The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2013

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Page 77 of 149

RESTAURANTS THAT MATTER Beyond the Ribeye STEAKHOUSE-HEAVY HOUSTON OFFERS DIVERSE CULINARY SURPRISES by Merrill Shindler I t's a simple word association game. Say "Houston" and (along with "Sam," "Stetsons" and "big hair") the word that pops to mind is "steakhouse." And indeed it should, for Houston is home to some of the best steakhouses in the world—among them Pappas Bros., Del Frisco's Double Eagle, Perry's and Vic & Anthony's—serious destinations for serious meat. Which is why it comes as a serious bit of cognitive dissonance to suggest that the Restaurant That Matters the most in Houston right now might be a sushi bar. Uchi is a sushi bar that, like Matsuhisa in Beverly Hills, breaks the mold, and then reshapes the shattered pieces into a new and very exciting cuisine. This is a land of baby yellowtail with ponzu, Thai chiles and orange slices. Of octopus with sea urchin and scallop—all in a single dish. Of big eye tuna with goat cheese, and of salmon and striped bass, combined into a dish called uchiviche. Duck is served in a jar, tendrils of smoke rising from the tender meat. And yes, there's beef—Wagyu served on a hot rock. To match, there's a nearly encyclopedic wine list, including a growing world of vintages from Texas. And enough sakés for an izakaya in Shibucho; try the milky Takara Nigori Unfiltered—ice cold, of course. PHOTO COURTESY OF UCHI Smoked duck at Uchi. 76  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2013 TP0713_066-99.indd 76 6/24/13 5:48 PM

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