If Sarah Troxell's drinks are any indication of what The Toasted Coconut is going to be like, it's going to be one of your favorite places.
Of course, Troxell—who recently won the Houston edition of the Speed Rack competition, pitting female bartenders against one another in a heated drink-making competition—is one of the biggest stars behind the bar in Space City. So while I expect delicious, balanced flavors, what I tried Tuesday at the "Toasty Tuesday" pop-up at Nobie's rose to another level. Potent but smooth, pretty yet understated, they were outstanding cocktails.
Patrons at the Coconut, the tiki concept from Martin and Sara Stayer of Nobie's, will have plenty of tropical fare to choose from at the bar (and you'll be able to order all kinds of drinks here, not just tiki). Everything's a work in progress right now, but think a tiki mug filled with overproof Jamaican rum, oloroso sherry, pecan orgeat, lime, orange curacao, and bitters. Sweetness from the rum and orgeat is tempered by the overwhelming nutty character, which takes over at the back end of the sip. It's terrific. Hopefully that makes the final cut.
Also look for a tart drink with rhum agricole, green chartreuse, passionfruit lime, and tiki bitters. Simple but surprisingly balanced with a funky kick.
You can sample the Toasted Coconut drinks as they're being workshopped at future Toasty Tuesday events at Nobie's, which will be announced by the restaurant. Some menu items will also be available at Toasty Tuesday nights, including mapo tofu fries, rangoon with pimento cheese, Indonesian "queso" with roti, and crispy rice salad with orange slices and an effervescent tropical chili vinaigrette. Strayer's menu aims to tell the story of the 20th parallel, meaning flavors from Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, China, India, Mexico, Cuba, and Hawaii, among other places.
The Toasted Coconut will have a large beach area with sand and chairs, plus a considerable indoor dining space and a private dining room. A classic, 1950s Hollywood interpretation of tiki is promised, with a sunny, colorful aesthetic. It's tentatively set for a June opening.