PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston September 2020

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Page 43 of 99

TURNER'S STELLAR RESTAURANT OPENINGS IN A TRYING YEAR SEPTEMBER RE-ENTRÉE B Y L A U R A N N C L A R I D G E AS WE CAN ALL ATTEST, 2020 HAS BEEN A TAXING YEAR. THIS MONTH, AS WE WELCOME THE CHANGE OF SEASONS, WE PAY HOMAGE TO A TRIO OF RESTAURANTS THAT MANAGED TO QUIETLY OPEN DESPITE THE MANDATORY STATEWIDE SHUTDOWNS, ONLY TO SHUTTER AGAIN BEFORE FINALLY WELCOMING GUESTS WITH SAFETY RESTRICTIONS FIRMLY IN PLACE. KIRSTEN GILLIAM I nspired by a bygone era — where society doyennes and the gentleman who accompanied them dined on refined continental cuisine in private clubs and exclusive restaurants — Benjamin Berg and chef Robert Del Grande opened Turner's, an intimate 1,600-plus-square-foot space on the ground level of The Annie Café & Bar on Post Oak, in March, just one week before it shuttered due to COVID restrictions. Enter through a cloistered, separate entrance on Ambassador Way and step inside the glittering bar, where a pressed-copper ceiling and glass-shelved mirrored bar sparkle against the black-and-white-checkered marble floor. It's clear that Berg, a New Yorker born and bred, has admired the interiors of the famed 21 Club, Swifty's and Ralph Lauren's Polo Bar in Manhattan. Enlisting Houston architect Issac Preminger, the duo worked to evoke the timeless feel of those places while creating a dark-wood-cloaked space of their own. Turner's cozily wears Ralph Lauren charcoal pinstripe-fabric on the walls, statement-making brass mirrors and chandeliers, dark green tufted banquettes, and Old World paintings mixed with black-and-white photographs. Award-winning chef Del Grande's menu is filled with continental and American dishes made modern. Begin with a classic cocktail such as Our Gin Fizz ($16) or The Pimm's Cup ($14), or barrel-aged selections like Thea Negroni ($18), played up with all the artisanal ingredients of this era. Pair it with a bar snack such as smoked salmon dip with buckwheat pancakes ($14) or playful pigs in a blanket served with mustard ($12). In the dining room, a pianist plays the baby grand nightly. Start with Land & Sea on the Half Shell, a trio of Beaver Tail East Coast oysters topped with Petrossian's Daurenki caviar and presented on ice alongside a trio of Wagyu beef carpaccio, rolled and crowned with a disc of bone marrow melted tableside ($32). I love the cheeky nod to our nation's current obsession with avocado toast, teased here as an accompaniment to a slice of king crab terrine ($38) on a shallow pool of brown-butter-tinged mustard dressing, where the avocado cuts the richness of the crab ($38). Fans of steak tartar and foie gras won't want to miss the duo here ($32). Chopped wagyu beef is blended at the table with an egg-yolk-rich hollandaise- like concoction and mushroom dust. The flavor of the round torchon of foie gras is heightened when swirled through the sweet port wine reduction and smeared on toast points. Offered in the club selections are Turner's signature burger ($28) and hot dog service with a Texas Wagyu beef dog, chili, sauerkraut, relish, and onions ($22). Entrees combine comfort fare such as chicken and dumplings ($32) and meatloaf ($36) with mighty cuts of meat, like prime cut bone-in rib eye ($78) and veal chop ($64). There's seafood, too, from Dover sole with lobster hash ($68) to classic lobster thermidor ($78) and Scottish salmon "pot roast" cooked in a ginger broth and served with braised vegetables and herb-laced mustard dressing ($38). Turner's, 1800 Post Oak Blvd., 713.804.1212, Buttermilk fried quail Artichoke soup served tableside 42

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