After Harvey cleanup, acclaimed chef Justin Yu's new restaurant is ready to open

HOUSTON -- One day before Hurricane Harvey made its landfall, Justin Yu and chef de cuisine Jason White opened the doors to Theodore Rex, Yu's follow-up to Oxheart, for an invite-only friends and family service. It would have quietly opened that weekend, but, as Yu told the House of Carbs podcast, "just under two feet of water" flooded the space and scuttled those plans.

Thankfully, Yu and his team got the mess cleaned up, and the new restaurant officially opens to the public Friday night. In a statement issued Thursday morning, the James Beard Award winner describes his new restaurant as "in the plainest of terms, it's a modern bistro, though more importantly I just hope that it's a fun place to go to."

While the space has been thoroughly renovated for its new incarnation - most noticeably a four-seat bar replaces the chef's counter - some elements of Oxheart remain. On the personnel side, sous chef Jason White has been promoted to chef de cuisine, server Bridget Paliwoda has returned to be the restaurant's sommelier, and both general manager Diana Kendrick and beverage director Justin Vann (Yu's business partner in Public Services) remain in place. In terms of design, diners will still reset their own silverware from drawers integrated into the tables, which is a nice connection between the two concepts.

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