The Modular: Blowing Up Boundaries with Big Bones and Burgers
Some of the best food to be had in Houston is happening in a small kitchen at Grand Prize, and a trailer in front of Liberty Station.
Photo by Chuck Cook Photography It's just another night at The Modular
The Modular (as reported on previously by Minh Truong and Mai Pham) is the brainchild of Joshua Martinez, formerly the General Manager at Kata Robata. It has garnered a reputation for being a waystation for talented chefs in between permanent gigs. Lyle Bento (formerly of Feast) is the current head chef.
It's one of a rapidly expanding group that is changing Houston's dining scene and blowing up perceptions of truck food. They are making high-end, chef-driven, creative food at probably half of what you might pay for a comparable dish at a normal restaurant.
As part of Houston Beer Week, The Modular hosted a dinner upstairs at Grand Prize featuring Redstone Meadery, and one of the first courses was bone marrow. I've had bone marrow at a few places, and I love the richness and simplicity of this rustic dish. The only complaint I have ever had is there's never enough of the succulent, salty goodness. Generally, the halved, roasted bones only provide about 50 percent of the portion size that I actually want.
Phaedra Cook "Caveman-style" bone marrow at The Modular
The folks at The Modular love doing things in a big way, and diners at the mead dinner were treated to roasted halves of entire cow femurs. It was wonderful to have plenty of marrow to try by itself, spread on bread, or follow with the bright parsley, caper and onion salad served alongside.
The problem with special dinners is often one gets to try something wonderful only to never have it again. I spoke with Chef Bento about my concern. "Lyle, I'm mad at you ," I said. He looked a little shocked and asked why. "I can't ORDER this anywhere," I replied. I was comforted when Lyle said that they were thinking about offering it as a menu item. "Would you pay $15 for this?" he asked. "HELL YEAH I WOULD!" I said.
True to his word, "Caveman Bone Marrow" (as I like to call it) showed up on the menu at The Modular a week later.