Before the Fonseca concert last night at Bayou Music Center, we enjoyed a tour de force meal at IXÍM at Bravery Chef Hall. I had eaten delicious chilaquiles here for lunch and was anxious to return. Bravery Chef Hall was buzzing last night--so wonderful to see! And since we were a table of 6, we were able to order a significant chunk of the Ixím menu. Expect a brilliant take on the flavors, textures, and colors of the foods of México--some of the dishes here rank among the best weve eaten all year.
We started with a gorgeous aguachile de camarón--if I was creating a perfect summer menu for Houston, it would include this dish. The albóndigas fritas might need to be on the menu, too--these pork and lamb delights basted in an avocado purée with black cumin are pure magic.
For entrees, we had a tender arrachera marinated in citrus and topped with a salsa de epazote; a crispy roasted chicken breast in a pipian rojo with a selection of greens common in Mexico; a "bawlers board" wood plank overflowing with the parrillada de carne (sirloin, house-made chorizo, and lamb belly) with a trio of decadent spicy salsas; and my favorite dish of all--fideos topped with shrimp, octopus, and lobster. All were great, but the fideos is the one that will most be haunting my food-filled dreams.
The perfect thick corn tortillas, too, will make your eyes roll, and we definitely recommend ordering the 3 sides of arroz, frijoles charros, and the esquites. Im having a hard time thinking of a place that makes these dishes better than here.
Ixím is not cheap, but its worth it. And if you want the perfect wine to go with this meal, order the Skerk orange wine from the Wine Bar next door. It tastes even better if you dont chill it--the flavors really spring forth once the chill wears down. It perfectly complimented the extraordinary meal we had last night.
Bravery Chef Hall
Bravery Chef Hall is a modern food hall which features 5 chef stations with seating for guests per station as well as community style seating in the surrounding space. The design allows for multiple styles of dining where patrons can either sit at the chef’s station or a community style seating area. In addition to the 5 stations, there is also be two cocktail bars, a large wine bar, a coffee lounge and a back patio with ample seating.
To create a cohesive yet individualist design for the chef stations at Bravery Chef Hall, shades of blue were chosen to be incorporated throughout the design. From the dark blue subway tile at the Atlas Diner to the custom cement tile with blue stars at the wine bar, each station has colors that flow together yet they all include different finishes. Mix-matched chairs were chosen to be used throughout the space, as well. At one chef station wicker chairs were used while at another station bright red chairs were used to go along with diner theme at that restaurant. Large and numerous black wrought iron windows were added along the front wall to allow natural light to stream all through the food hall. The same black wrought iron material was also used for the patio bar glass enclosure as well to tie the design together. Along with that, wood accents were included throughout the food hall as either countertops, vent hoods, floating shelves, or tables. These natural finishes helped brighten up the food hall and accent against the cool tones and modern design.
Not too long ago we Houstonians were patiently waiting the opening of all the food halls we were promised. Well, Understory opened its doors last month, and Bravery Chef Hall, inside Aris Market Square downtown, is now open for dinner service. Lunch is coming July
The food hall revolution has finally arrived.
Bravery, though, is different from the other halls that primarily feature well-established or relatively hot concepts. Here, though, the chef takes center stage, as each vendor is like a miniature restaurant, the first attempt for all of these kitchen leaders in running the show. In that sense, the excitement for innovation (especially in small spaces where menus will be sharp and succinct) is pretty high.
There's Blind Goat, the first concept run by chef Christine Hà, the winner of the third season of MasterChef. Hà, who is blind, is a second-generation Vietnamese-American who was born in Los Angeles but moved to Houston when she was young. At Blind Goat, she offers dishes inspired by Vietnamese street eats, from puffed rice noodles with tofu to beef carpaccio with puffed prawn chips. Texture and flavor prove big here.
Atlas Diner, from Richard Knight, who previously worked at Feast and Hunky Dory, promises big-budget global fare with a modern diner aesthetic. And it'll be open late Friday and Saturday nights. Look for masala dosa and eggs, bangers and mash, and an omelet breakfast roll among fare at this counter.
Black Hill Ranch's Felix Flores and chef Jessica Timmons run Cherry Block Craft Butcher & Kitchen, a locavore spot that'll focus on Southern grub like shrimp and cracklins, shrimp andouille-stuffed ribeye cap, and blackened catfish. Tip: Get the Black Hill pork chop, a ounce hunk straight from the pig farm.
BOH Pasta & Pizza, from Ben McPherson, formerly of Prohibition Supper Club and Krisp Bird & Batter, feels like a personal adventure for the chef. Sure there's al dente carbonara and spaghetti, but he's also serving up Roman-style pizza. There's now a hole left by the exit of Pizza Motus, but we wonder if McPherson will find success when Frank's is literally next door.
Kokoro brings former Uchi cooks Daniel Lee and Patrick Pham together for a mostly sushi concept. For lunch it'll be almost entirely maki, sashimi, and nigiri, while for dinner a couple yakitori dishes will come out. Look for the tebasaki: chicken wing with yuzu kosho butter. A few small sides here are highlighted by aromatic chicken fat and furikake in sticky rice.
Bravery also has three bars. There's Lockwood Station, helmed by David Daiquiri, who was successful in pitching his bar concept to Bravery's team. Here, Daiquiri is mastering minimalism, serving up four menu cocktails while doing everything small batch. He'll also be recording his podcast on the industry right inside the bar.
There's also Secret Garden Bar from Jonathan Gallardo (Prohibition). This glassed-in space out in Bravery's courtyard could be a major hit with daytime coffee service, and evening carbonated cocktails and frozen drinks.
Plus, there's Bravery Wine Bar, where Bravery partner Shepard Ross (other partners are Anh Mai and Lian Nguyen) will showcase 30 wines on tap. The wine here will all correspond to offerings at the food vendors; so, when ordering a meal, you can get a highly curated glass of wine that pairs with it.
Finally, Gaggenau and FBS have collaborated with Bravery on a pop-up, cooking class, demonstration, and private event space called Stage, which be occupied after the chef hall gets running.
The hall can seat up to , though the hottest chairs will be up at the counters of each vendor, as guests will want to chat with chefs.
Once fully operational, Bravery will be open 11 a.m p.m. Sun.-Thurs., and 11 a.m p.m. Fri.-Sat., with Atlas Diner and Secret Garden Bar open until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Of all Houston's halls, Bravery feels the most like an old-school urban food market. Opening last July in a labyrinthine space at the ground floor of downtown apartment building Aris Market Square, it offers three bars and five chef counters where cooks chop, flip, and fire food right in front of you.
The idea is for Bravery to nurture concepts while helping chefs, who rent out their stalls for three years, make the money they need to move into the next phase of their careers. “This whole project was based entirely on stripping away the layer of service—the service would be done at the counters—so that all of the tip share would go to the vendors themselves, to the staffs entirely. They can make twice as much as they would make at a conventional restaurant,” says Shepard Ross, partner at Company of Nomads, which operates Bravery and is in the process of opening the upcoming Railway Heights market and moving Conservatory. So, for example, Uchi alums Daniel Lee and Patrick Pham, who operate Kokoro at Bravery, are applying what they’ve learned to their newest standalone concept, Handies Douzo in the Heights.
Inside Bravery's industrial-chic space, each eatery has its own distinct design. The centerpiece is the long Bravery Wine Bar, whose 30 draft wines span the globe, from Napa to Austria. Guests can order a drink there, at the front-of-house cocktail bar, or at Secret Garden in the courtyard. All of which adds up to a plethora of options for eating and drinking, and a robust customer base. “Lunch business definitely is fine,” says Ross, “but we pull more of a dinner clientele than we realized we would.”
What to expect, straight from the chefs
- The chefs: Daniel Lee and Patrick Pham The concept: Sashimi, nigiri, and maki, plus yakitori and izakaya-style bites, by the talented Uchi alums
- Why Bravery? “The space is so small, we felt this was the best first restaurant we could do,” says Lee. “And being downtown, you’re in a prime spot.” What’s special? “My background is Vietnamese, and his background is Korean,” says Pham. “So just because we’re doing sushi doesn’t mean you have to stick to the tradition.”
- Signature dish? Chicken fried rice topped with a fried egg. “When we were looking at the tickets, we were like, ‘Whoa, this is the most popular thing we’re selling,” says Pham. “We were very surprised.”
- Favorite dish at another Bravery concept? Spaghetti at BOH. “The dough, the sauce he makes—it’s good!” says Lee. “Crazy good.”
BOH Pasta & Pizza
- The chef: Ben McPherson
- The concept: Homemade pasta and Roman-style wood-oven-fired pizza by Houston’s go-to pasta maker
- Why Bravery? “It’s the chef focus, so clearly I can put my best foot forward. They let me push myself and have complete confidence in me.”
- What’s special? “I try to do the most technically forward work I can with pasta and pizza, with the simplest ingredients.”
- Signature dish? Pappardelle Bolognese. “I’ve had it everywhere I’ve ever been.”
- Favorite dish at another Bravery concept? The gumbo at Cherry Block. “They use potato salad instead of rice, so it adds that creamy, over-the-top, punch-you-in-the-face feeling.”
- The chef: Jess Timmons
- The concept: Timmons has partnered with Felix Florez, owner of Black Hill Ranch, for her ranch-to-plate cuisine.
- Why Bravery? “This was a way to diversify himself,” says Timmons of Florez, who secured a spot at Bravery before recruiting her. “Our goal is to go out and do more than one Cherry Block but keep that small counter-service feel.”
- What’s special? “The pasture-to-plate aspect is super-important,” says Timmons, explaining that Florez brings in an animal every week, which she butchers and cooks. “Everything we’re getting is from here on the Gulf Coast.” Signature dish? Gulf and Ranch, an andouille-stuffed ribeye cap. “You can get a ribeye somewhere, you can get a filet somewhere, but it’s not going to be as good.”
- Favorite dish at another Bravery concept? The bacon-and-avocado omelet at Atlas Diner. “It’s Japanese-style—a rolled omelet that’s double-cooked, so it’s nice and fluffy.”
The Blind Goat
- The chef: Christine Hà
- The concept: Vietnamese street food from Houston’s own season-three winner of MasterChef
- Why Bravery? “I thought managing a small station with only 16 counter seats, inside a hall where I’m long diner shift. Gotta be fast on my feet!” I'm surrounded by seasoned chefs, would help me get my feet wet.”
- What’s special? “I wanted to showcase lesser-known dishes—mainly street foods and home-style comfort foods—with my own personal, modern twist.”
- Signature dish? Rubbish apple pie. “I put a Vietnamese twist on the American classic by adding spices reminiscent of pho and doing a fish sauce caramel.”
- Favorite dish at another Bravery concept? Shrimp and cracklins at Cherry Block. “It’s low-carb, and the proteins are always cooked well.”
- The chef: Catt Lee
- The concept: Old school diner counter with blue-plate specials and an all-day breakfast
- Why Bravery? "The open kitchen and diner-counter experience allows the guests to become part of the culture we are trying to create. I get to chat with them while I prepare their food. Truly interactive!"
- What's special? “Our concept allows us to do offbeat takes on diner classics, and most of our ingredients are locally sourced and thoughtfully prepared.”
- Signature dish? Butter chicken and chips. “It’s great to share with your table, and the flavors really pop. It’s become a crowd favorite.”
- Favorite dish at another Bravery concept? Peanut tofu at The Blind Goat. “The noodles are perfectly chewy, and the peanut sauce is the perfect marriage of spicy and vinegary. It’s still light enough to eat before a long diner shift. Gotta be fast on my feet!”
Bravery Chef Hall Breakdown
- Address: Travis St.
- Hours: 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Sun–Thurs; 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Fri–Sat
- Kid-Friendly? Yes, but best before 5 p.m.
- Parking: On street metered until 6 p.m.; public lots and garages
- Seating: Dining tables, counter and bar seats; outdoor tables at Cherry Block and Secret Garden
Chef hall bravery
Bravery Chef Hall is OPEN!
We are offering DINE-IN service inside and on our patios and are following current state and federal CDC guidelines for your safety. We know our guests are eager to dine out again and our staff are ready to serve up genuine hospitality.
DELIVERY & TAKEOUT
DELIVERY & TAKEOUT services are offered, individually, by each concept kitchen. Please refer to their social media and websites for online ordering information.
The Blind Goat Chef Christine Ha
The Sighted Pig Test Kitchen Chef Christine Ha
BOH Pasta & Pizza Chef Ben McPherson
Kokoro Chefs Daniel Lee and Patrick Pham
Margauxs Oyster Bar & Margaux Button Chefs Choey Dang & Sunny Vohra
OPENING JULY IXIM Mexican Cuisine Chef Tim Reading
Bravery Wine Bar
Secret Garden Bar
The Italian Job Craft Coffee & Cocktails
HOURS OF OPERATION
I was no longer able to restrain an orgasm, and at that moment Oleg's penis swelled to gigantic proportions and he released his wonderful juice into my mouth, half of which. I swallowed, and half spread over my lips and face. I immediately began to hammer in a convulsive orgasm, especially since Andrei released a huge portion of his hot sperm into me.
It was amazingly warm inside me and sperm oozed down my legs, my whole face and mouth were splattered with delicious sperm, and I, with a happy smile, completely.
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I start movements, slow and deep. Slightly wet from the bath, the cool ends of my hair sometimes touch your face, and I break away from kisses and burrow my nose. Into your fluffy hair. My arms embrace and hold you under your shoulders, your hips move towards mine, your breasts rub pleasantly against my breasts. Your body arches under mine, and this is an incredible pleasure for me.