Two St. John visits

This is a two-for… Saturday. Sorry, I just couldn’t wait any longer to post these two wonderful St. John reviews.

stjkitchen1

Picture by David Shaw

First up is David Shaw, who titled his St. John review, “The best meal ever“.  He took the picture above and mentioned,

It’s hard to believe such amazing food comes out of such a tiny room.

Notice the two suckling pigs on the shelf above the stove. We watched both of them get served.

And in his review,

… what will stick with me for years is how that food was cooked and presented: simple preparations of the best possible ingredients with no distractions. At St. John it was — and will always be — all about the food.

Next up is pastry chef Camille from Croque-Camille who claims that Mr. Henderson’s handiwork is proof that English food doesn’t suck.

We started with a bowl of buttery Lucques olives and a salad of slow-cooked ham, pea shoots, and radish.  This is my kind of salad.  The richness of the ham was perfectly balanced by the fresh pea shoots and the peppery bite of the radish.  And seasonal to boot!  I love food like this: great ingredients at their peak, prepared simply and lovingly.

Camille also made a delicious looking rhubarb crumble cake from “The Second Cookbook” Beyond Nose to Tail.

Thanks a ton for sharing with us David and Camille!

Reminder! Lunch meeting at Asia Cafe on the 16th!

I just remembered that I needed to post a reminder that next Saturday the 16th, I’ll be having lunch at 11:30 AM with some friends at Asia Cafe in the Asia Market located on Spicewood Spring road in Austin.

If you’ve sent me an e-mail about wanting to come, I’ll be sending a note to you tonight as well.  This is an open invitation, so bring your friends and family if they feel like coming too.

I’ll see you there!

Feast

I’ve mentioned Feast a few times already, but let me give you a refresher-or introduction if you need it.   Feast is a restaurant that is about bringing “a traditional and relaxed European approach” to Houston, Texas.  This restaurant piqued my interest uniquely because one of the head chefs worked at St. John in London on and off for numerous years, and you can tell by taking a look at the menu: garlic snails on toast, ox heart with a carrot and coriander salad, and back fat with parsley and walnuts.  Talk about heaven! On top of that the restaurant has also been the winner of various awards and honors, including a James Beard nomination in 2008 for Best New Restaurant in the USA.

I was lucky enough to score a reservation for myself and some friends and family a few weeks back.  I was hoping to meet a friend for dinner as well, but the fates had other plans.  That’s okay though, it just gives me another reason to visit Feast again.

I can’t comment on every dish we ordered, but I’ll tell you this much:  everyone loved their food.  It was all fantastically made, and the chefs deserve nothing but praise for their efforts.

I started off the meal with a Bicyclette and a Pork Cheek and Dandelion Green Salad with Roasted Shallots and Garlic.  I think there was a little pig ear in there as well, as I recognized the resistance of biting into cartilage.  The salad itself was nicely dressed, wonderfully flavorful–bitter greens with unctuous pork–and a great start to the evening.

My wife ordered the Scallops St. Jaques, a scallop dish made with cream, mushrooms, brandy and cheese.  I managed to coax a little bite out of her, and we both agree that they were wonderful.

After what seemed like forever, which actually was about thirty minutes, our main courses showed up.  I don’t know if the kitchen was running a little slow or what, but the only downside to the whole meal was the fact that every time we ordered or asked for something, it took a long, long time for it to show up.  The whole meal took two and a half hours.  Consider this fair warning not to plan anything else for the evening if you do visit Feast.

Beef Tongue and Bacon, Mashed Potatoes, Spinach and Onion Gravy.

Cock-a-Leekie: Braised Chicken with Cream and Leeks, Plums, Bacon and Red Potatoes.

Crispy Roasted Pork Belly, Potato Cake and Red Cabbage with Apples.  I got just a little bit of the pork belly and the skin was perfectly crispy.

Scottish Smoked Salmon.

Finally, here’s my order, Sweetbreads, Bacon, Garlic Rutabaga and Braised Celery.  The sweetbreads were soft and creamy on the inside, crispy and crunchy on the outside.  They paired nicely with the cream sauce, braised celery and mint that was used for garnish.  Harmonious just begins to describe how the flavors worked.

After another long wait, our desserts arrived.

Molten Chocolate Cake.

Treacle Sponge and Custard.

I ordered the Sticky Toffee Pudding.  It smelled so good I started eating it before I remembered that I needed to take a picture. It was wonderfully rich and sweet, and I’ve been craving another dish of it ever since I left.

Aside from pokey service, Feast was everything I was hoping for.  I’ll be going back for sure, I’ll just make sure to clear my calendar first.

Feast
219 Westheimer Road
Houston, TX 77006
713-529-7788