Where the Chefs Eat: Seth Siegel-Gardner, Terrence Gallivan, Justin Yu
Armenian string cheese at Phoenicia Specialty Foods, one of Terrence Gallivan's cheap eats.
Photos by Mai Pham
For this week's Where the Chefs Eat installment, we found out where Seth Siegel-Gardner, Terrence Gallivan and Justin Yu like to eat around Houston.
In August 2010, these talented three were in between jobs, and Siegel-Gardner, the mastermind, decided to open up a one-month pop-up, Just August Project. They took over the old house that is the Just Dinner space on Dunlavy, serving five-course meals for just $45. Houston foodsters fell in love, and fell hard enough that it convinced all three chefs to stay in Houston.
Yu has already opened Oxheart earlier this year, to much critical acclaim. Siegel-Gardner and Gallivan, who have taken over what was once the Gravitas space on Taft, are currently working hard to debut The Pass and Provisions. They'll be opening very soon, and by all accounts, it's going to be sensational.
Seth Siegel-Gardner Chef/Owner of The Pass and Provisions
Standard go-to: Tacos Tierra Caliente at the West Alabama Ice House. Try to get a good mix of all the varieties of tacos. Beware of the hot sauce. They do not fuck around with the spice. There isn't enough High-Life in the world to make that pain go away.
Cheap eats: Always La Guadalupana for breakfast. That place kept The Just August Project on life support and continues to fuel the hazy mornings of kitchens throughout Houston. Huynh is a standard go-to as well; Hannah [my wife] always goes for #94, but the duck salad is my standard. Pho Binh is an obvious must -- just beware because last time we went there, the night ended with kamikaze shots and failed karaoke.
For family meals: My family has been going to Paulie's since the day it opened. It's the perfect neighborhood place and always brings back memories whenever we go. It has that charm that only a family-run business can offer. Paul took over and continuously pushes the restaurant to be even greater than the neighborhood place that we all love. We hope to do the same with the former Original Antone's, a place I remember coming to as a kid.
Terrence Gallivan Chef/Owner of The Pass and Provisions
Standard go-to: My wife and I go to Huynh a lot. Good, tasty, affordable Vietnamese. Plus it's BYOB. I always get the Char Grilled Pork Bun (rice vermicelli) with fried egg on top and spring rolls. Gluttonous? Yes. Delicious? Also yes.
Other regular places: Nidda Thai and Barnabys; both in our neighborhood and both are always solid. Don't get to 13 Celcius as much as I would like, but their Mortadella sandwich has got to be one of the best in Houston.
Justin Yu Chef/Owner of Oxheart Restaurant
Standard go-to: Whenever I hang out with my family that once a month, for some reason we always end up at Bon Ga Korean restaurant and get the beef dumplings, seafood pancake (extra crispy) and some sort of soondubu tofu. With friends, we've been going to Underbelly to see if we can handle what Chris has to send our way (usually, we can't.) But it is always pretty entertaining when he sends out a huge plate of roasted rib bones and sauce to gnaw on.
Cheap eats: Tacos Tierra Caliente for their lengua tacos and all the Pho Binh's are pretty regular stops, and if I'm ever on the west side of town closer to where I grew up, I have a hard time skipping the bacon-mushroom-swiss burger from Sam's Deli Diner.
Coffee and drive-thru: On Tuesday mornings (our first day off), I sit at Greenway Coffee and let David Buehrer light me up while I work on the menu. I'm pretty sure I have horribly unhealthy heart palpitations afterwards seeing as I usually haven't eaten anything all morning. Other than that, I'm pretty sure I spend too much time after work at the Whataburger drive-thru.
If you missed our previous posts, click below to see more of Where the Chefs Eat:
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.