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

Raw and confit tomatoes with bay leaf, dried grana padano, pine nuts and spring herbs.
Raw and confit tomatoes with bay leaf, dried grana padano, pine nuts and spring herbs.
Photos by Katharine Shilcutt

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.

Crawfish tails in butter with Texas rice, green coriander and fermented carrot.
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.

Roast summer squash with squash blossom soubise, vadouvan and mint.
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?

Heirloom potatoes roasted with vegetable ash over a sofrito of chard stems.
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.

Steamed cake of "chiogga" beets, chocolate namelaka and beet creme.
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.

Peach and mulberry tart with lemon thyme.
Peach and mulberry tart with lemon thyme.


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Oxheart

1302 Nance St.
Houston, TX 77002

832-830-8592

www.oxhearthouston.com


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