ALBI, A Mediterranean Concept Opens In The River Oaks Center

The 6,600 square feet space which fronts West Gray is tucked away on the second floor at 1947 West Gray
Photo: Michael Anthony

A new Mediterranean restaurant has completed its final touches within Houston’s River Oaks Shopping Center and is now open. Named after the Arabic word, “my heart”, Albi, has been just that, a labor of love between siblings Nano and Jimy Fakhoury, operators of Mary’z Mediterranean restaurants, and partner and friend, hospitality entrepreneur Aladdin Nimri, who have pooled their considerable hospitality talents to bring a new high-energy dining option to River Oaks.

Sign up now to get our Daily Breaking News Alerts

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Opt out at anytime

Located along the West Gray corridor, across from Zanti and Brasserie 19, the concept has assembled a team of culinary talent including, Chef-consultant Mark Cox, former chef/owner of the eponymous restaurant Mark’s, a long time staple and benchmark for Houston cuisine, is working with newly named executive chef Christian Hernandez, formerly Chef de Cuisine of March. The team will focus on Eastern Mediterranean flavors utilizing fresh, sustainable, and local products. From local Texas wagyu and lamb to seasonal seafood produce, everything is scratch-made while staying faithful to the traditional cuisine, inspired by multiple countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, including Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

“We look forward to creating something very special for Houstonians – an ambience that evokes a very distinctive vibe of the “Levant” area of the Middle East, which refers to the region along the eastern Mediterranean shores, a vibe we feel will resonate beautifully in this relaxed but buzzy corridor,” said Nano Fakhoury in a statement. “We can’t wait to bring exceptional service, phenomenal food, and a modern, energetic atmosphere to the neighborhood,”

The 6,600 square feet space which fronts West Gray is tucked away on the second floor at 1947 West Gray where guests will have a birds-eye view of the bustling West Gray corridor. Architect Adel Bukary, who recently unveiled another River Oaks concept, CIEL, transformed the space into a respite complete with lush interiors decorated with chandeliers with jewel tones, red silk shade lamps, mirrors and ambient lighting.

Upon entering, guests will ascend to a 220-seat dining room that is anchored by an 16-seat bar that borders the length of the room, while lush and architectural tropical plants, brass accents and comfy and thoughtfully curated black and red seating banquettes mixed with striking velvet green seats with ornate gold stands, plus lounge areas add to the relaxed glam. Adjacent to the dining room is a private dining space designed to be an intimate and exclusive retreat for up to 40 and featuring an indoor/outdoor terrace with expandable steel windows which will flood the room with natural light during the day and then will take on a romantic feel at night. The restaurant’s interior mixes velvet, concrete, marble, and wood creating a perfect background for belly dancers, violinists and vocalists..

The creators and team behind Albi have sought out a new style of dining for Houstonians that bridges several Middle Eastern cultures. Touted as a harmonious blend between traditional and modern, the menu will reflect a blend of Lebanese, Turkish and Greek cultures with dishes like a Shrimp Falafel with Tarator sauce and heirloom tomatoes; Beets bil Tahini, salt-baked beets blended with yogurt and topped with a tahini powder and pickled berries; Bluefin Tuna Tartar with Aleppo pepper and an apricot coulis; King Trumpet Mushroom Shawarma with tzatziki and charred lemon; Jidori Chicken Roulade, stuffed with house-made turmeric and chicken sausage and served alongside a rice bowl with caramelized onion puree and golden raisins inspired by Lebanese biryani. The desserts follow in the same vein by tying together recognizable pastries with flavors from the region. The Lemon Halvah Tart combines the extremely popular sesame based confection with lemon curd and sits alongside a perfectly balanced lemon and olive oil ice cream; Basque Cheesecake, though not from the region, pairs flawlessly with a saffron gelee and vanilla-infused brandy. Pistachio Tiramisu has flavors reminiscent of Lebanon and techniques to match the best pastry programs in town.

On the beverage side, the seasonally driven cocktail program will also align with Mediterranean influences and offer an array of signature cocktails, fresh mocktails and wine to choose from. A sophisticated and spirit-forward menu has been conceived by Laval Hospitality beverage consultant, Souvik Dasgupta that includes: Shah of Sunset, arak, lime, sugar, topo chico, hibiscus tea and mint; Turkish Espresso Martini, cinnamon-infused vodka and Turkish coffee; Baklava Old-Fashioned, baklava elixir, demerara sugar, walnut bitters; and Waters of Petra, cardamom gin-infused rosewater, elderflower and champagne foam.

The wine program, hand-selected by Laval features more than 90 labels that focus mostly on countries around the Mediterranean such as Lebanon, Italy, France, Spain, Greece, and Israel and crowd pleasers from the New World. Pricing is mostly set between $60 and $120 for approachability.

Albi will be located at 1947 West Gray Suite 200, Houston, Texas, 77019. It will be open for dinner Tuesday- Thursday, 5 p.m.-11 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Lisa Hay

Lisa is a staff reporter for What Now Media Group. She covers new restaurant, retail, and real estate openings across all of our markets. A true foodie, this Air Force veteran has lived all over the world — from Aviano, Italy to Nairobi, Kenya — but her favorite spot is NOLA for its rich history, architecture, culture, and of course, its good eats.
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Related Posts


Pin It on Pinterest