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Feast [Houston]


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#1 LDLee

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 06:22 AM

Deb and I visited Feast last night, a Thursday evening. Considering the buzz, I thought it seemed easy to get reservations. We arrived at 6:45. Other than the staff, we were the only people in the restaurant.

The appetizers were amazing. Snails on Toast were outstanding. The snails had perfect texture (chewy but nut rtubbery), and just the rights amount of garlic and butter. Duck Liver Pate was excellent. The portion was huge. A few more pieces of toast would have been nice. Unfortunately, the appetizers were the highlight of the evening.

As a main course, we shared the Beef Osso Bucco. The shank was bland, overcooked (but juicy), and not tender. Very disappointing.

To finish off, we had the cheese plate. My wife referred to is as "pedestrian". Three small pieces of uninteresting gruyere, a soft goat and something yellow.

Prices are reasonable, especially for the style and quality of food. The atmosphere is very comfortable. Other than the jackhammer across the street (which is not the restaurant's fault), you feel like you are in a countryside bistro.

I feel a little pretentious with this final nit. Considering we were the only customers that night and put our wine selection in the hands of the chef, it would have been nice for James or his wife to visit our table.

I don't know if our experience with Feast will be like Shade or Da Marco's (restaurants we were unimpressed with upon our first visit, but grew to enjoy) or like Aries (never understood the critical acclaim, the first visit was middling, each subsequent visit more disappointing). I hope it is the former. Houston deserves a high quality, reasonably priced, daring restuarant.
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#2 Kevin72

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 11:29 AM

Feast is rapidly climbing up my "I have to find a way to get here" list for next time I'm in Houston. I was reading the FoodinHouston blog and he's devoted two entries to it so far. From everything I'm reading it certainly sounds worth a 2nd chance. Hope they make it.

#3 neverfull

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 02:47 PM

Feast is rapidly climbing up my "I have to find a way to get here" list for next time I'm in Houston.  I was reading the FoodinHouston blog and he's devoted two entries to it so far.  From everything I'm reading it certainly sounds worth a 2nd chance.  Hope they make it.

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anonymouseater actually now has 3 entries on feast. the last post consisted of photos from a big group dinner a bunch of houston chowhounds participated in. see more photos and reviews of our 9+ course tasting menu that richard prepared for us here. james and wife were out of town.

I feel a little pretentious with this final nit. Considering we were the only customers that night and put our wine selection in the hands of the chef, it would have been nice for James or his wife to visit our table.

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i'm sorry neither of the chefs came by your table. from word of mouth and other blog postings, i thought they usually try to stop by each table. richard is very personable and funny.
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#4 Kevin72

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 08:07 AM

Well, I did make it here. My ever-expanding list of places I aboslutely love in Houston (Dolce Vita, Gravitas, Ibiza, Catalan, Hugo's) needs to make room for a new entry.

This is really the perfect time of year to give this place a try. You walk in and get hit with the smell of roasted and braising meats. It is a meat-lover's paradise: platters of one kind of animal shank or another drift by, sputtering and smoldering from the oven. I just wanted to stand in front of that kitchen and smell all night long. I agonized over the menu; there was very little I didn't want to give a try.

My wife had the pork cheek and dandelion salad which I stole a good half of as well and loved. I had a wild hog terrine which came with curried cauliflower pickles that cut the succulence of the chilled and gelled meatl nicely.

I did the lamb shank for my main and my wife had a chicken with fried leeks and bacon. Her whole dish was slathered in what can best be described as a "bacon broth", succulent and smokey. I'll agree with the review above that the dishes could probably use an additional bump of salt but otherwise I left so very happy at the end of the meal.

Decent crowd size but there's a whole second floor unused as of now. I say give 'em some love Houston: not many cities have this kind of place.

#5 FoodMan

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 01:41 PM

Well, I did make it here.  My ever-expanding list of places I aboslutely love in Houston (Dolce Vita, Gravitas, Ibiza, Catalan, Hugo's) needs to make room for a new entry.

This is really the perfect time  of year to give this place a try.  You walk in and get hit with the smell of roasted and braising meats.  It is a meat-lover's paradise: platters of one kind of animal shank or another drift by, sputtering and smoldering from the oven. I just wanted to stand in front of that kitchen and smell all night long. I agonized over the menu; there was very little I didn't want to give a try.

My wife had the pork cheek and dandelion salad which I stole a good half of as well and loved.  I had a wild hog terrine which came with curried cauliflower pickles that cut the succulence of the chilled and gelled meatl nicely.

I did  the lamb shank for my main and my wife had a chicken with fried leeks and bacon.  Her whole dish was slathered in what can best be described as a "bacon broth", succulent and smokey. I'll agree with the review above that the dishes could probably use an additional bump of salt but otherwise I left so very happy at the end of the meal.

Decent crowd size but there's a whole second floor unused as of now.  I say give 'em some love Houston: not many cities have this kind of place.

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It's definitly encouraging to hear that from you Kevin. I've been wanting to try a 3 course lunch there. I might be able to have dinner tomorrow night instead though.

E. Nassar
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#6 FoodMan

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 02:08 PM

I stopped by Feast with a friend of mine this past saturday. I really do not have more positive things to say beyond Kevin's comments. I really am glad we have this lovely place here in Houston and hope it lasts. We stopped by shortly after they opened at 5 because we wanted to catch a movie afterwards. We were the only customers there until 6:30 or so. According to our very cordial waitress, they start getting "busy" around 7:30. I hope so, because I would hate for Feast to close.

We started off by two appetizers, Ox heart and beets and the Boar terrine with parsley. The ox heart was plain but robust and beefy, sliced thin, seasoned with salt and pepper and served with cubed roasted beats in a tart sauce. The terrine was a star. Rish, unctous and very flavorful. Both worked great with Feast's sourdough bread.
For main courses I could not pass the crispy pork belly with potato cake, red cabbage and apples. It was perfectly cooked with crisp cracklings and moist rich meat. My friend ordered the ox tails with mashed potatoes and roasted carrots. I took a few bites from it and it was also a wiiner, a homey tasty dish.
After the rich food and a few beers, we skipped dessert, but a few things on there looked promising (spotted dick with custard, bitter orange tart).

I really was glad that Robb Walsh gave it such a glowing review in the Houston Press recently. However, I am afraid he focused too much on the fact that Feast has SOME offal on the menu and that many potential customers might eschew it because of the whole offal-phobia thing. Feast really has very little offal and most dishes are more than safe for any meat lover who might not want to eat sweetbreads and tripe. Houston needs to give Feast some love!

Edited by FoodMan, 09 December 2008 - 02:09 PM.

E. Nassar
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#7 Kevin72

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 08:46 AM

Good to hear. The hearts were a close second on what I wanted to pick.

That's a good point about the review. It's hard to know what to do about that. On the one hand people should probably be prepared to see those things on the menu (and that's the appeal for a small but hardcore subset of the dining public) but how to do it without turning them off from the place altogether? What makes it so great is that they have the balls to serve things like, um, balls on the menu. I gushed about it to my parents but I can easily see them being unimpressed or not quite "getting it". If you love meat, if you love animal fat and skin and all that, then this place is for you. But that's pretty opposite of where most of the dining public is, unfortunately.

#8 FoodMan

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 03:14 PM

Good to hear.  The hearts were a close second on what I wanted to pick.

That's a good point about the review.  It's hard to know what to do about that.  On the one hand people should probably be prepared to see those things on the menu (and that's the appeal for a small but hardcore subset of the dining public) but how to do it without turning them off from the place altogether?  What makes it so great is that they have the balls to serve things like, um, balls on the menu.  I gushed about it to my parents but I can easily see them being unimpressed or not quite "getting it".  If you love meat, if you love animal fat and skin and all that, then this place is for you.  But that's pretty opposite of where most of the dining public is, unfortunately.

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Case in point, the friend I went with to Feast on Saturday, would never have thought about going there based on the review. He was turned off and thought the menu would be offal-centric (funny thing he eats any muscle including the tail and heart, but no glands and such) until I sent him the link to the actual menu. Feast might not be the place to take "white meat only chicken eaters" but it is by no means a place that ONLY caters to "adventurous" eaters. One item on the menu was a vegetarian dish and it sounded so good we almost ordered it, it was a pot pie with fennel and other winter vegetables. That's what I'm hoping will catch on, Feast is unique but very approachable.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com


#9 Kevin72

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 08:02 AM

Via Anonymouseater, , Feast gets a writeup by Frank Bruni in the NY Times.

It is so, so awesome to see this restaurant getting the kind of push and support from the local community, which is in turn, hopefully bringing attention to what top caliber restaurant town Houston has become over the past decade.

#10 FoodMan

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 09:32 AM

Damn! You beat me to posting about this Kevin. It really is great to see Feast featured like that. There is also a short Audio with slides about it by Bruni and Wells.

I've been a few times so far and am never dissapointed. Most recently we tried the pork cheeks and dandelion, the fried pig tails, lamb shank, cassoulet (best in town--no doubt) and the fish tagine. All fantastic. I tried the fish to be "adventurous" after so much land critters. Spicy, sweet and addictive that was. I would order it again in a heartbeat.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com


#11 Kevin72

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 09:35 AM

Glad to hear. I'm hoping this is the start of bigger things in Houston for them after this article and then landing a spot in most of the year end best of lists the local critics put out.

#12 Nathan

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 08:00 PM

I really enjoyed Feast the other day. Reminded me a bit of Resto in NY but with a more diverse menu. nicely done. good ingredients.

#13 Irenesh

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 04:38 PM

Feast has a nice one-page website that includes an email for suggestions. I am sure they would appreciate reading the comments above and would take suggestions into consideration. Private restaurant businesses have enough pressure as it is, getting feedback from locals is a wonderful way to cater to the needs of the community.

#14 edsel

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 12:55 PM

I finally made it to Feast last week. I've been working in Houston and Feast was on my "short list" of places to try. I met up with a friend from Cleveland who happened to be in town. We both were delighted with Feast.

We knew that this was our kind of place when our server announced the evening's appetizer special:

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Pig snouts! :biggrin: Served with capers and pickled vegetables. Delicious! We also tried the marrow bones with parsley salad (a là Fergus Henderson? - I believe the chef at Feast worked with him in the past). Gorgeously executed.

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The atmosphere at Feast is relaxed and friendly. The food was outstanding. I'll be back. :smile:

#15 Peter Green

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 01:07 PM

Okay, marrow.

I need to do this.

#16 Kevin72

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 08:26 AM

Wow, pig snout? Never would've thought. Getting to be the perfect time of year for going there.

#17 MissAmy

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 02:07 PM

I had a great experience at Feast last weekend.

My boyfriend made reservations. I guess because of all the recent buzz, they're more full than they used to be, because we had to settle for 8:30pm.

We arrived a bit early, and had a couple of old fashioneds while we waited. I'd never had an old fashioned before and liked it. The pour was very generous and we were quite buzzed by the time we made it to the table. I felt warm and happy before we even started eating. Good for the waitstaff for suggesting that! That was a smart move.

And oh, did I mention how good it smells in that place? It smells really good.

We started with two appetizers: black pudding with peas, mint, and fried egg; and pork rillette. The black pudding was outstanding. I had to encourage the BF to try it, because the "blood" part made him squeemish, but he loved it too. I am definitely going to try making blood sausage now. I can only imagine how good that would be with hashbrowns and biscuits and eggs for weekend breakfast. Anyway, the port rillette was tasty, but next to the black pudding it was not as breathtaking. The black pudding was really the star of those choices. Really, really delicious.

We had read online how huge the portions are (they really are!), and after the appetizers we were almost full, so we split the Bath Chaps for our entree. Bath chaps are tongue wrapped in pig face. We both totally were like, "We're eating tongue wrapped in pig face and we like it!" (Why, yes, there was more booze. What?) It was crispy around the edges, melty around the fatty bits, and just delicious in general. It was served with parsnip puree and braised greens. The parsnips were excellent. The greens were under-done (what is it with everyone undercooking greens these days? it's weird) but had good flavor. It was obvious that they were just there for something green on the plate, anyway.

We had hoped that we'd be able to eat dessert, but between the huge appetizers, the super rich and fatty entree, and the liquor and wine, we just couldn't do it. Oh yeah, they also have superfulous bread and butter. It's seriously good bread and I really want to know where they get their butter. I want to go back and try that sticky toffee pudding that everyone keeps raving about, though.

I had a great experience at Feast and can't wait to go back and try more stuff. The atmosphere is super relaxed, the service was great - very attentive, very relaxed, not overbearing - they made us feel super comfortable. I will definitely go back, although I hope next time I don't get sat next to the same woman who kept "EW!"ing at everything on the menu, and bitching about how "weird" it all was the entire time. I kept wanting to lean over and ask, "Why are you here and would you PLEASE shut up?!" Other than that (which was NOT the restaurant's fault) it was one of the best meals I've had in a long time. Lovely!
-Sounds awfully rich!
-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

#18 Kevin72

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 05:02 PM

Glad that they are picking up more business, even if it's bringing in some less open minded people. We tried to get there over the Holidays but they were closed. Everything you had sounded awesome, and you're right: the smell that you get right when you walk in is incredible. Like every great holiday meal you've ever had all at once.

#19 FoodMan

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 08:43 AM

It really is time to bump this up. Feast remains, even more so now, one of the top restaurants in town. It is a unique experience and to this date after maybe 15 visits it has never disappointed. In short: I LOVE Feast.

We went to Feast this past Tuesday and for the first time ordered the 9-course chef's menu (at $59 it is a crazy bargain). We were a table of four, kind of a double date, and everyone had a great meal. We got to taste a couple of items we might not have ordered otherwise and some classics.

- Lentil and Pork cheek soup: Tart and sweet. Rich dark stew like soup.
- Pork Rilletes with cornichons and toast. Classic, rich and nicely seasoned. Made with pork belly confit not shoulder.
- Chicken Onion: Red onions wrapped in chicken skin and roasted to crackly crispy goodness. Served on a bed of shredded lettuce cause we need our light greens.
- Black pudding with minted peas and sunny side up eggs. I'll admit that I am slightly squeamish about blood and blood sausage. Some of those I tasted are too metallic tasting. I most likely would not have ordered this dish if left to my own devices. This however blew us all away, even my wife who is not a fan of Morcilla. The homemade black pudding is lightly spiced and pan fried to a nice crispy outside. It worked amazingly well with the fresh eggs and refreshing peas.
- Whole roasted amberjack. Very very simple fish with some herbs. Served with sautéed lemony kale. This was so much better than I would've expected. Another example of a dish I probably would not have ordered.
- Lamb shank pie with Bubble and Squeak. For me, this was the star of the evening. It's a stewed tender lamb shank cooked in a dark sweet and sour thick broth (flavored with raisins and mint among other spices). The shank and it's cooking liquid along with some carrots and maybe turnips is baked in a large ramekin under a suet crispy crust with the end of the bone sticking out. It is one of the most memorable dishes I've ever had.
- Pork belly with potato cake, sautéed cabbage and apples. A delicious Feast staple...but by now consuming more of this fare was getting harder and harder.
- Sticky Toffee Pudding. Probably my favorite Feast dessert.
- Spotted Dick with warm custard. Light sponge cake and vanilla custard. Very nice.

This was all washed down with a Negroni to start with a couple of bottles of Cote de Rhone. Not too bad for a Tuesday meal. Is it? :laugh:

I was also very pleased to see that the dining room was fairly busy. I would hate to see this place go due to lack of business, but so far they seem to be doing well still.
If you have never been, you really need to make a reservation and head down there ASAP.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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