HOUSTON – A 1930s era bungalow bordering Montrose and Upper Kirby is finding a delicious afterlife as Nobie’s, an intimate, new “no reservation” neighborhood charmer for dinner, cocktails and late night bites. The casually cool concept, much like its eclectic and mostly residential surroundings on Colquitt Street, has been influenced by a wide variety of traditions and styles, both contemporary and traditional, creating a familiar yet unexpected destination in a space that was previously Au Petit Paris. The intimate setting and dim atmosphere makes it the perfect date night setting or honeycomb hideout!
Led by owner and Executive Chef Martin Stayer, who cut his culinary teeth with Scott Tycer at Aries in Houston and honed his craft in Chicago at Michelin-starred L20 and Moto restaurants, the Nobie’s team brings decades of fine dining experience to a decidedly more relaxed table, where a thoughtfully modern approach to food and beverage culture is poised make a lasting impact on the city’s restaurant scene.
Nobie’s Sous Chef, Aaron Mooney, is graduate of the CIA in Hyde Park, NY and an alum of acclaimed Windy City establishments including Gilt Bar, Elizabeth and Telegraph Wine Bar. Mooney has quickly found a following for his hand-rolled pastas. Dominique Ruiz, a longtime Schiller Del Grande Restaurant Group employee, serves as General Manager and Sommelier. And rounding out operations is Bar Manager Sarah Troxell, who worked with Ruiz at Coltivare.
Stayer, who took a hands-on approach to the renovation process with friends and family, preserved much of the exterior, except for minor paint changes and the addition of a small, inviting patio for 24 lined with planters holding herbs for some of the restaurant’s dishes and cocktails. The more dramatic transformation took place inside the 57-seat venue, where original wood accents were uncovered and interior walls were removed to create a more open floorplan with a central bar serving as a hub for the entry, small lounge and two dining rooms.
“I want guests to feel like they have walked into a family member’s home, and I think we have accomplished that with the design, which meshes vintage, new and repurposed elements,” Stayer said.
Upon entering, diners are greeted with a portrait of Nobie, Stayer’s grandmother, whom the restaurant is named after and largely inspired by. Music is a signature element of the congenial ambiance at Nobie’s, and an impressive display of vinyl records along with vintage sound system, including classic speakers, record player and tape deck, serve as focal decorative elements. Throughout the evening, the staff selects records from Stayer’s quirky collection, spanning Johnny Cash to Outkast, to set the mood, and regulars have already been bringing in their own for the rotation.
Nobie’s offers a curated and constantly evolving menu of 20-25 daily items focused on approachable, albeit innovative, items incorporating seasonal ingredients from land and sea. The restaurant is dedicated to locally sourcing whenever possible with fresh produce from nearby farms and Gulf Coast seafood, which is delivered daily.
Highlights of the easily shareable menu include “spread ‘ems” like “Old Fashioned” Chicken Liver Mousse – mimicking the cocktail namesake in presentation – with cherry jelly and orange expression; and Texas Tartare with smoked jalapeno, parsley, capers and deviled egg. Small plates range from Thai Crispy Rice Salad with shrimp, peanuts, herbs, chili and lime to Avec Dates with merguez, bacon and romesco. “AA Artichokes” marinated and fried and served with smoked tomato aioli; Beer Battered Sweet Tots with harissa spice and goat cheese; and a trio of oyster offerings are among the appetizer highlights. Triple Seared Tri-Tip Beef with soy, sake and cabbage; Nonno’s Pasta with tagliatelle, Bolognese and parmesan; and Grilled Octopus with crispy red potatoes, artichokes and salsa verde are a few of the entrée offerings.
Craft cocktail offerings change frequently with three to four typically spotlighted in a typical week complementing kitchen offerings. The bar staff can also make any classic cocktail, and beer offerings include three on draft. Nobie’s ever-evolving wine program highlights unexpected choices like biodynamic and natural wines, as well as small producers, with an emphasis on lesser-known regions and affordable price points.
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Nobie’s is located at 2048 Colquitt Street and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5 pm until midnight. For information, visit nobieshtx.com or call 346.319.5919.