A Photo Tour of Oxheart, a Meal Which Left Me Speechless

Categories: Local Spotlight

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Photos by Katharine Shilcutt
Raw and confit tomatoes with bay leaf, dried grana padano, pine nuts and spring herbs.
It's been 24 days since I had my first -- and only, to date -- meal at Oxheart, the young restaurant which recently landed at the very tippy-top of Alison Cook's Top 100 Restaurants in Houston list despite only being open for roughly three months. And although more than a few people disagreed with its placement at the top of the list -- not only due to its youth, but also the fact that it hasn't yet been reviewed -- I can't say that I personally disagree.

Houston has never seen a place like Oxheart.

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Crawfish tails in butter with Texas rice, green coriander and fermented carrot.
In those intervening 24 days, I've yet to come up with a truly coherent and articulate way of describing my meal there. It was revelatory.

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Roast summer squash with squash blossom soubise, vadouvan and mint.
How does a place in which a team of sous chefs methodically plates dishes with tweezers manage to come off as completely and beguilingly insouciant? How does a restaurant this painfully vernal manage to display such an astonishing depth of maturity? And how do Justin Yu and his wife Karen Man manage to transform such simple ingredients as squash or chard into ethereal, otherworldly works of art?

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Heirloom potatoes roasted with vegetable ash over a sofrito of chard stems.
I don't yet know, but I trust that over a few more hotly anticipated visits to Oxheart, the restaurant will reveal its secrets to me as surely as the magnolias swell and open slowly each spring.

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Steamed cake of "chiogga" beets, chocolate namelaka and beet creme.
Until then, these few photos will have to do -- because I still don't have the words to describe that unparalleled first meal at Oxheart.

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Peach and mulberry tart with lemon thyme.


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Location Info

Oxheart

1302 Nance St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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16 comments
Stating the Obvious
Stating the Obvious

The evil rabbits eat meat... most do actually... just look at their beedy little eyes, just waiting for you to slip up...

Hanabi-chan
Hanabi-chan

When I was a kid, I liked beets. Granted, it was canned beets and my childhood palate was not very sophisticated. Still, I do want to try that cake with the beets.  It does look good.  

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

To answer both you and @f1ae1c44b8540a8b4a249eb1ec8626f5:disqus below, I loved the beet dessert. Karen is a genius, because the only part of the beet you taste in the cake is its rich, earthy sweetness. My father hates beets and ate the entire thing, not realizing it was made of beets. A ringing endorsement if I ever heard one...

carrie
carrie

one of the few foods i won't eat, actually.  i find it interesting how people either love them or hate them.  they taste like sweet dirt to me.  can't stand the nasty little things, and it drives me crazy when they show up on a plate unannounced.  it is like they poison the whole plate for me.

Rosemary Gaswint
Rosemary Gaswint

Did you enjoy the beet dish...cake...structure thing? That looks amazing and I loves some beets.  They don't get the credit they deserve.  Beets are the unsung little heroes of the root vegetable world in my book.

Jalapeno
Jalapeno

Please also tell us why the Oxheart name in the face of so much vegetation!

Draganaharris
Draganaharris

Great photos Katharine - everything looks delicious and so appetizing to me! I can't wait to go back.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

For what it's worth, the four-course tasting menu is $49 (and you can choose between two different menus, one of which has two meat courses). I don't think that's expensive considering the amount of food you get and the superb quality of the dishes.

Pkpkayeaye
Pkpkayeaye

Calling someone else ignorant while simultaneously making inbreeding and spousal abuse jokes. So classy. Just saying that all I see are tiny, pricey vegetable purees, and that's not something I want to put in my face. Don't get your carrot-stained undies in a cinch.

Bewildered
Bewildered

Good to see the philistines are still in force in Houston.......

Chuck
Chuck

Pkpkayeaye, this stuff doesn't look tasty to you? Come on, if you try some zucchini with that kind of color, you will be hooked.

DeyTookErJerbs
DeyTookErJerbs

Do you use ignorance to fuel your time machine straight out of 1983 ohio? And if so, when do you find time between raping your sister and beating your wife to skim food articles?

Kagan34
Kagan34

I thought that was funny too. She listed every publication except maybe her high-school paper and....the Houston Press. I've heard she can be flighty, so take that Houston Press, and consider it your official snub.

Sanibel2
Sanibel2

Wow, this looks amazing, hope it tastes as good. An aside: when I picked up Alison's Top 100 and glanced at her credentials, her stint as Houston Press restaurant critic was oddly missing. Is it her memory or mine that's failing? Didn't she write for you guys a while ago, and even win some awards?

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