The Post Market is the transformation of the former central post office, certainly looking a far cry from what it did when I had a postal box there. A 5,000-seat music venue is at its eastern edge, with the food hall to the north of that and not-ready retail and work spaces to be located somewhere not so apparent, plus the Skylawn atop the building. A dramatic staircase extends from the food hall up to that, the landscaped roof, which I haven’t yet traversed, being just focused on the food during my dozen or so visits thus far.
Just that has been fun. Both the Post Market and the other food hall to open in 2021, Railway Heights, have been very pleasantly surprising in terms of the array of what is offered and the quality of the food. The Post Market is the larger and more ambitious of the two. When all are opened, there will be two dozen food and drink options in the Post Market with cuisines extending from Middle Eastern, Thai, Filipino, Japanese street food, pizza, Nigerian, hamburgers, seafood, contemporary Tex-Mex, hot chicken, pho, crepes, Pakistani, and Indian plus ice cream and gelato options – for partisans of each frozen treat – along with beer, wine and cocktails.
All of the food is dispensed via counter service with fairly limited menus, and those menus often might only be viewed via a Q code, dishing preparations that are generally on the small side. There are some hiccups in these early days: the steamed rice might often be overcooked; the usually young staff at these new places isn’t always well-served with the food they are pushing across the counter; and the dishes are not necessarily that value-laden. No matter. My food has mostly been good, sometimes excellent, in a dozen trips, and it has been enjoyable to explore a range of cuisines all in one setting.
Paul Qui, the acclaimed Austin-based chef, who had the excellent Qui on lower Westheimer in 2018 and has a James Beard Award and some baggage, is part of four operations, which shows in the cooking at these. His three solo efforts are Soy Pinoy, highlighting his Filipino heritage, Thai Kun, and East Side King, Japanese-influenced that has been maddeningly out of what I’ve wanted in a couple of trips. At
Golfstrømmen Seafood Market he partners with Norwegian chef, Christopher Haatuft, for an enticing seafood outpost that highlights the high quality of their sourcing with mostly straightforward creations in ways usually familiar to locals that can be absolutely delicious. It’s the best restaurant at Post Market and, I thought, one of the best to open in Houston in 2021. Two other stars are across the aisle, The Butcher’s Burger and its sibling Salt & Time Butcher Shop, Austin imports like Qui. The messy hamburgers at The Butcher’s Burger are terrific, employing meat from the butcher shop that are directly from ranchers in central Texas. It is one of the top burger joints in town. The attractive case filled mostly with cuts of beef at Salt & Time has already tempted me.
Among the other top spots so far is Hawker Street Food from Spain-based, chef Laila Bazahm, who had a well-regarded restaurant in Barcelona and currently operates one in Ibiza. She has been on site at her place that serves a really eclectic set of influences often in a single preparation: Korean, Indian, Peruvian, Balinese, Malaysian, Italian, and more on a short menu. It has worked out quite well for me in a couple of visits. I was told by her staff that she is looking for another restaurant in Houston.
Though still a work in progress, with construction still underway, the dining area of the Post Market gives the impression of mall food court, if a cool, kind of funky food court. It has a high ceiling, bustling crowds and a breezeway in back, the former loading dock, set with plenty of tables for safer open-air dining. It is now open daily for lunch and dinner. At the Post Market, you’ll visit for the food not the atmosphere, and you likely should visit.
An open-faced crab sandwich with house-made potato chips during a recent visit to Golfstrømmen Seafood Market.