Opulent or Overdone? Nosh Bistro's Ornate Decor Proves Divisive

Categories: Local Spotlight

Photos by Troy Fields
"It looks like Prince exploded in that place," sneered a male friend of mine about the over-the-top decor inside the new Nosh Bistro on Kirby at Highway 59. It's not over the top in the way that the now-closed Zula on Main or Américas on Post Oak once were, during the height of the ostentatious early '90s. Nor is it over the top in the way that the new Américas on West Gray now is: purposefully zany, flamboyantly bold.

Nosh's bright interior packs a punch of purple velvet, mother-of-pearl tile, oversized silver booths and a sleek white bar that anchors the slim space. It has personality to spare. And at a time when so many bars and restaurants are aiming for "industrial modern" looks that lay bare every component from concrete to ducts, it's easy to see why this opulent little space can look overdone by comparison.

But as with all things, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

"Easy contender for best restaurant decor, right?" asked our Art Director, Monica Fuentes, when she finished reviewing the photos for this week's cafe review and slideshow.


That was my opinion as well. I find that Nosh Bistro looks like the kind of velvet-lined jewelry boxes I coveted as a little girl, with plush nooks for tucking in sparkling rings and a beveled mirror inside the lid to admire your finery.

There's something indulgent and inviting about dining in such a space, too. Something that counteracts all the hard, steely edges of the brick-and-beam spaces that have opened in the past year: Underbelly, Mongoose versus Cobra, Blacksmith, The Hay Merchant, Uchi.

There's room for both kinds of dining rooms in Houston. Indeed, there's room for a multitude of different dining rooms here, which is almost half the fun of eating out.

You're not just there for a change of cuisine, after all -- you're there for a change of scenery, too, whether it be the soaring ceilings and colorfully modern decor inside Decco Cafe or the low-slung, Shire-like quarters of Hobbit Cafe.

Outside is just as nice.
"It feels a little like Alice in Wonderland in here," my dining companion said during a recent visit to Nosh Bistro. Whether that's a good or a bad thing is up to you to decide.

Read more about Nosh Bistro's food (and a little bit more about the decor) in this week's cafe review, or browse through our slideshow to see the jewel box for yourself.

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Location Info

Nosh Bistro - CLOSED

3983 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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what i like about Nosh is that it's not an uptight 'chef driven' place that's overly ambitious, but more a reflection of what the owner, who has another unrelated business, likes to snack on when she's drinking and wants a bite to eat, hence the 'nosh' moniker. the decor, you can take or leave it, but it's not a big deal if you want a good bite and drink. I like it because the food has flavor (odd as it seems, many don't get into flavor like cumin, ginger, garlic etc) that's a nice counterpoint to a bland day. i'm with you, I like nosh

Mai Pham
Mai Pham topcommenter

I love the splashes of color and the opulent swankiness of Nosh. Kinda Vegas, kinda Liberace. It's a tiny space, so what they've done with it is amazing. Also, I think the decor is apropo for the kind of food they're serving (South Asian). It's Houston's own version of Bollywood combined with an homage to Prince's Purple Rain. 


I like it too, and you're completely right re the colorless, industrial/dungeon look of most new places. To me, that's an extension or counterpart of the preferred American wardrobe: black, grey, afraid of color generally. Europeans and Asians have less fear of using color, vivacious color...is it our puritan past? 

Can't wait to try the food here btw!


@Mai Pham  I wouldn't go expecting Bollywood or Prince fireworks, the staff is fairly buttoned-up and reserved really; Katharine's idea of going with fairly low expectations is more in order, and with that in mind, Nosh is a nice cozy corner in which to have a drink and snack, one that delivers on about the same level as going to happy hour at Indika. I'd feel odd, however, unfurling the napkins for a full service din-din, truth be told. 


@FattyFatBastard  you must be very, very old, but yes, and it's attached to a bank, and  within walking distance to twin peaks....a sure winner for the finance guys close by.

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