il Bracco, the much-anticipated Italian-inspired neighborhood restaurant and bar will open their first Houston location on Monday, August 15 at the corner of Post Oak and San Felipe.
Located at 1705-A Post Oak Blvd, Houston, TX 77056, in the former California Pizza Kitchen space, this marks the second location of the concept outside of the well-heeled Park Cities neighborhood of Dallas, Texas.
il Bracco is the culmination of partners Robert Quick and Matt Gottlieb’s twenty-five plus years in the restaurant industry. The duo has created an impressively high quality yet everyday accessible menu in a chic but comfortable environment, with excellent service and hospitality as a core emphasis.
il Bracco, open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week, offers a fresh take on classic Italian dishes with fresh homemade pastas, breads, and desserts. Whole fish is fileted, and USDA Prime steak are butchered in-house daily as well.
Quick says of bringing il Bracco to Houston, “We look forward to opening our doors in Houston and having guests experience the dishes and bar program we have perfected over the past few years. We hope our community feel the love and passion that has been poured into this kitchen and enjoy dining with us whether it’s for business lunch, dinner with loved ones or a special occasion.
“Being a part of the Post Oak neighborhood is like coming home, as we have worked and lived in Houston previously, and have immediate family and many friends here,” Says Gottlieb
The Food Menu
Standout items on the menu include starters such as the Crispy Artichokes with fresh baby artichokes and olive aioli, House-made Focaccia with ricotta, whipped with roasted garlic and thyme; the Meatballs made with freshly ground beef, lamb and pork, house tomato gravy, Reggiano and house-made focaccia.
Indulgent pastas include the cult favorite Spicy Gemelli, made with house-made gemelli noodles, spicy vodka sauce and Reggiano; Bolognese with mafaldine noodles, 6 hour slow-cooked beef, lamb and pork ragu, Reggiano; and Cacio E Pepe made with bucatini, black pepper and pecorino.
Guests can also expect lighter salads including The Plaza made with roasted chicken, golden beets, pancetta, marcona almonds, goat cheese and honey vinaigrette; Chopped Salad with salami, aged provolone, piquillo peppers, Castelvetrano olives, basil, and pepperoncini vinaigrette. Craveable sandwiches such as the Classic Italian Combo with artisan charcuterie, fresh mozzarella, LTO, cherry pepper spread, oil and vin on a house-made roll; and the Fried Chicken Sandwich with crispy chicken, sundried tomato, provolone, dressed arugula and fennel.
For entrees, some standouts include pan roasted Mediterranean Sea Bass with mint gremolata and seasonal vegetables; Center Cut Filet – hand-cut USDA Prime, broiled and served with polenta and seasonal vegetables, and the incredibly popular Chicken Picatta – lemony chicken with capers, served with a kale salad.
The Bar Menu
A meticulously selected wine list is a mix of interesting Italian varietals and approachable New World wines. Guests should feel comfortable in either exploring Italy if they so desire or tuck into a booth with a bottle of their favorite domestic.
Signature cocktails such as The Bracco (“hound” in Italian), a fan favorite frozen spin on the greyhound made with New Amsterdam, Aperol, and fresh hand squeezed grapefruit; Paper Plane made with High West bourbon, Aperol, lemon and amaro; and Asti 76 made with Tito’s, lemon, and Moscato D’Asti are takes on classics with an Italian twist and made to complement the food.
The 6,000-square foot space – offering seating for 160 inside (including bar) and 35 outside – was designed by award-winning Texas architect, Michael Hsu of Michael Hsu Office of Architecture (South Congress Hotel & Restaurants, Sway, Hotel Ella) and boasts stunning contemporary design with a spacious patio, bar and cocktail lounge. The artwork featured in the restaurant comes from Quick’s personal collection and has been curated and chosen specifically for this space by his wife, Mary Lucille, il Bracco’s Design Director. The restaurant’s light fixtures and furniture pieces are custom designed and built to give guests an optimal dining experience.
Robert Quick and Matt Gottlieb Background
Quick followed his true passion and attended the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, California. He then worked for Thomas Keller as a chef de partie at Ad Hoc and Bouchon before working as a Kitchen Manager with Hillstone Restaurant Group. Afterwards, as an owner in Mountain Mike’s Pizza, he helped grow system sales from ~$75M to over ~$150M and increased unit count by 25% over his 5 years of leadership. After moving back to Dallas with his wife in 2018, Quick founded his company Western Addition. il Bracco is the first concept to open in this portfolio with the Dallas location having opened to rave reviews in the spring of 2019 and not only survived the pandemic but thrived during this trying time.
Gottlieb was a 10+ year general manager with Hillstone Restaurant Group, with experience at 9 locations nationally, including the Westheimer Houston location, before partnering with Quick to open the first il Bracco. He also spent 8 years in the Dallas market running Hillstone, R+D Kitchen and Houston’s.
Quick and Gottlieb are eager to bring their shared vision of the hospitality industry to the Houston market.