Food News: International Smoke Will Smoke No More

Plus, a new pasta concept at food hall Politan Row.

By Timothy Malcolm December 11, 2019

International Smoke at CityCentre has closed its doors. 

"International Smoke Houston will be closing its doors, effective immediately," said a statement from Mina Group provided to Houstonia. "We are grateful to all of our staff and guests for all of their support in the time that we’ve been open."

The restaurant, representing a collaboration between chef Michael Mina and lifestyle personality Ayesha Curry, first started in San Francisco and opened its Houston location in summer 2018. With it came some very early controversy, as its Yelp page was littered with negative reviews based solely on Curry's affiliation (she's the wife of Stephen Curry, star of the Golden State Warriors, who defeated the Rockets in the Western Conference Finals right before International Smoke opened its doors here). Those reviews were written before the restaurant even began service.

After the restaurant opened, the reviews were relatively good, though I wasn't sure if International Smoke's concept translated all too well, despite its lighthearted appeal. It seemed the best dishes at the restaurant came from the mind of executive chef EJ Miller, a Houston native who previously worked at Down House and Riel

Needless to say, Miller is now a prized free agent, and CityCentre will be searching for a new tenant for the 6,000-square-foot space.

News of International Smoke's closure was first reported by the Chronicle.

Lemon butter ravioli at Bronson's House.

Meantime, Politan Row has filled one of its remaining empty spots. Bronson's House, an Italian concept from Mexican-born and Texas-raised chef Nelson Joao (formerly Goodnight Hospitality, H-Town Restaurant Group), is now operating at the Rice Village food hall. Bronson's House features scratch-made pastas like pappardelle in bolognese (get ready for a taste test against BOH Pasta at Bravery Chef Hall), ravioli in lemon butter sauce, and spinach pasta in pesto. Desserts include tiramisu and cannoli.

Sticky's Chicken, a popular food truck serving chicken over rice and wings with a Filipino-influenced sticky sauce, is opening its Sawyer Yards location at 2313 Edwards St. on Friday. Look for favorite items from the food truck, along with Japanese-style fried chicken katsu, burgers, and burritos, along with wine and beer (including a few from nearby Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co.). Sticky's will be open 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-9 p.m. daily, with full hours starting Jan. 11.


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