus: breakfast and all-day.

Per a press release, breakfast includes an East-Asian-inspired breakfast sandwich with roasted pork char siou (barbecue pork) and tomago katsu (we'd imagine it's a breaded omelet); a bowl that includes scrambled eggs, oyster mushrooms, herbs, quinoa, and sweet potato; and the Not-So Benedict, titled because it includes black rice, crab with nuoc mam (Vietnamese fish sauce), and furikake. There will be hollandaise on this, so its benny credentials are still present, if faintly.

Then comes the all-day menu. Offerings include a matzo ball soup; Russian pelmeni, or dumplings; and salmon pastrami with cucumber, capers, tomato, and ramen egg toast. Some of those eastern European and Russian touches are coming from chef Mike Potowski, who is joined by chef Maria Gonzalez at The Classic. 

Not only is The Classic continuing with Levit's interest in sourcing from local producers, but it's going one step further. The restaurant has a 700-square-foot rooftop organic garden where herbs, spices, and vegetables like broccoli, kale, and squash are growing. 

Doors open at 8 a.m. Breakfast is 8-11 a.m. daily, and all-day is 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

In "uh, what is happening?!?" news, CultureMap reported yesterday that lockout notices were posted on the doors of Star Fish and Pi Pizza. That would definitely cause panic for fans of these Cherry Pie Hospitality restaurants, but according to a representative, there was a bank error, both places are still alive and will open today. Pi Pizza is set for an 11 a.m. opening, while Star Fish unlocks the doors at 4 p.m., per the rep.

In moving news, the Houston Chronicle reported this week that Tony Mandola's Gulf Coast Kitchen is likely to be leaving its Waugh location pretty soon. According to the report, the landlord Transwestern Development Company seeks new tenants. Once the lease is broken the restaurant will have eight months to leave the property. 

That said, per the Chronicle, the restaurant is likely to stay around, just in a different location. Phyllis Mandola, co-owner of the restaurant with husband Tony, said she'd like to stay in the River Oaks/Montrose area.

In case you're longing for more themed periods of time defined by the Gregorian calendar, August is National Sandwich Month. Does that mean it's also National Hot Dog Month? Anyway, eateries are rolling out special sandos, so go get your hands on them!

  • We're not sure whether The East Hampton Sandwich Co.'s Il Soprano sandwich is named after the fictional crime boss or a talented high-pitched vocalist, but either way, it has big flavor. Only available in August at both locations, Il Soprano has prosciutto de parma, country-style ham, smoked provolone, arugula, Roma tomato, pesto aioli, a summer tomato vinaigrette, and herbs. 
  • Portobello makes for a meaty sandwich star without all the sodium. Get it in sandwich form at the Lucienne at Hotel Alessandra, which is showcasing it with tapenade, mozzarella, and tomato.
  • Watch for the Soggies!

    Are macarons sandwiches? While you ponder this, allow me to tell you about the Cap'n Crunch macarons now available at Ooh La La. These cute beige treats are topped with a single Cap'n Crunch, which is just adorable but will also threaten to scratch the roof of your mouth. So be careful! Also through August, Ooh La La is doing donut macarons. Drool.

Secret dinner alert! Table 22, the pop-up fusion of art and food by artist Angela Fabbri, is working on its next event with Poitin Executive Chef Dominick Lee. An eight-course dinner with wine and cocktail pairings is scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 23. It's $200 per person and reservations can be made here. Location will be revealed upon reservation.

Bosscat Kitchen & Libations is now in charge of the bars at The James and The Ivy, luxury apartment buildings in River Oaks. According to a press release, Center Bar by Bosscat is on the ground floor at The James (2303 Mid Lane) and The Loft By Bosscat is on the pool level at The Ivy (2311 Mid Lane). Both bars will feature signature cocktails, small plates, and free delivery within 30 minutes for residents of the apartment buildings. Also, both bars will only be open to apartment residents. So move there ... or make a friend there.

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