Frank's Americana Revival and Chef Kevin Naderi of Roost: 2013 Menu of Menu's Big Winners

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

The annual Menu of Menus grand tasting is much more than just a night for our readers to come out, meet their favorite restaurants, find new favorites and get their faces stuffed with delicious grub. It's also a fierce competition.

A wooden token was given to each guest as they entered Silver Street Station last night, good for one vote to the restaurant that wowed them the most. Newcomers Maine-ly Sandwiches and the Eatsie Boys -- serving buttery lobster rolls and Shipley's donut-flavored ice cream topped with specially-baked mini donut holes, respectively -- looked poised to win, but it was another newcomer that swept the competition last night.

Frank's Americana Revival, which opened just this past December, won in a landslide of tokens for its beautifully presented plate of braised short ribs, carrots and pearl oninos over a creamy scoop of jalapeño-cheese grits. Classy comfort speaks to the heart every time.

In the second annual Iron Fork competition, defending champion Kevin Naderi -- chef and owner of Roost -- beat the odds-on favorite, chef Ryan Hildebrand of Triniti, to take home the [literal, and quite heavy] Iron Fork once again.

In the course of the 45-minute live cooking competition, the chefs were responsible for creating two dishes out of a secret ingredient chosen by Iron Fork emcee Randy Evans -- chef and owner of Haven -- and presenting them to a panel of judges. That secret ingredient? Quinoa, which the creative chefs quickly pulverized into flour to make gnocchi and fettuccine.

Along with a full pantry of food supplied by Whole Foods Market, the two chefs cranked out an appetizer and an entree in the 45-minute timeframe, with Hildebrand assisted by his trusty chef de cuisine, Greg Lowry. In the end, however, the Triniti team didn't finish plating its fettuccine entree and therefore lost on a small technicality. That said, Hildebrand and Lowry did turn out an amazing appetizer of perfectly-cooked bay scallops coated in quinoa, over a bed of fresh vegetables with a surprisingly lovely banana puree.

Naderi's entree of quinoa gnocchi didn't turn out exactly as he'd planned -- "It's tough to get the consistency right; the flour didn't get as fine as I wanted," he told emcee Randy Evans -- but the fluffy pillows of pasta in a truffle cream sauce made for a fine feast regardless. Naderi will be back next year to defend his title once again, and we hope to see you there once again as well.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.