Closed Tasting Menu Restaurant is Reborn as a Dining Experience in Montrose
An Uchi alum is giving his tasting menu restaurant another go, this time not only in a different space, but in a new neighborhood. On September 1, chef Thomas Stacy is officially re-debuting ReikiNa at Native Coffee, located in a recently remodeled building at 1712 West Dallas. The 1910-era, glass-fronted space was once an auto garage.
While the return is being called a pop-up series, there’s actually a consistent schedule: Thursday through Saturday night with seatings at 6, 7:15 and 8:30 p.m. Only eight people are booked per seating, and there’s an option for a private table. (Those who don’t want to wait until September 1 to try the reinvigorated ReikiNa tasting experience can try and grab one of the last few seats for two sneak peaks hosted on the final two Thursdays in August.)
Stacy initially opened ReikiNa (a portmanteau of the Japanese words “reiki” and “sakana” intended to mean “divine snacks”) in the Memorial area at CityCentre. While the dishes could be intriguing, the venue had problems. It was a cavernous, shotgun space. Guests were seated at a community table (for what should have been an intimate tasting experience) all the way in the back. Efforts to turn the front into a walk-in lounge area never took off. Worse, it was a second-floor space with absolutely no signage visible from the ground.
“I learned a lot from the previous iteration of the concept,” Stacy said via a press release. “I want to do it a bit differently this time – more rustic, with fewer courses, larger portions, and the option for guests to sit at their own table. I couldn’t be more excited to bring these new changes to the Montrose community – the place where I grew up and where the pop-ups originally started. ReikiNa is centered around creative expression, and Montrose is a perfect place to match that creative energy.”
Stacy decided to close up shop at CityCentre, but kept the tasting menu experience going through private dinners — which is how he got the idea for ReikiNa in the first place.
Another big change from the original: the price. Previously, ReikiNa’s tasting menu had eight courses and cost $150. Now, the pop-ups offer five courses and only cost an approachable $100.
The menu changes every two months. The current one is:
- Yellowtail Sashimi – Apricot Jam – Tamari – Olive Oil – Crispy Potato
- Sesame Caesar – Pickled Kohlrabi & Cherry Tomato – Burnt Sourdough
- Smoked Cod Agnolotti – Bonito Flake Cream Sauce
- Smoked RC Ranch Wagyu – Kalbi Mustard Greens – Miso Potato
- Nectarine Icebox Pie – Homemade Vanilla Marshmallow – Vanilla Egg Custard – Nilla Wafer
Alcoholic beverages are not for sale, but BYOB is welcomed.
At some point, Stacy may again open his own brick-and-mortar restaurant, but his pop-ups will remain at Native Coffee for the foreseeable future. Reservations can be made through Resy.
Phaedra Cook has written about Houston’s restaurant and bar scene since 2010. She was a regular contributor to My Table magazine (now closed) and was the lead restaurant critic for the Houston Press for two years, eventually being promoted to food editor. Cook founded Houston Food Finder in November 2016 and has been its editor and publisher ever since.