Kulture is the newest establishment from Marcus Davis, the man behind The Breakfast Klub and Alley Kat (one of my favorite lounges) and the aim of this restaurant is to immerse visitors in the rich culture of the African diaspora through good food. Chef Dawn Burrell, formerly of Uchiko, has curated a menu that pays homage to not only her personal roots but also a collective of black American influences with dishes like fried branzino fish, oxtail ragout, and collard green purses.
Every dish has a story, starting with the first drink on the menu: the Mahogany 75. This is Kulture’s signature cocktail and my favorite so far. I love a classic French 75 but am not afraid of a little twist (see this hibiscus French 75) and Kulture has really captured my heart with this cocktail. First of all, it’s dedicated to black women. Secondly, it’s inspired by the Diana Ross movie, Mahogany. Last, but certainly not least, it’s delicious and strong. 🙂
Cognac and house-made brown sugar syrup take the place of the traditional gin and simple syrup in this drink and the result is lovely. You can get most any classic drink at Kulture’s full bar or choose one of their happy hour creations like Gin and Juice or Bit-O-Honey. Of course, drinks aren’t the only draw. Let’s get into the food.
The calas and collard dip is the first dish I tried and Kulture and it has haunted me ever since. Calas are a type of rice fritter with origins in Spanish-ruled Louisiana and the collard green dip is made with gruyere in the style of spinach artichoke cheese dip. I’m not a fan of the latter type of dip but the calas & collards are not to be missed!
The black-eyed pea hummus is served with crisp flatbread also made from black-eyed peas, which makes for a vegan, gluten-free, and unexpectedly tasty appetizer. I cleaned my bowl.
The crispy fish was love at first bite, for me. The fried Branzino filet is served with potato pave, wilted cabbage slaw, and “hot, hot sauce”. Listen. The fish is perfectly crisp and flavorful, the potato is SO buttery, and the slaw–I don’t typically eat cole slaw but there was none left on my plate. This is a well-coordinated symphony of flavor and texture inspired by the fried fish, cabbage, and home fries Chef Dawn’s grandmother would make growing up.
Houston’s downtown is changing to attract more activity outside of the typical concert crowd and the 9-5 hustle and bustle. Kulture is part of that with a prime location near the George R. Brown Convention Center and attached covered parking. I don’t work downtown but live nearby and have been hooked since my first visit. My most recent visit was a food blogger tasting event and my foodie friends and I enjoyed everything from the decor to the music and look forward to returning for art installations, live bands, and watch events–in addition to the eats. 🙂 There’s still about a week of Black History Month left but I have a feeling that Kulture will be an eatery to visit all year round. Thanks for reading!