PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston May 2022

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Page 75 of 99

I f there's a single word to describe Marmo, the new Italian chophouse that debuted in the new Montrose Collective, it's swank. The vibe, the sleek look — it all screams old- school. For starters, when was the last time you've seen a new restaurant with a piano bar? Marmo has brought a stylish resurgence to dining with the backdrop of live music to Houston, and after two years of canceled concerts, plays, and the like, we couldn't be more delighted. Created by the Baltimore-based Atlas Restaurant Group (Ouzo and Loch Bar in River Oaks District), led by brothers Alex and Eric Smith, Marmo — which means "marble" in Italian — is the sister eatery to their Tagliata in MAWVELOUS MARMO Baltimore. Designer Patrick Sutton conjured the interior and exterior patio spaces with — as you'd imagine — cool black-and-white marble touches softened by organic jute-wrapped lighting, caramel leather banquettes. The dining room is awash with sunlight streaming through its corner windows, with partitions of drapery cordoning off dining niches. The sophisticated menu was created by Atlas chef partner Julian Marucci and executive chef Eli Jackson. Although the cuisine is Italian, it gently nods to international ingredients and techniques. Don't miss the Hamachi crudi, a changing array of sashimi bathed in passion-fruit spiked ponzu sauce with fresh red chile to bring a touch of heat and a squid-ink rice chip for crunch ($19). Tuscan fried chicken features dark meat cut off the bone, fried baby artichoke, preserved lemon, and garlic aioli ($13). Insalate includes Castelfranco (a variety of bitter rose-colored radicchio) with blood-orange segments, bits of ricotta salata, and pistachios tossed in a white balsamic vinaigrette ($14), as well as a rich burrata-cheese-centered salad with strawberries and prosciutto di Parma, topped with a touch of Minus 8, the vinegar made from ice-wine grapes ($21). Choose a bottle from the 22-page wine list (mostly Italian labels, of course) to accompany a groaning charcuterie board of cheeses, artisan salumi, olives, and house-made giardiniera ($18 - $55). Eight fresh, hand-rolled pasta selections are offered by the full and half portions (and at happy hour, in quarter portions, too). The most unique being squid-ink campanelle, little bell-shaped pasta tinted black and cradling fresh blue-crab meat in a rich uni cream sauce ($26/$52). While the traditional Bolognese stands up to some of the best, the veal-enriched ragú is twisted around ribbons of fresh tagliatelle ($16/32). But let's not forget this is a chophouse: The stars on the menu are dry-aged steaks and chops, ranging from a modest 8-ounce black Angus beef tenderloin cut ($68) to the 18-ounce cowboy prime grade rib-eye, dry-aged for 45 days ($75). Connoisseurs of Wagyu beef can find Japanese A5 — the buttery, highly marbled beef that's extremely rare (market price). And how better to dress your steak or chop than with a sauce — from a pecorino-and-black-pepper hollandaise to black-garlic mostarda or rosemary aged-beef-fat butter, take your pick ($4 each). Marmo, 888 Westheimer Road, 832.626.3400, By Laurann Claridge. Photography Kirsten Gilliam. Cowboy Ribeye 42-ounce porterhouse 74

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