Owner of The Pit Room & Candente Rolls Out Houston Steakhouse
The long wait for Sambrooks Management Group’s steakhouse is over. Andiron opens today at 3201 Allen Parkway with cocktails at 4 p.m. and full-service dinner starting at 5 p.m. The company is also behind The Pit Room, The Patio at The Pit Room and Candente.
In charge of the kitchen is executive chef Louis Maldonado, whose past experience includes top West Coast restaurants French Laundry, Mourad and Cortez, which was sold and then closed in 2009 after receiving one Michelin star the prior year. Maldonado has two additional claims to fame: he was named as People’s “Sexiest Chef Alive” in 2018, and was a Top Chef finalist in 2014. Mario Da Silva is chef de cuisine, Katie O’Hara is pastry chef and José Montufar is the maitre’d. Montufar is a 40-year Houston restaurant veteran, spending 35 years of that time at Cafe Annie.
“Although we are only now opening to the public, we have been in the kitchen since last December which has allowed Chef Louis and his team a lot of time to perfect an amazing menu,” said Michael Sambrooks, founder of Sambrooks Management. “We are very excited to open the doors and let everyone in to see the stunning room and experience our world class offerings”.
Many dishes featuring meat, seafood and vegetables are cooked over fire thanks to a 22-foot grill imported from Spain, and guests can see that in action from the dining room.
Another key aspect are fine ingredients allowed to shine through simple preparations. Some of those fine ingredients include the meat. Prime beef is sourced from Niman Ranch, while Wagyu is brought in from both Japan and Australia. One of the classic steakhouse touches includes offering the beloved dessert, cherries jubilee.
Beverage and service director Renato Bringas, a Court of Masters Advanced Sommelier who was previously director of wine and hospitality with Berg Hospitality Group, oversees a 500+ bottle wine cellar. The selection emphasizes wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux, Spain, and California, and for some, vertical tastings are possible thanks to having multiple vintages.
Angel Batista, the head bartender who has prior experience at Bludorn, Ostia and MAD, has created seasonal cocktails that upscale versions of classics, such as those featuring barrel-aged rums and whiskeys.
The interior of the Mission Revival-style building was designed by New York-based AvroKO. Burnt wood, white-veined red marble and copper accents reflect the cooking-with-fire menu theme. The same goes for paintings by New York artist Julia Hickey Gonzalez, which portray abstract scenes of cattle, fire and movement. A custom, 28-foot-long chandelier overhangs a bartop made of Cipollino marble chosen for its smoky character. At some point, Andiron’s patio will be ready — hopefully before Houston hits its typical 100+ degree temperatures.
Reservations for Andiron are available on 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.