• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
lvtxn

Avant garde restaurants in Texas

15 posts in this topic

I was just wondering if there are any avant garde restaurants in Texas? To my knowledge there are none. I just wanted to hear peoples thoughts on the subject and if they think one could survive. And what city would be most accepting to a place like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you put molecular gastronomy in the avant garde tent, then probably the best example that comes to mind is Randy Rucker in Houston. He ran a place called laidback manor that unforunately didn't make it (which answers your second question). Fortunately he stuck it out in Houston, ran a supper club called Tenacity, and I believe just recently took over the kitchen at Rainbow Lodge with a menu revamp coming soon. Soma in Houston seems to be experimenting with the idea, and there's other chefs like Gasper Noe incorporating some novel concepts in their cooking.

I think a case can be made for any of the "big three" to get an avant garde place that takes off. Houston has such a rich cultural stew that I think its populace is open to anything, Austin has a younger and more adventurous crowd, and Dallas seems to do pretty well with its top end places, so if one tailors their concept accordingly I think people would come around. Of course the present economic situation is another matter. . .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't really know what makes a restaurant "avant garde" in your book, so it's tough to say if any restaurants in Dallas would qualify.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't really know what makes a restaurant "avant garde" in your book, so it's tough to say if any restaurants in Dallas would qualify.

avant garde in this case is restaurants that are using molecular gastronomy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't really know what makes a restaurant "avant garde" in your book, so it's tough to say if any restaurants in Dallas would qualify.

avant garde in this case is restaurants that are using molecular gastronomy

Please! Dallas? No ... unless you want to count the fact that I-35 runs through it on the way to Chicago.

I'd save my frequent fliers and head off to face the linen at Adria's, Blumenthal's, Achatz', or Dufresne's tables. Keller flirts with it, but has not, to date, taken a full gainer into the pool.

This, however, is not really a 'cuisine' which would lend itself to a high-end WalMartization ... think of the godawful spawn of the Isi siphon and gelling media.

There are, however, several excellent and not self-consciously flashy here in Big-D.

Regards,

Theabroma


Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Outside Barcelona, you might try Austin. Please research your market--there is nothing worse than going broke making a statement. In the end there is no satisfaction. Your family comes to your aid and you are humiliated. Research your market.


Edited by Bill Miller (log)

Cooking is chemistry, baking is alchemy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You will never see it in the Lone Star State. Who there would eat that agarized, foamed, antigriddled stuff when you could easily get a hunk of pit bbq'd beef and rip it apart with your hands and wash it down with a cold beer. Hook 'em Horns!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I dunno; five years ago would it have been accepted that one of the if not the most avant garde restaurant in the country would be located in Chicago, land of the polish sausage and the deep dish pizza?

I still think there's a strong likelihood that it could take off in Texas, probably moreso Houston or Austin but still. I mean it's quite a leap, sure, for people to go from eating a well done filet mignon to shrimp cotton candy with seaweed air, but you can work elements of it into what's already familiar. Foams, airs, etc., could work their wayin as a sauce, you could have "gelled" vegetables as a side to a dish, etc., etc.

BTW, I don't know how I came up with Gaspar Noe up there; I meant Robert Gadsby (sp?) formerly of Noe and Soma, in Houston. Apologies for any confusion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Its hard to say it could never be done in the lone star state. Its true not even chicago knew that they were going to have such a change from the deep dish to weird service piece and the frozen meat. You really don't even need a city when you think about places like the french laundry, the fat duck, mugaritz, and michele bras. They are restaurants doing food both traditional and foamy at places in the middle of nowhere. Would blumenthol fail if he opened a restaurant in houston? What if somebody could blend the avant garde with the french laundry and meet in the middle could that work. Who knows but I've got some avant garde under my belt and I'll be cooking at the french laundry monday and tuesday. But for now this is just research which means Ill probably end up running a diner or a bistro. That way is much easier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You should check out Bedford, the new restaurant that Gadsby recently opened in Houston. The are a lot of local food blogger that have reviews about it and it is pretty avant garde, and is being well received.

http://www.bedfordrestaurant.com/homepage.html


Red meat is not bad for you. Fuzzy green meat is bad for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel like the pastry chef at Uchi in Austin has experimented a little bit, but not gone full-blown molecular.

As far as seeing this in Austin, I just can't picture it. Yes, we're a little more adventurous, but we're also kind of poor these days. Austin is more about hole in the walls than anything else in my opinion.


There's nothing so bad in this life that pork fat can't make better.

My Blog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the recomendations on uchi and bedford. They both look like they are doing good food in the lone star state. I really want to try uchi and have known about the restaurant for a while. Chef clole seems like a down to earth guy as well. I have looked for pictures but there isn't really a lot out there. It would be nice to see as much food as possible from the two chefs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I feel like the pastry chef at Uchi in Austin has experimented a little bit, but not gone full-blown molecular.

The dessert menu I saw at Uchi last week looked very plain, just some sorbets, nothing fancy. When was this, and what kind of dishes?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bringing back this zombie since I've been fairly interested in this. Austin has quite a few restaurants that have been moving into this realm. Not quite to the extent of restaurants such as Alinea or Minibar, but I have seen plenty of foams, gels, smoke, sous vide, and overall modern presentations at quite a few restaurants here.

Obviously Uchi and Uchiko are always listed as the top restaurants in Austin, which deserve that spot. These restaurants are full-blown molecular gastronomy, but use some modern techniques in some of their components. They have an awesome sous vide pork belly dish (Bacon Steakie). Another good modern spot to check out is the Barley Swine.

I would highly reccomend Congress or Carillon if you want more avant garde food, although the former comes at a cost (and is likely the closest you'll get to what you want without going to Chicago).


Edited by Baselerd (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Similar Content

    • By bhsimon
      I want to make mint spheres for use in a hot sauce. (Think lamb with mint caviar.)   Can this be done? Is it possible to make heat-stable spheres?   What is the most effective way to extract mint flavour from the raw leaves? I don't want the resulting spheres to contain alcohol as it will be served to children. My cursory investigations indicate that glycerol may be an alternative—has anyone done this?
    • By boudin noir
      I recently did some halibut steaks sous vide. They were about 1 1/2  inches thick. I did them for 30 minutes at 122 degrees. When i took them out to brown them, they were very fragile. As I browned them they fell apart. They were delicious, perfectly cooked from an eating point of view, but ugly. Too hot, too long or both?
    • By bhsimon
      Anyone tried this?
       
      I'm trying to think of something novel to do for my friends at an upcoming birthday weekend. We are renting a house in the Hunter Valley (Australian wine region) and food is a major component of our weekend. Last time I did fizzy fruit—the grapes and oranges were awesome and everyone enjoyed the unique experience. I want to do something quirky like that again.
       
      The whipping siphon is easy to transport so I'm interested in using it. The siphoned soufflé in Modernist Cuisine, volume 4 page 297, has a chocolate variation that does not require propylene glycol alginate or maltodextrin (I don't have those things in my pantry, yet). That looks like it might be a good one to try. Anyone done that and have some advice for me before I dive in?
    • By bhsimon
      Besides the health concerns, deep frying steak is the best way to get an even colour and crust on steak. In my most recent experiment, I tried the technique of deep frying prior to, and after, cooking the steak sous vide. In the past, I had only fried the meat after it had been cooked.
       
      The meat was veal chops. As can often be the case, the meat was mishandled somewhere along the way. The obvious signs of this were indentations in the surface. This kind of thing makes it tricky to pan fry and get even colour.
       


       
      This soft meat is also tricky to vacuum seal as it can often be further compressed and misshapen in the process.
       
      I was delighted to observe that a short 45 seconds in hot oil fixed both of these issues! I didn't expect that. Nice. The meat plumped up and that indentation was gone. It also held its shape nicely when vacuum packed.
       

       
      Time and temperature matters. The difference can be just a few seconds or degrees. In the next picture, the time was the same but the oil was 20°C hotter for the steak on the left and the crust is noticeably darker. My next experiment will try 30 seconds at 200°C before and after.
       


      The goal is to keep the crust as thin as possible.
       

       
      I hadn't anticipated the secondary benefits of deep frying prior to sous vide. The plumping of the meat and slight firmness made them easy to package and present. I am curious whether anyone has observed this. I am also curious if it would it work in hot water, rather than oil.



    • By Porthos
      I have purchased an Anova circulator. My interest in sous vide is based upon needing to prepare chicken and pork dishes that remain more moist than other cooking methods I have used. This is based upon needing more moistness for my wife. After her bariactric surgery she became sensitive to meat that is not still very moist.
       
      I would like recommendations for some threads to read through to help get me started.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.