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22 T his past March, amid the COVID-19 lockdown that gripped the nation, the elegant French enclave La Table on Post Oak temporarily shuttered. Its New York owners — Bastion, formerly known as Invest Hospitality (owners of the late Joël Robuchon's L'Atelier, Shun, Le Jardinier, Benno, Leonelli) — seized the opportunity to reimagine the vibrant two-story concept for this new era of dining, inside and mostly out. Bastion's corporate chefs collaborated with Houston exec chef Stephen Conklin (La Grenouille, Lincoln Ristorante) to create efficient logistical changes as well as a new, very streamlined, very French menu for dine in and take out. Gone is the quaint patisserie/boulangerie at the entrance of the first floor — the more casual dining area —and in its place is a nouveau champagne station. Upstairs, two spaces invite private dining: the intimate Champagne Room and the luxurious Château Room for larger events, while downstairs the pretty patio seats 62 (in addition to 46 in the main dining room). Look for classics made modern such as market oysters with ossetra caviar ($24 to $44); French onion soup, traditionally created with braised beef shank bobbing with Gruyère croûton and loads of caramelized onions ($16); and pâté de campagne, the classic pork terrine with pickled vegetables and toast points ($17). Entrees include the very Parisian steak frites with black angus beef raised by nearby R-C Ranch (from $34 for sirloin to $125 for entrecôte for K eeping with this column's focus on a singular art space, we roll into '21 touting the Art Car Museum. Houston's most democratic arts i n s t i t u t i o n , A C M boasts a decades-long history of raucous open-call shows; coverage of hot political topics (the FBI even came calling in 2001 to check out an exhibition); and a tradition of artists as curators, which guarantees that elitism is nonexistent and visual talents and makers are always front and center. Important artists such as Mel Chin and Perry House, who have both been in house in the past, make Art Car a real cornucopia for prescient viewing. (Naturally, there's always a side of Pop-centric art cars, too.) This month, assistant director Alicia Duplan alerted us to the museum's latest, which pairs sublime watercolor landscapes of Croatian-born Danilo Stampalija with the gritty streetscapes of our town as seen by Brian Zievert (both through February 28). Check out Zievert's paintings of the Orange Show, depicted in a golden haze which aligns with this monument's groovy, grass- roots vibe. Don't miss the psychedelic viewing room where Zievert has hung, salon-style, daily self-portraits from this past year. The small, brushy canvases record a visage that is chameleon-like, alternately outlaw, saint, scholar, and mystic. The many faces of Zievert are revealed — a metaphor for the multi- facets of this museum, which is founded and funded by Houston's most radical, iconoclastic, and beloved art patrons, Ann and Jim Harithas. Just in: Speaking of art cars, the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art announces a new director, come January 4, Tommy Ralph Pace takes the helm of one of America's most acclaimed outsider art sites. Arriving from Miami, where his previous gig was at the innovative Institute of Contemporary Art as Deputy Director, Pace will lead the Orange Show, which is now in its 39th year, forward. Expect big-picture thinking from this Pratt Institute, NYC, grad. He'll also oversee The Beer Can House, Smither Park, and the flagship Art Car Parade, all under the Orange Show umbrella. Outgoing OS director Lynette Wallace steps back but remains involved, steering logistics going forward for the Art Car Parade., Catherine D. Anspon TABLES TURNED ART NOTES two), and fresh snapper in a saffron broth reminiscent of bouillabaisse with fennel, picholine olives, peppers, and rouille sauce ($36). Dessert brings a fuji apple tarte Tatin à la mode and flan Parisienne ($10 each). For now, La Table is open for dinner only, Tuesday through Saturday; reservations through recommended. La Table, 1800 Post Oak Blvd., 713.439.1000, Laurann Claridge Left: Brian Zievert's Self-Portraits, 2019-2020, at Art Car Museum PHOTO BY RICK WELLS, COURTESY ART CAR MUSEUM La Table oysters with ossetra caviar

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