PaperCity Magazine


Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 29 of 135

AMUSE-BOUCHE W hile all eyes have been on Houston with the spectacular unveiling of the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, there's major food news alongside the art and architecture. Come spring, the Museum District dining scene heats up when two Michelin-star chefs craft a pair of restaurants at the MFAH Kinder building. The 65-seat Le Jardinier is expected to open in April. With a private entrance and window-walls to gaze out upon the Isamu Noguchi- designed Cullen Sculpture Garden, it's poised to become one of the city's chicest restaurants, in line with other Montrose culinary destinations such as Georgia James, BCN, or Uchi. In March, the MFAH unveils a more relaxed dining option, Cafe Leonelli, which adjoins Le Jardinier and also serves up views of the Cullen Sculpture Garden, as well as the Bissonnet streetscape. The owner of both, Bastion Restaurants (formerly known as Invest Hospitality) in New York City, also has Houston's La Table in its portfolio. The pièce de résistance: Both restaurants were forged in collaboration with Bastion chefs Jonathan Benno, Alain Verzeroli, and Salvatore Martone, who create epicurean magic at Michelin-star establishments. Benno presides over Leonelli (NYC), and Verzeroli is the top toque of Le Jardinier (NYC, Miami); Martone does double duty as pastry chef for both. Le Jardinier earned a Michelin star in 2020 in the fiercely competitive New York dining scene. The cuisine and setting of Le Jardinier channel a modern greenhouse, where Chef Verzeroli's menu emphasizes the finest vegetables and other seasonal ingredients, sustainable seafood, and fresh herbs. Prior to his time is New York, Verzeroli was director for the iconic Château Restaurant Joël Robuchon in Tokyo, where his prowess led to three Michelin stars bestowed annually for 11 consecutive years — a status that few restaurants in the world ever achieve. The MFAH's new cafe is an offspring of NYC's Leonelli, sited in the Evelyn Hotel, where Chef Benno pairs a Roman trattoria with an Italian bakery and cafe. He earned one Michelin star in 2020, but prior, he spent six years at Per Se, which garnered three Michelin stars. "We have been in the Houston market for the past decade [La Table] and know it to be a great incubator of culinary talent," Bastion COO Antonio Begonja tells PaperCity. Besides the gourmet buzz these new restaurants will generate, each will have a striking art + design element — commissions from Trenton Doyle Hancock (Le Jardinier's majestic tapestry depicting trees) and Spencer Finch (a NASA-inspired light sculpture at Cafe Leonelli). More on this story at BY CATHERINE D. ANSPON TWO NEW MICHELIN-STARRED RESTAURANTS AT THE MFAH KINDER BUILDING Trenton Doyle Hancock's Color Flash for Chat and Chew, Paris Texas in Seventy-Two, 2019-2020, at the future Le Jardinier, Kinder Building, MFAH PHOTO BY THOMAS R. DUBROCK, COURTESY MFAH 28

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of PaperCity Magazine - PaperCity_Houston_January_2021