All Houston restaurants faced challenges last year due to the pandemic, but perhaps none more so than places that opened just as the Texas government ordered state-wide dining room shutdowns. Mutiny Wine Room, a combination tasting room, restaurant and retail outlet at 1124 Usener, fell into that dire category. In January 2020, about two months before the shutdowns, Emily Trout and Mark Ellenberger opened Mutiny.
Despite that hardship, this wine-focused establishment survived. Trout and Ellenberger kept employees working thanks to a series of online cooking classes and virtual wine events.
Recently, Mutiny Wine Room was able to resume in-person service with two wine events, which featured Foundry Wines, and were greeted with open arms by patrons — both sold out.
Foundry Wines were paired with Mutiny Wine Room’s first post-pandemic, in- person wine dinner. Photo by Sandra Crittenden.
With Mutiny Wine Room, Ellenberger, who grew up in northern California, and Trout, who is from Houston, have brought their version of the Napa Valley tasting experience to Houston. For example, event attendees can purchase, at a reduced price, favorite bottles, served during dinner, to take home.
In addition to events, there are also wine specials most of the week, which can be enjoyed inside or on one of two patios. Tuesdays through Fridays from 4 to 6 p.m., visitors can enjoy featured flights in the front tasting room for only $7.50 or try the Producer Showcase Flight for $20, (currently featuring the aforementioned Foundry Wines). Plus, Mutiny offers a standard wine list that has over 50 selections available by the bottle or glass, with glass prices currently ranging from $11 to $36. Options include wines from around the world in a range of styles to suit any palate.
Spring Lamb Mini Porterhouse at Mutiny Wine Room. Courtesy photo.
In addition to the standard list, Mutiny also features a special list of high-end wines not normally available to try by the glass. Thanks to Coravin technology, which allows pours to be pulled from closed bottles, patrons can sample these prized selections for prices ranging from $24 to $35.
Chef Eduardo Alcayaga and Mark Ellenberger discuss how the dishes were paired. Photo by Sandra Crittenden.
The food menu by chef Eduardo Alcayaga, who began his culinary career in the wine country of Chile, changes with the seasons and can be enjoyed inside the Farmhouse or outside on the expansive patio. Current snack options include a gourmet version of hushpuppies, served with caviar and crème fraîche, and Buttermilk Fried Texas Quail. Three loaded board options — Ranch, Coastline and Vegan Harvest — offer an impressive array of nibbles from smoked venison sausage to Mushroom “Ceviche.” There are also full entrées, such as Falcon Lake teres major beef steak served with lobster or housemade pappardelle pasta, all of which can be easily paired with by-the-glass wines.
Mutiny Wine Room’s Chamomile & Honey Crème Brulé and a lemon cake with charred-Meyer lemon frosting, a brûléed strawberry and pisco sour espuma. Courtesy photo.
Dessert options include Chamomile & Honey Crème Brulé and a lemon cake with charred-Meyer lemon frosting, a brûléed strawberry and pisco sour espuma. Of course, pairings are also available for these sweet treats
While Houston has a wealth of unique wine bars and wine-centric restaurants, Mutiny Wine Room offers the opportunity to experience the wine country lifestyle without taking the trip. Mutiny is open Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 10 p.m., Saturday 2 to 10 p.m., and Sunday 2 to 8 p.m. Reservations are recommended and can be made online through Resy or by calling Mutiny Wine Room directly at (832) 618-1233. To learn about upcoming events, join the email list or follow them on Facebook.