New Poitín boldly explores Houston’s cross-cultural cuisine

THE CONCEPT

A new restaurant, named for Irish moonshine, at Sawyer Yards in the First Ward arts district that pays homage to Houston’s cross-cultural cuisine, with nods to owner Ian Tucker’s native Ireland. Tucker also owns Balls Out Burger in the Heights.

THE SPACE

The 9,600-square-foot, 400-seat restaurant, designed by Studio RED Architects, features dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows, a main dining room washed in shades of dark blue and gray, three private dining rooms and a large shaded patio. The 28-foot bar is intended to be reminiscent of a classic New York hotel. “Industrial but elegant,” Tucker says of the overall look.

THE FOOD

Twenty-nine-year-old executive chef Dominick Lee, who previously worked at Kiran’s, has taken Tucker’s directive for “bold, intense flavors” to heart. The menu trots the globe, swinging from starters such as scallop aguachile with fried green tomatoes to fried duck legs with pomegranate-molasses-ginger glaze and chili potatoes to a theatrically plated whole fried black sea bass served with a papaya salad, grilled mango and sticky rice. The Irish influence shows up in pork collar with compressed cabbage, Irish potato cake and Creole mustard glaze, for example, and in pastry chef Dory Fung’s Poitín Baba, a ricotta cake that has been soaked in a poitín syrup and served with barley ice cream.

 
 

THE DRINKS

Inventive cocktails include the Smoked Old Fashioned made with Old Grand-dad bourbon; the Swayback with sweet-potato infused vodka and fennel liqueur; and the Sancho, which involves mezcal and chocolate mole bitters. And yes, poitín figures into some drinks, too. Beer is available in draft or bottle, from the $15 Unibroue La Fin du Monde Abbey Tripel to Miller High Life. Interesting wine list with some unusual options.

 

ONE MORE THING

Poitín is pronounced “PUUT-cheen.”