PaperCity Magazine

September 2016 - Houston

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 191 of 197

R estaurateur Alberto Lombardi is at it again. The maestro over- sees the development of myriad culinary eateries under the um- brella of his corporate entity, Lombardi Family Concepts, which operates Penne Pomo- doro, Bistro 31, Kai Asian Bistro, Romagna Mia and Toulouse in Dallas. The latter opened in Hous- ton's swanky River Oaks District this spring, and now Lombardi has opened Taverna just a few doors down. Facing bustling Westheimer Road, the Northern Italian-inspired concept is set in an expansive, burnt-umber-hued space with soaring coffered ceilings, crisp black millwork and large windows that bathe the room in light by day. The restaurant is managed by GM Randy Allison; the chef is Bruno Amato, fresh from the California-based chain Il Fornaio, who moved to Houston to open Taverna. L o m b a r d i a n d company say that risotto is their spe- cialty, but Amato m a k e s h i s o w n stuffed pastas daily — ravioli marem- mani filled with Swiss chard, spinach and ricotta ($17.50) and cappelleti romang- noli topped with a Bolognese sauce that's distinguished ITALIAN BORN DALLAS BRED by the addition of sausage, a hallmark of meat sauces that hail from the Romagna area ($18.95). I was delighted to see my favorite Italian cock- tail, the Aperol Fizz, on the menu. But unlike the Prosecco and Aperol drink customarily served over ice, this one is shaken with an egg white, simple syrup and lemon juice, strained and served in a coup — a delicious sweet-and-sour change-up. Start with an antipasti such as a burrata salad, the rich, cream-filled cheese layered with compressed melons and tomatoes ($14.50) — top it with prosciutto for a few dollars more. Charred octopus with pine nuts, olives and a garlic- heavy eggplant confit ($17.95) delights, while pastas and pizzas dominate the mains — along with standards at dinner such as veal Marsala ($24.50), chicken piccata ($20.50) and sea bass ($26.95). Desserts, $9 each, include a Nutella tiramisu and cannoli. Taverna, 4444 Westheimer Road in River Oaks District, 713.871.0902, BY LAURANN CLARIDGE. PHOTOGRAPHY JOY ZHANG. Taverna's famed focaccia 188 Alberto Lombardi By Marisa Richard Photography Emile Browne What: Fifth Annual Steele Red Carpet Party Where: River Oaks home of Astrid and Gene Van Dyke Who: Film and TV stars Major Dodson, Dalton Gray, Katy Harris, Joshua Diaz, Jim MacKrell, David Born, Brandon Buttrey; musicians Jon Hogan and Maria Moss, Genevieve Allen PC Moment: Guests communed with dozens of celebs from Hollywood, Nashville and be- yond to benefit the Military Warriors Support Foundation. A Spanish-themed dinner was prepared by top toques Pedro Garcia, Nancy Manlove, and Laura Trigo. Houston's Zach Person of American Idol stirred the crowd with his electric-guitar rendition of "The Star-Span- gled Banner." STARS ALIGN FOR STEELE RED CARPET Maria Moss Jon Hogan Major Dodson Dalton Gray Karen Steele Pedro Garcia Nancy Manlove Host Astrid Van Dyke Tena Lundquist Faust Paula Mott Zach Person

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of PaperCity Magazine - September 2016 - Houston