Opening Soon: The Lounge at MARCH Restaurant
MARCH, the Mediterranean fine dining concept from Goodnight Hospitality, was scheduled to open earlier this year but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the meantime, The Lounge at MARCH Restaurant opens November 19. The Lounge focuses on a more casual experience than the restaurant and serves an assortment of handcrafted drinks, savory snacks and sweets.
The Lounge’s debut menu focuses on The Levant, a geographical region of the Eastern Mediterranean that includes the nations of Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and Iraq. Chef and partner Felipe Riccio and his team have spent years researching the exchange of ingredients and food throughout the Mediterranean region. Riccio has also been exploring his roots as a Mexican native and son of an Italian father and Spanish mother. “The food of the Mediterranean, specifically The Levant, is the food of the people,” said Riccio. “This food and these flavors are approachable and recognizable. Yet the format and intimacy of MARCH allows us to take the time to show you a different part of ourselves and our cooking. Dining is a joyous affair, and we’re letting our inner nerds have some fun.”
Guests can purchase a $48 ticketed reservation on Resy to secure their experience, which includes a half glass of champagne, a beverage from The Lounge’s signature cocktail menu and savory and sweet bites like harissa mille-feuille and carrot basbousa. After the amuse bouche, guests can “choose their own adventure” by ordering from one of three supplemental menus — Harvest, Pasture, or Tide — each with four dishes representing seasonal vegetable, meat or seafood dishes. The produce is grown by partner farm Good Thyme Farm.
The MARCH sommelier team, which includes general manager/beverage director Mark Sayre and sommeliers Skyler Ring, Christina Walther and Alexandra Faulkner, have been hosting weekly virtual blind tastings for the past eight months and curating MARCH’s 11,000-bottle cellar. Just as Riccio’s food menu is a deep dive into the history of a region, the wine list at MARCH goes deep into the history of producers the team loves, specifically focusing on the breadth of single producer programs. “Wine and food are about connections,” said Goodnight Hospitality partner and Master Sommelier June Rodil. “We’ve missed being able to have those connections with our guests. We’ve been itching to serve the Houston community and introduce our amazing team to them in person.”
The bar is managed by Alex Negranza. At MARCH, cocktails are the conduit to conversations, not the subject. While complex and thoughtful, the menu offers a range of flavors and styles that allows each guest to find something familiar, yet adventurous. The Tini Apple cocktail, made with vermouth, mint and cinnamon, is not quite an apple martini, but also not a sweet cocktail utilizing artificial sweeteners. The cocktail blends three-year-aged Calvados from Roger Groult with dry vermouth, a clarified apple syrup, with just a touch of spiced herbs.
The space was designed by Houston-based Curtis & Windham Architects and New York City’s Studio Robert McKinley. The 700-square-foot lounge is anchored by a bespoke Murano glass chandelier above the bar with art by German artist Christoph Ruckhäberle, known for his bold, figurative paintings of youthful bohemians, and Brooklyn-born, Texas-raised Matt Kleberg. Attention to detail is evident throughout the lounge, from the 1960s Champagne cart designed by Italian furniture designer Aldo Tura, to the lounge chairs, which are authorized reproductions of British sculptural designer Faye Toogood’s Roly Poly dining chairs. The Lounge is designed to be a cozy, intimate space with no more than 16 people seated at a time.
The MARCH Lounge will be open starting November 19 through January 9, 2021, Thursdays through Saturdays from 5 to 10 p.m. It is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and will be open on Sundays during those weeks.