New York Times food writer Frank Bruni is on an enviable assignment these days, scouring the country for the best and most creative new restaurants. It's no surprise to anyone who's eaten a meal at Feast, the almost indefinable English restaurant on Westheimer, that the nose-to-tail purveyors made Bruni's list.
To say that there's nothing like Feast in Houston is an understatement.
Indeed, Bruni put a finer point on it when he stated that Feast is "a full-on, extended ode to offal that has no real peer in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and other major cities that pride themselves on their epicurean adventurousness." If that's not a hymn of praise, I don't know what is.
For the uninitiated, Feast is an English restaurant that bills itself as offering "rustic European fare." That means things like black pudding and cock-a-leekie alongside Spanish dishes, Gulf Coast seafood and the odd bit of entrail. Robb Walsh called Feast "bloody brilliant" in his November 2008 review, and noted that "you don't have to eat blood pudding, ox hearts, tongues or livers to enjoy a meal at Feast -- but if you do, you'll find yourself in hog heaven."
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In his article, Bruni commended the chefs at Feast -- James Silk and Richard Knight -- for daring to bring such a foreign concept (offal isn't served on most menus in the United States, much less Texas) to Houston and succeeding. When put into perspective, though, it seems like a match made in food heaven: meat-loving Houstonians meet meat-loving chefs, who are more than eager to expand our carnivorous horizons.
To both Bruni and Robb Walsh's point, though, offal isn't for everyone. And part of what makes Feast successful is their willingness to realize that accessibility benefits everyone. Bruni writes: "As it has evolved over 12 rocky and rewarding months, it has become more broadly accessible. Its menu has expanded to include some less adventurous fare, though what hasn't changed -- and won't -- is the restaurant's intense devotion to its cooks' motherland, evoked in an array of rustic classics."
The menu at Feast changes constantly, both because of the fresh meat and fish that hits their door every day and because Silk and Knight are always experimenting. Lunch is the best time for a novice eater at Feast to experiment, too, with two course lunch specials for $12.95 and three courses for $15.95. Once you try their lush fish and scallop pie or the sinfully good crispy pork belly, you'll be singing their praises, too.