On year after owner Steve Zimmerman and his son Dan transformed their historic boutique hotel La Colombe D’Or, located in a nearly century-old Fondren mansion in Montrose, into an exciting collaboration with global real estate company Hines, which built a 34- story high-rise apartment connected to the historic property, change is in the air at the front and back of the house restaurant. Jesus “JB” Babaran has been named Tonight & Tomorrow’s new executive chef, tasked with advancing the restaurant’s coastal European cuisine.
Faithful to its inspiration (the famous hotel of the Roux brothers in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, that inspired Zimmerman decades earlier), Chef Babaran will introduce more classic French cooking techniques and flavors to his spring and summer menus. He replaces Jonathan Wicks, who had been the chef since Tonight & Tomorrow opened a year ago.
“I’m thrilled to call La Colombe d’Or my new home and bring my cooking techniques to a Houston institution,” says Babaran. “As a longtime Houston resident, I understand the palate of the city and look forward to introducing exciting new flavors and ideas to our seasonal restaurant and bar menus.”
Inside the boutique hotel – which has been completely redesigned with the help of renowned design firm Rottet Studio (run by Lauren Rottet of Houston), you’ll find the Tonight & Tomorrow dining room, a separate craft cocktails dubbed Bar 3, plus five one-bedroom suites just up the spiral staircase.
Its dining rooms – which thankfully retain all the glorious original millwork – have been updated with comfortable emerald-upholstered banquettes and elegant caned-back chairs, linen-free marble table tops alternating with those lined gold and topped with a glossy black lacquer finish. Like the French original, over the years Steve Zimmerman has drawn artists to his own enclave and added works by Raoul Dufy, Arik Levy, Christian Rosa and Dorothy Hood to his enviable art collection.
New food and beverage director Calvin Salemi, recently transplanted from Guam via Paris, Bangkok, Tokyo and New York, oversees the service and day-to-day operation of Tonight & Tomorrow and Bar No.3. Salemi brings extensive restaurant experience in global five-star hotel environments, including Minetta Tavern in New York and Dusit Thani Resort in Guam.
Menu changes tonight and tomorrow
Look for new dishes like Cacciucco, a stew of lobster, octopus, shrimp, clams, mussels, scallops and fish simmered in a broth of red wine and tomatoes. It will share space on the menu with entrees like stir-fried Gulf red snapper topped with jumbo crab, grilled rabbit, Rohan duck, lamb shank barbacoa, ribeye and beef tenderloin.
Starters range from seared foie gras and black truffle risotto to a mix of seasonal salads. A selection of family-style sides is also available, where sharing of each dish is strongly encouraged. While longtime menu favorites, including French Onion Soup and Crab Ravigote, still retain a spot on the menu.
Plus, an all-new drinks and bites menu debuted at Bar No.3. The collection of seasonal craft cocktails takes its name from the outdoor sculptures posed on the grounds of The Golden Dove.
“East of the Pecos,” a tequila and mezcal-based tincture, is named after artist Rolf Westphal’s yellow-painted steel cantilevered installation. ‘Rock Growth Root’, a dark rum and coffee spirit drink, takes its name from Arik Levy’s Corten steel installation found at the corner of the property at Montrose Boulevard and Harold Street.
Nine craft cocktails and a seasonal mocktail are on the spring and summer menu. A few additions to the bar’s bites menu include a duck carnitas tostada, steamed mussels and steak fries.