Earlier this week, I visited Kulture with a group of food blogger friends. Kulture is a new restaurant in the convention center part of downtown, owned and operated by Marcus Davis, the owner of the Breakfast Klub. Now, the Breakfast Klub is truly a Houston institution, so I was eager to visit this new concept! In short, as the name implies, this restaurant is the epitome of “For the Kulture!”
Kulture took up residence in the Avendia Houston building which connects to the new Marriot Marquis Houston. With a prime location, Kulture will certainly pull the after work crowd from downtown. The location though does not provide much street parking, but luckily there is an attached parking garage. Since Kulture validates parking, you really cannot beat this option.
After parking, I made my way down the elevator to the main floor where Kulture is housed. When entering from the building, you are greeted by a quiet, cozy area packed with pillows. Our hosts told us this space is intended for business folks seeking a quiet reprieve to get some work done.
From there you enter the main dining room with the bar to the left. In keeping with current Houston trends, there is an instagrammable Kulture sign hanging above the bar. Just above the bar there is a loft area that can be used for private events. Back down into the main dining room, there is an organic flow with nice tables and chairs each different. In the back corner, there is a stage just ripe for future musical guests. Beyond that space there is a semi private area that they hope to make more private in the future with the inclusion of curtains.
I have described this space as the prime happy hour spot. As such, their bar has to be on point! We started out our tasting with their signature drink, the Mahogany 75, a play on one of my faves, a French 75. For the simple syrup, they opted for brown sugar because #melaninated. They also added cognac instead of your standard gin. Again, as the name implies this drink is so darn black! I did not think I could have loved a French 75 anymore than I do, but trust this version is a win!
I have heard good things about their other cocktails as well. If the Mahogany 75 is a reflection of the rest of the drink offerings then you cannot go wrong with any of the choices.
We started with small plates of black eye pea hummus and mac and cheese. I have never been a huge fan of hummus, but apparently in the black eye form I like it! This dish is very flavorful plus it’s gluten free. The mac and cheese was easily one of my favorite dish of the evening. Cheesy goodness, topped with a parmesan crisp and a bit of bechamel sauce. Delicious!
Next up, we tried the calas and collards dip. A spin on your traditional spinach and artichoke dip. At this moment, our tasting kicked up a notch with the inclusion of some great history of the calas dish. I think I could best describe calas as the savory cousin of a beignet made with rice. Women of color would sell these dishes in the streets of New Orleans in the 1880s. They are sadly not as popular now, but really good. If you order anything, be sure to order this dish! Next we had the collard green purses topped with a turkey. For the most part this is your traditional collard greens just folded neatly in the dish.
Finally, we ended with a whole fried branzino topped with homemade cole slaw. So they brought us out small samples of this and then the actual entree. We definitely went for the large entree after the dinner because it was so good! Fried to perfection and seasoned perfectly. This is a must order on your visit to Kulture. In short, I thoroughly enjoyed every dish I tried and that is rare at a food tasting!
The Kulture menu is not too big just yet, but they promised that they will continue to grow the menu as time goes on. After our initial introduction to the menu, we debated the cuisine amongst our group. Is it Southern Food or Soul Food? (Do NOT get me started on the varied of these two terms). Then the chef Dawn Burrell came out and talked about caribbean and Asian influences in her dishes. Well my tastes buds decided that all of this is food of the diaspora i.e. soul food. Again, #ForTheKulture!
Food aside, I think my friend Renia from Gristle and Gossip described Kulture best, it is our own little Wakanda. A place in a prime location, that celebrates us and our culture! Mark my words, this will be the go to happy hour spot for young professionals by the summer. If you are like me and like to be up on things before all of your friends, then you may want to get in early!