A Taste of the Tasting Room

Photos by Jeff Balke
Chef Steve Super, executive chef at The Tasting Room.
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Chef Steve Super has Gulf Coast cuisine honed to a fine art, surprising for someone who hails from Vermont and only recently made Texas his home.

This time last year, Super was the executive chef at Steve and Erika's, the restaurant at Ten Acres Lodge in Stowe, VT, where he'd taken the restaurant from a sleepy little inn to a bustling showcase for his creative talents.  Steve and Erika's quickly became one of the most popular restaurants in Vermont and Super earned himself the title of Vermont Chef of the Year.

The Tasting Room at Uptown Park lured Super away from his home and down to Houston, where he quickly immersed himself in the local foods and cuisines of the area.  The result is spectacular, especially when paired with The Tasting Room's vast array of wines, all expertly selected by Dutch-born sommelier Tony Elsinga.

A recent media preview provided a sampling of dishes for The Tasting Room's upcoming Gourmet Weekend, a nine-course tasting menu by Chef Steve Super with wine pairings hosted by Gourmet Magazine.  The dinner will take place on Saturday, April 4th with a jazz brunch the following morning.

Serious food porn below the jump.

Delicate white wine pasta was filled with a puree of spring peas and served on a thick piece of local honeycomb, dripping with guajillo honey. Paired with a Moscato d'Asti Cascinetta Vietti that enhanced the sweet earthiness of the peas.

Freshwater jumbo prawn, marinated in chipotle buttermilk, rolled in blue corn and flash fried. Served over a bed of "Texas caviar" minus the black-eyed peas: white beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado and lime juice in a smoked tomato vinaigrette. Served with a delicate Spotswood sauvignon blanc that reflected the refreshing nature of the dish.

Quail from San Antonio (courtesy of local meat purveyor Ditta Meats), wrapped in local bacon and served with a 12-year aged balsamic vinegar over asparagus and oven-crisped carrots.

A voluptous slice of Kobe beef (pinch-hitting for Akaushi) marinated with garlic, shallots and prickly pear juice. Lightly seared and served over butter-braised romaine lettuce. Paired with a Turley Vineyards zinfandel.

The Gourmet Weekend dinner on April 4th will feature five more courses, including agave-marinated Gulf shrimp with a deconstructed Bloody Mary, terrine of Hudson Valley foie gras, and a wild mushroom and ramp consomme with fresh truffles (that dish alone could be worth the price of admission).

The dinner is $250 per person, including all wine pairings and the Sunday brunch with live music, mimosas and fresh sangria. Reservations can be made by calling The Tasting Room at 713-622-4477.

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