Gravitas

Take one defunct sandwich shop and strip it down to its architectural skivvies (bare industrial bricks and concrete floor). Add designer elements like found copper lighting fixtures, displays of artisan bread, and Texas mesquite tabletops, and, presto change-o, you have an edgy warehouse setting that has become the place to dine in Houston. The fact that the bistro food at Gravitas is often very good means that you’ll enjoy yourself even if you don’t care whether social types like Carolyn Farb and Becca Cason Thrash are dining a few tables away. My table of unknowns was dazzled by a beautifully moist pan-fried snapper filet with a little bundle of haricots verts (even though they’re oddly called a cassoulet) and happy with steak-frites (although the uncrisp, unskinny fried potatoes seemed decidedly more American than French). Appetizers were a tad lackluster—boring dressings on both spinach and romaine salads—but desserts made a strong comeback, especially the velvety crème brûlée headily laced with Calvados. It’s safe to say that executive chef Jason Gould and proprietor Scott Tycer (who also owns and heads the kitchen at much-lauded Aries) have a hit on their hands. PATRICIA SHARPE

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