Ambitious New Mexican Restaurant Appears in Energy Corridor
An ambitious Mexican restaurant will open in the energy corridor this fall. But will soon debut in the former Carmelo’s / BB Italia space at 14795 Memorial Dr.
Chef-owner Fabian Saldana brings extensive experience to his first solo restaurant. The Mexican native recently served as executive chef at Oaxaca’s acclaimed restaurant, Xochi, in Hugo Ortega; prior to that, he worked at the legendary fine dining restaurant in Houston, Mark’s American Cuisine. He will draw on these experiences as well as his heritage to create Maize’s menu.
As the name suggests, Maize’s dishes start with corn. The masa will be ground on site and presented in dishes such as Huarache de Chorizo, a sandal-shaped masa cake topped with homemade chorizo, cotija cheese and red tomato salsa. Saldana will use traditional cooking methods to make barbacoa by steaming it in agave leaves.
The menu will also feature insect-based dishes, an ingredient familiar to anyone who has enjoyed grasshoppers at Chef Ortega’s restaurants. Overall, expect a mix of indoor, coastal, and street food-inspired dishes.
âFrom watching my grandmother and mom cook in a wood-fired oven in Mexico, to the kitchens I found here in Houston, I learned from the best,â Saldana said in a statement. âMexico is a beautiful country, so big and unique. We have a great culture and a great heritage. I want to keep Mexican traditions alive, and I feel so blessed to be able to do so here in Houston. “
Likewise, the drinks will cover a wide range of options ranging from traditional Mexican drinks like Atole, a corn flour drink sweetened with vanilla, cinnamon or chocolate, and Champurrado, a Mexican hot chocolate. thick. The bar program will use agave spirits for its cocktails, while a 1,000-bottle wine cellar will offer oenophiles a wide choice.
To bring Maize to fruition, Saldana teamed up with her mentor, Chef Mark Cox, and Carmelo owner Carmelo Mauro.
âFabian brings his whole story to the table,â Cox said. âBeing a great leader comes from within, it’s something you can’t teach. Either you want it or you don’t, and Fabian has it. He has the dedication, passion and understanding of food. Now is Fabian’s time.
Julie McGarr of McGarr Design & Interiors guides BB Italia’s transformation into Maize. Design elements include a 65-foot mural, a large U-shaped bar, and “extra-comfy chairs,” according to a press release.
With a substantial 8,000 square foot interior and a 1,400 square foot patio, Maize will accommodate 250 people indoors and 70 outdoors. Four private dining rooms will also be available.
âPeople are waiting for an upscale restaurant in West Houston where they can take their friends and be entertained,â Mauro said. âRight now we all have to drive inside the loop. I think the sleek and relaxed concept that is being developed, emphasizing friendliness, service, great food and great presentation, will make Maize the place to be. I enjoy being a part of it. ”