Last year we went down to Houston to visit friends and family. I was super thrilled that my husband reserved us two seats at the kitchen counter at Oxheart. The restaurant was featured in The Hot 10: Best New Restaurants in America 2012 of Bon Appetite Magazine. Oxheart didn’t disappoint. In fact it met the big expectations I had for the food and the experience overall left me with unforgettable memories. It’s been a year since we dined at Oxheart and we still cherish the experience because it was unique and special. Not only was the food passionately prepared in front of our eyes, using a great deal of techniques and the best local ingredients; but we also got to enjoy conversing with chef Justin Yu who was personable and caring. The conversation went from food ingredients and cooking techniques, to sports, to his personal recommendations of places we should visit while in Houston. It was definitely an amazing dining experience.
Oxheart is a little gem in the middle on the Warehouse District in Houston, with a rustic look, laid back ambience that sits only about 30 diners. Locally owned by Chef Justin Yu and his wife Pastry Chef Karen Man.
We had the tasting menu along with the pairing wines. The food was carefully crafted into each plate, it looked like art on a plate and the flavors were designed to please every sense. We started with a raw brassicas mixture that came with an herb oil dressing on the side and was poured by chef into our salad. It was fresh and refreshing. From there the flavors just kept building up. The heirloom carrots cooked with exotic spices and coconut milk looked so pretty, I had a hard time starting the dish because I didn’t want to mess it up but not only the look on this plate was good, the flavors too were incredible. Followed by a fish that had been smoked on pecan wood, the combination of flavors on this fish were downright amazing, the smoky flavor was so subtle, my husband who doesn’t normally eat fish said he could’ve had the whole fish. One of my favorite dishes was the beef tartar aspic, this beef had been smoked and seasoned, before adding a clear gelatin. I never really liked aspic until I tried this. The unique preparation of the vegetables was simply delish and if I could make my veggies taste like this I am sure I wouldn’t need to threaten our kids to eat them The chicken was also served two ways, poached white meat that was wrapped on turnips and braised dark meat; both ways were equally delicious and moist. Save the best for last and we got a fennel mousse prepared by chef Karen that was so smooth and delight, there could not be a perfect ending to our meal.
I say if you are visiting Houston and are looking for a different kind of food experience, make a reservation ahead of time. I would also recommend that if you are looking for a traditional kind of meal this may not be the place. Oxheart is definitely a unique experience. If there is one ingredient that we could taste in every dish that cannot be bought at the market that would be passion, and that, to me is priceless.
If you want to read all the buzz about Oxheart click here.
To visit their website click here.