Restaurateur Ian Tucker to Open Poitín in Houston
Poitín—located at 2313 Edwards Street in the heart of the burgeoning Washington Avenue Arts District—will open at Sawyer Yards on Monday, May 14th. The 9,600-square-foot full-service restaurant and bar is the brainchild of restaurateur Ian Tucker, who last year launched Balls Out Burger in the Heights following 16 years of experience owning and managing successful concepts in his native Dublin. To bring his vision for the multifaceted concept to life, Tucker worked with Houston-based Studio RED Architects to create a stunning 3,650-square-foot interior surrounded by dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows offering multiple experiences under the 12-foot “catwalk clouds” hanging from the vaulted ceiling. The 116-seat dining room exudes a communal aesthetic and will give guests the feeling of a collective dining experience, while the three private dining rooms can accommodate up to 24, 36, and 64 people, respectively. The 1,200-square-foot shaded patio centers around a live oak tree and comes with the added allure of dazzling views of Houston’s gleaming downtown skyline. The show-stopping bar—demarcated from the dining room by an oversized banquet—serves as a design focal point thanks to a curved 28-foot bar reminiscent of a classic New York City hotel. With the help of interior designer Erin Hicks, the building’s industrial chic aesthetic has been warmed up with additional finishes and textures that give the entirety of the space an unmistakable convivial spirit. “Poitín celebrates the diversity of Houston with its menu, its cocktail program and its overall unpretentious atmosphere,” Tucker said. He added, “Just as the City of Houston opens its doors to immigrants from around the world, Poitín welcomes all-comers. As an immigrant myself, I have been embraced by the Houston community and have envisioned this restaurant to be a culinary embodiment of the city’s inclusive spirit.”
As such, Tucker has assembled a veritable dream team, starting with Executive Chef Dominick Lee—the rising star former sous chef at Kiran’s—whose inspired menu draws influences from his New Orleans roots, culinary experiences in Houston, and bold flavors from culinary capitals around the world. Foodie-centric entrees dotting the dinner menu include Slow-Braised Lamb Neck with harissa, ras al hanout, dates, prunes, and cauliflower couscous; Marble Ranch Wagyu with chimichurri, papa rellanos, and dulce de leche carrots; and Herb Infused Ricotta Ravioli with cherry tomatoes, spinach-parmesan cream, and hen of the woods. -MORE- POITÍN ANNOUNCEMENT / PAGE 2 Dory Fung – who previously served as Head Pastry Chef at Houston hot spot Yauatcha – will add to the prowess of Lee’s kitchen as Executive Pastry Chef. Fung has also lent her pastry skills to the buzzy culinary outpost Aqui and as Assistant Pastry Chef at Houston Country Club. Todd Leveritt—another New Orleans native—will serve as Poitín’s Director of Operations. Leveritt has nearly 15 years of experience in restaurant management under his belt after serving as a Non-Commissioned Officer in the Marine Corps Infantry.
The decidedly sophisticated bar program will highlight the actual poitín spirit in several of the artfully crafted cocktails that make up the extensive menu. Beverage Director Sarah Cuneo—who cut her teeth at Pastry War and Anvil Bar & Refuge—will work alongside Kevin Doherty, former Assistant Bar Manager at Tucker’s awardwinning Dublin gastropub The Exchequer (named Best Cocktail Experience in Ireland three out of the past five years). Doherty will provide invaluable experience given his previous work with poitín and his intimate knowledge of running a high-level cocktail program. Doherty and Cuneo will work in tandem in the development and execution of the all the craft cocktails offered on the bar menu. Christa Havican—formerly of Reserve 101 and Kata Robata, among others—will join Cuneo as Bar Manager to form a powerhouse bar tandem slated to reignite the same Thelma & Louise-style chemistry they enjoyed at The Pass & Provisions. The rotating 125-bottle wine program is equally ambitious and will feature varietals from far-flung regions hand selected by Sommelier Shannon Noelle Crow, formerly of 13 Celsius, who has carefully crafted a wine list composed entirely of natural, organic, and / or sustainable wines. Roughly half of the bottles on the list are accessibly priced at $65 or below to encourage guests to venture out from their comfort zone with wines that pair harmoniously with the bold flavors on Chef Dominick’s menu