Openings & Closings: Ava Becomes Alto, Il Mulino Becomes 024 and Death Becomes Nga

Categories: Restaurant News

ALTOcrop.jpg
Photo courtesy of Alto Pizzeria
Rumors had been swirling for the past few weeks that Ava Kitchen & Whiskey Bar -- one of the restaurants in the two-joint Schiller-Del Grande concept at West Ave -- would be closing soon. But instead of closing completely, the restaurant is moving in with its sister restaurant -- Alto Pizzeria -- upstairs. The news is unsurprising, as Ava itself never quite took off despite its pedigree; the Schiller-Del Grande group also run RDG + Bar Annie, The Grove, Taco Milagro, Rio Ranch and several Cafe Express locations.

In a press release, Lonnie Schiller said that they are "taking the best items at Ava and merging them with Alto," although it's unclear exactly which items will remain on the merged menu. Guests will continue to access the second-story Alto through its staircase entrance, while a smaller space downstairs will serve as a curbside pick-up area. West Ave plans to revamp the now-vacant Ava space, and further rumors indicate that a Fleming's may be its next occupant.

In other transformations, Trattoria Il Mulino has closed and quickly reopened as 024 Grille (a nod to its ZIP code). The ground floor level of a Westin facing Memorial City Mall was an odd spot for the little sister location of NYC's famed Il Mulino, and the spot always seemed to suffer as a result. The new 024 promises to blend "the atmosphere of a local bistro and the classic tradition of a Texas steakhouse."

In case you missed it, Solea opened last week in the increasingly popular Shepherd/Durham restaurant corridor south of I-10. The wine bar-cum-live music joint is near both old favorites such as Pizzitola's and new favorites like La Fisheria.

Speaking of La Fisheria, the coastal Mexican restaurant is now open for brunch. In keeping with Chef Aquiles Chavez's almost compulsive need to trademark everything in the restaurant with his name, the brunch offerings will include his twist on chilaquiles -- Red Chile-"Aquiles," which includes a red sauce with spicy and smoky red chiles along with shredded chicken breast, fried corn tortilla strips and fried eggs topped with cotija cheese. The menu will also feature dishes such as Mexican paella and adult pick-me-ups like Bloody Marias. Sunday brunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

Coastal Crossing Grill in Alvin is now open after The Barbed Rose Steakhouse saw its last day of service on June 30.

Also closed this week were Korma Sutra -- a bit of a surprise considering the restaurant's nicely prepared entry into last week's Curry Crawl at Straits -- and Nga Restaurant, which was an excellent Midtown alternative to the much busier Mai's and Van Loc. Midtown is becoming less Vietnamese with every passing day...



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Location Info

Venue

Map

Alto Pizzeria - CLOSED

2800 Kirby, Houston, TX

Category: General

Trattoria Il Mulino - CLOSED

945 Gessner, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Solea - CLOSED

1500 Shepherd Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Music

Pizzitola's Bar-B-Cue

1703 Shepherd Dr., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

La Fisheria

4705 Inker St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

The Barbed Rose Steakhouse and Seafood Co. - CLOSED

113 E. Sealy St., Alvin, TX

Category: Restaurant

Korma Sutra - CLOSED

706 Main, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Pho-Nga Restaurant - CLOSED

2929 Milam, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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11 comments
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Chuck
Chuck

Let me tell you, these people must be straight from India, because that's kind of how it is there...it's dog eat dog, there's so many people and it's just different over there, that's why it was not weird for them to put his stuff on their website. Unfortunately, they will go broke while they learn our culture.

just saying
just saying

Security deposit?  You've got to be kidding me.

Hanabi-chan
Hanabi-chan

So I guess that explains why those "Hillcroft Indian Buffets" are still in business but  Korma Sutra is not? And naming your competitors so you may slap them down? Sounds like a "klassy" bunch.

Hanabi-chan
Hanabi-chan

If only Jon Belushi was still alive...

Hanabi-chan
Hanabi-chan

What the bloody hell? I just perused the website.  There are no words. Okay, there are words but I am a lady so I won't use them here. I would have loved to see Gordon Ramsey give the owners his opinion of the restaurant's policies.

Corey
Corey

 This nan tastes like dry wall, ptoooey! We'll charge you double now! Take a look at the takeout surcharges too, the SNL skit analogy is absolutely spot on...

Hanabi-chan
Hanabi-chan

They really put that on their website Robin?  Wow, that is just bizarre. If they were trying to be funny, the joke is on them huh?

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Oh damn. You're right. That website is more than a little nuts. As a result of this we can not and will not be competing with “HILLCROFT Indian Restaurants that do lunch buffets from $3.99 and up” or any establishment outside of downtown Houston. Nor will we be competing with establishments from the Houston tunnels like “Rico’s”. If you want real North Indian Food, we are your downtown Indian food destination.

Robin
Robin

I walked past Korma Sutra all the time.  Their Web site was so aggressive and uninviting, it put me off ever trying the place.  To paraphrase:  "We reserve the right to charge you double if you don't eat EVERY and ALL buffet items on your plate.  In fact, we strongly recommend you put only a bite or two of each item you want to try before loading your plate so that we don't have to charge you extra for wasting food."  Also, "we are much higher quality than other Indian buffets you are familiar with (like the ones on Hillcroft), so don't come here if you don't want to pay a lot more for our food." The whole Web site was like a Saturday Night Live skit.

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