After 15 Years, Celebrity Chef Wolfgang Puck Once Again has a Houston Restaurant

III by Wolfgang Puck salmon salad

Way back in 2004, Wolfgang Puck opened a location of his Wolfgang Puck Gourmet Express chain in the Carillon center in the Westchase District. The celebrity chef, who’s also known for catering the Academy Awards, opened a second location in Sugar Land, but by 2007, both were closed. Now, 15 years later, and perhaps emboldened by a successful catering operation he started in Houston in 2019, Puck is back. His new restaurant is called III (“Three”) by Wolfgang Puck, and it’s in the former Third Coast Restaurant space on the top floor of the John P. McGovern Commons Building at 6550 Bertner in the Texas Medical Center, right above the fountain.

Of course, with a worldwide empire to run, Puck’s not helming the kitchen. That job belongs to chef Ronald Proano, who previously worked at The Ritz-Carlton in Washington D.C. He’s no stranger to Houston, though, as his job before that was as executive banquet chef at The Post Oak Hotel.

III by Wolfgang Puck’s menu seems to hit all the points of a modern, semi-upscale restaurant: “seasonally inspired menus,” local ingredients and “global influences.” The restaurant serves lunch, and dinner and (this is important) also offers happy hour, which runs from 3 to 6 p.m. and includes special bites such as Smoked Brisket Sliders with Caramelized Shallot Jam, Parmesan Arancini with Spicy Tomato Sauce and Crispy Chicken Wing Karaage with yuzu kosho (a Japanese condiment of peppers, yuzu peel and salt) and honey.

III by Wolfgang Puck
The former Third Coast Restaurant has been remodeled for III by Wolfgang Puck with a muted color scheme. Photo by Jenn Duncan.

The lunch menu features some international flavors without being too challenging for a diverse crowd of Texas Medical Center workers and visitors, who come from all over the world for care. Some examples include a flat iron steak with blistered peppers and spicy red chimichurri, a garlicky Argentinian condiment, and grilled salmon salad that clearly received Japanese inspiration by way of its unagi glaze and pickled vegetables. Other approachable options include tortilla soup and Ground Brisket and Short Rib Burger with one-year aged cheddar.

If you’ve always wanted to try one of Puck’s signature dishes, the Pork Wienerschnitzel with Austrian Potatoes and Dill Cucumber, dinner is the time to visit. Another substantial dinner entrée is the Steamed Gulf Snapper “Hong Kong” Style with Jasmine Rice and Chili Soy. Starters include Spring Pea Soup — which can be divine when peas are in season — with fingerling potatoes, chives, chipotle and spring onion, and the very French Spring Vegetable Lyonnaise Salad with a soft-poached egg, mustard vinaigrette, chicory, housemade crouton and applewood smoked bacon. Desserts are not yet listed on the website menus, but another point of interest are sharable side dishes for the table, such as Four Cheese Mac & Cheese and Broccolini Almondine.

Drinks are also not posted online yet, but we acquired a copy of the beverage list. With selections that include a Pinot Noir from Puck’s own California vineyards, as well as respectable-looking Italian choices such Ruvei from Barbera d’ Alba, wine is probably the way to go. Cocktails lean less towards the creative, and more towards the iterative, such as the Pineapple Ginger Mojito with Bacardi rum, ginger, pineapple and mint and the Pear-fect Martini with Absolut Pear Vodka, Bartlett pear purée and lime. As far as the beer list goes, it’s anchored by American adjunct lagers, with a few nods to Texas: Shiner, Saint Arnold and Karbach.

“We are delighted to announce our partnership with the world-renowned Wolfgang Puck Catering,” said William McKeon, Texas Medical Center (TMC) President and C.E.O. via press release. “Our restaurant, III by Wolfgang Puck, will provide a tremendous experience for TMC employees, visitors, and the Greater Houston community to connect in the heart of our medical city. We are excited to welcome the Wolfgang Puck Catering team to our campus.”

III by Wolfgang Puck is open only Monday through Friday. The lunch hours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner is from 5 to 9 p.m. Reservations can be made online or by calling  (713) 749-0400.


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