Philippe Schmit to Helm Toulouse Cafe and Bar
March 10, 2016
Philippe Schmit to Helm Toulouse Cafe and Bar
Chron

Philippe Schmit, the Houston chef who's earned the nickname "the French Cowboy," has found a new saddle. And it's a big, fancy one.



Schmit is the new executive chef of Toulouse Café and Bar, the first major restaurant opening at River Oaks District retail/restaurant/residential complex at 4444 Westheimer. Toulouse, a brand from Dallas-based Lombardi Family Concepts, is expected to open March 23. Lombardi also will open Taverna, an Italian restaurant, at River Oaks District.



"I'm very excited. It's a great opportunity," said Schmit who Houston diners know from his work at Bistro Moderne at Hotel Derek and then at his own posh restaurant Philippe Restaurant + Lounge.



Schmit left Philippe in September 2013 and has since concentrated on his own catering and private chef business. He also has consulted for Drexel House and Flo Paris Bakery. The French chef, who has long talked of opening his own restaurant, said for now he is concentrating on Toulouse, working with Renato De Pirro, executive chef of all Lombardi restaurants, on the menu for the grand Parisian café. Toulouse's menu includes classic bistro dishes such as mussels and frites, lobster bisque, salad Nicoise, Dover sole meuniere, bouillabaisse, steak tartare, and frog legs Provencal.



River Oaks District eventually will boast a number of new restaurants. After the opening of Toulouse comes the Lombardi Family's second ROD restaurant, Taverna, set to open mid-April. Late April brings Hopdoddy Burger Bar; late spring will bring Le Colonial, an upscale French-Vietnamese restaurant, Steak 48, a luxe steakhouse, and The Porch, a New American restaurant.



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