Houstonians Embrace Sam Governale’s Exciting New Restaurant

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A new restaurant has opened its welcoming doors at 3210 West Dallas St. Its name is simply Emmaline, and its emergence on the Houston dining scene has been much anticipated. For over a year now, since Sam Governale, formerly of Fleming’s Steakhouse, announced his new project, Houstonians have been waiting with great expectations.

Their enthusiasm was well-founded. Emmaline is an American restaurant with a European feel and a neighborhood atmosphere. With its expanded café-style street-front patio, lively central bar, and floor-to-ceiling windows, the stunning space, to the delight of diners, has brought the outdoors in. This is no accident. When Governale took over the vintage two-story building with its brick-lined entrance, he knew he wanted to “embellish the outside and tie it to the inside . . . Even when you’re inside, you’ll feel like you’re outside.”

To help bring about the transformation and make Emmaline an outdoor-oriented neighborhood-centric destination for all-day dining, Governale enlisted interior designer Ashley Putnam as creative director. The happy result is that from the minute you walk in you are struck by, not only the beauty, but also the easy warm atmosphere and sense of camaraderie. Meant to capture the essence of the classic Italian trattoria in design and essence, Emmaline does just that, offering a home-away-from-home experience.

It was important to Governale, from a food perspective, to give people what they want: American fare with European refinement.  Executive Chef Dimitri Voutsinas has helped fulfill this vision by creating a diverse menu that features American classics and lighter Mediterranean fare.

To heighten the amity you feel when you enter Emmaline, Voutsinas has included a varied selection of starters meant to be shared. Whether you choose the Tunisian tuna crudo, the fontina fondue, or the sea scallop carpaccio, you’ll want to enjoy the experience with someone else. His main courses, frittata Americana, butcher’s cut steak fritti, and North pizza, for example, come together as the perfect blend of American food and European sensibility that Emmaline successfully strives for.

But let’s not forget the sweets. It will be impossible to once you’ve tasted Chef Alyssa Dole’s unique desserts. Backyard wedding cake, fig crostata, and buttermilk panna cotta are only a few examples of the lovely selection that awaits you.

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