We know this is not a food blog.
But when we heard of a restaurant in Houston that was mimicking an art space, our interest was piqued, and we decided to make our way to the Saturday opening of the Eat Gallery, a restaurant that seeks to recreate on the plate what most art lovers witness on gallery walls. It was actually part of a weeklong opening celebration that started on Tuesday and featured five of the city's coolest chefs, who were each known for their artistic approaches to plating food.
"This is the very first culinary art gallery in Houston," announced general manager, or chief curator, Marlon Hall, to a standing room of art and food lovers that night. "Traditional galleries curate art on walls. We curate art on plates," he said, referring to the five chefs as "culinary artists" and the food as "culinary art."
Unfortunately, folks gobbled up the artwork before Art Attack had a chance to admire the lines, colors and artistic squiggles on most of the plates; fortunately, some culinary artists preferred to work in the abstract.
Smoothies were made by Ammo, another restaurant manager and the Eat Gallery's self-proclaimed mixologist, who tailored each smoothie ordered by a customer to his or her appearance and personality, kind of like an impressionist artist would paint or sculpt his own rendition of a human face onto a canvas.
Kesha Bocage, a former marketing executive turned owner of Bocage Catering, was the celebrated artist of the night. Gallery servers spent the evening bringing out colorful sample-size portions of her colorful spinach and beet ravioli, coconut polenta, mango bread pudding, summer berry frangipan and more; later attendees were serenaded on the roof by Hybrid Soulz.
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Similar to a traditional artist's residency, the culinary artists have been contracted to equip the Eat Gallery with their specially designed food for the next 12 months, after which time the managerial team hopes to find another group of equally talented cooks.
There is no one person responsible for the birth of the Eat Gallery; it is the collective brainchild of the Awakenings Movement, a Third Ward nondenominational worship gathering of aspiring artists, musicians and entrepreneurs. These minds, including Hall, Ammo and manager Danielle Ewing, came together with the idea to showcase some of the city's "innovative, quirky and dynamic culinary artists."
As far as art galleries go, the interior didn't really resemble one, save for a few scattered paintings on the walls, and we barely had a chance to admire the art that was on the plates before it was gobbled up. But what made the Eat Gallery so phenomenal and unlike anything we'd ever seen was that the place engaged all five senses, from the sight of the colorfully arrayed food on the plates and platters, to the smell of it cooking in the kitchen, to the taste of its flaky crusts and spicy sauces, to the sticky touch of pear tart between our fingers and even to the sound of Hybrid Soulz as they accompanied Bocage's food with melody.
Visit the Eat Gallery at 4420 Almeda Road. Contact 713-737-8366 or visit www.awakeningsmovement.com for more information.