PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston May 2023

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Page 67 of 99

Musings F or years, I've driven past the former locale of Emmaline on West Dallas on my way to the gym and wondered why this great location and even better renovated space was still sitting empty. The building has great bones and you can't beat the location, right? Wonder no more: Bar owners turned restaurateurs Brandon Duliakas and Dan Wierck of Sundown Entertainment Group are making their first foray into the world of dining (on the finer side) at their new eatery Muse. With the help of seasoned pros — and Muse's newly minted partners — executive chef E.J. Miller (Mina Group, Riel, SaltAir) and general manager By Laurann Claridge. Interiors photography Adrian Barboza. A first fine food offering has all the right ingredients. Yuzu tart sesame shortbread, toasted Italian meringue, and oolong tea caviar at Muse Patty Burbach (Mastro's, MAD), they've gathered a talented team in the front and back of the house and completely reimagined the interiors. Black velvet curtains cordon off the entrance from the nearly 4,200-square-foot space appointed with dark wood paneling and faux cherry trees in full bloom, their limbs up-lit with a rosy glow. Elevated banquettes upholstered with a malachite pattern are arguably the best seats in the house. Enveloping warm walnut-wood tables, they grant diners a bird's-eye view of the 18-seat bar that centers the room, which is hung with provocative black-and- white photos. Service is on point, thanks to chef Miller and his team, who have created a menu of tempting fare that touches upon Asian flavors, cooking techniques, and ingredients while paying homage to their own culinary muse: the diverse cultures of Houston. Miller can boast the kitchen is "completely scratch," from the homemade Parker House rolls served with house-churned, cream-cultured butter seasoned like an everything bagel and smoked salmon roe ($12) to the fluffy steamed bao buns and pickled vegetables in the chicken karaage ($16). Sharable plates include salt-and-pepper cauliflower atop miso cashew cream with pickled jalapeños ($14) and crispy shrimp glazed with hot honey with served with black walnuts ($18). Everything pairs well with seasonal cocktails such as The Marilyn, a vodka-based tincture with passion fruit and lychee ($16) and Open Sesame with rye whiskey, sesame, pineapple spice, maple, and lemon ($17). These days, it has become quite fashionable to offer caviar service, and Muse is on trend, offering a changing array of caviar varieties at market price. Best yet, regardless of which variety you select, each is accompanied by warm, perfectly prepared brown-butter potato madeleines and a generous dollop of crème fraiche covered in chopped fresh chives. Cold and raw selections include raw oysters ($14) and sushi-style options such as the Muse roll with spicy crab and yellowtail 66

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