Whenever I discuss Houston with people from the east coast or midwestern cities like Chicago, they pepper me with questions about our downtown and the fact that it’s not really the hub of night time activity like their hometowns. I share with them the sad story of what once was, the Main Street strip of clubs and bars which are now boarded up. Then go on to how the crowd moved to areas like Washington and Midtown. All while thinking how it’s kinda sad that our downtown night life kinda sucks!
Well guess what Houston, a revival is happening! Riding on the heels of the Super Bowl we are seeing more restaurants and bars popping up in various areas in Downtown. Rightfully so, Astros owner Jim Crane jumped into the restaurant business opening two connected concepts, Potente and Osso and Kristalla. I along with my Houston Food Blogger Collective friends, had the pleasure of visiting these two spots during their soft opening. In short, these should be added to your “must go” list!
Potente and Osso & Kristalla are located right by Minute Maid Park. I anticipate they will pull in your baseball crowd and perhaps Toyota Center guests as well. The restaurants are connected by a small courtyard and share a kitchen, but offer different menus and vibes. For example, Potente is just sexy. It’s dark, all black with subtle gold accents. This restaurant opens at 5pm and expects to serve the night crowd with their impressive bar. Osso & Kristalla is actually named after Crane’s kids and fitting with the name is family oriented. This spot opens early, has a brighter more family friendly set up. So basically take the family and kiddos to Osso & Kristalla and then meet your girls next door at Potente after slipping into a cocktail dress.
For our tasting, we were set up on the Osso & Kristalla side. Much of what we tasted appeared on the Osso menu as well, but we got to really experience both.
I am not event a big drinker, but I love any event that starts with them putting a drink in my hand! Why I do not mind of I do! For starters, I had a frozen negroni which I thought was fun. Then one of their super talented bartenders treated us to a show with a fiery cocktail which stands out more in the dark setting of Potente.
Where do I begin?! Okay let me start with my favorite dish the PIZZA. The chef explained that they use a 100 year old yeast starter which he “inherited” from a friend. So they have a 100 year head start on your favorite pizza spot just FYI. Beyond just the amazing crust, the ingredients were fresh and well portioned. Just a truly amazing pizza!
A few other things I enjoyed:
I honestly worried that this spot may be a bit kitschy due to location next to the bar park, but it is not. Potente and Osso & Kristalla combine some of my favorite aspects of a good restaurant. Great in the loop location, beautiful set up and decor, great drinks AND the most important thing GOOD FOOD.