Chef Chat, Part 3: Adam West of Monarch

Houston has a new chef in town. Adam West is new to the area, and he's enjoying cooking up some amazing dishes for us natives over at the Hotel ZaZa. He's trying to turn Monarch into a destination restaurant, instead of just being part of the hotel. As such, he just finished a substantial overhaul on Monarch's menu and has added a good variety of new options. EOW was lucky enough to try a few of his creations.

We started with the Prime Beef Carpaccio ($14), which was a delicious and light start to the meal. The beef is thinly shaved and seared only on the edges. Next comes a flavorful topping of paper-thin slices of red onion, queso fresco, cilantro, and lime vinaigrette. It has the South of the Border flavors that we Texans crave without that overly full feeling that usually accompanies such foods.

With that airy appetizer devoured, we moved onto the Pan Roasted Sea Scallops ($32). One word: perfection. As West himself noted, he likes to get people to try things they normally wouldn't eat. Scallops were one such example. Many people have had bad experiences with them so refuse to eat them. But one taste of this delicate succulent sea creature with its golden-brown caramelization, will have them rethinking things. And the vegetables served with it were equally mouthwatering. Butternut squash, baby beets and Swiss chard decorated a plate laced with apple cider reduction. The result was a medley of tender, colorful vegetables swathed in a soft sweetness. You have never had Swiss chard this good, I promise.

And the piece de resistance? Antelope. Yes, Antelope. But again, you have to discard all your preconceived notions, because this antelope was unlike anything you're probably imagining. It came from Broken Arrow Ranch, which employs special methods to make sure the meat is fresh and not at all gamey. It tasted like remarkably lean beef. Even better? It was served atop sweet potatoes that will blow your mind. The secret ingredient is Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Fluff. You have to respect a chef who will serve up antelope right alongside marshmallow fluff. And a chef who can make that combination work well? Welcome to Houston, partner. We think you're going to fit right in here.

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