After reading Mai Pham's Chef Chat series with Executive Chef Junnajet "Jett" Hurapan of Blu Restaurant in Sugar Land, I knew a trip of my own to Towne Square was in store. I was lucky enough to attend a media tasting at Blu, where I tried delicious and innovative food and fancy cocktails in a trendy and beautiful space.
They've kept the open-space concept of the former tenant, Club Loggia, and it is ideal for what the owners want -- a chef-driven restaurant, lounge and club in one. The space is trendy but not too fussy, and of course a welcoming blue color is prominent. On the evening I was there, the cool breeze from the outside created a lovely dining experience. How the openness will play into the dog days of summer remains to be seen.
Before the tasting began, we had the opportunity to meet with Chef Jett, and he warned us we would be feasting that night. He wasn't kidding. We also tried cocktails including the Orient a L'Orange, a concoction of mandarin vodka and ginger liqueur with citrus orange blossom and Thai basil. This is a refreshing drink that would complement any of the dishes on the menu well. The Lower 9th Iced Tea is wild tea vodka with rum, lemon, mint and absinthe, which gives it a bright-green color.
As for the food, each dish that came out was better than the next. The first appetizers were the shrimp and edamame dumplings. They were as good as any har gow I've had at my favorite dim sum places -- they're something everyone who comes to Blu must try. The tapioca wrapper was soft and thin with just enough chewiness, and they were drizzled with just enough truffle oil. Each bite was creamy and buttery-smooth.
The lamb samosas were lightly fried, the shell crispy but not greasy. The meatball lollipops were addicting, the sweet and sour chili glaze caramelized to the surface of the meatballs. The Kaya beef was something I wanted all to myself; although it's jerky, the meat was extremely tender.
As for the entrees, the Massaman Short Ribs were perfection. The braised ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender, and the peanut-and-coconut-based curry was just slightly sweet. I would've loved a bowl of steamed rice to drown the sauce in.
The piece de resistance was the crispy fried whole fish in tamarind sauce. It's a dish that elicits ooohs and aaaaahs as it hits the table and even more as you take the first bite.
The real surprise here are the desserts. Chef Jett's pastry chef is someone he wholly trusts -- his own wife, Jiraporn. The desserts are a delight to the eyes as well, each well constructed. We were instructed to eat the Chocolate- Cappuccino Martini by getting all the way to the bottom so that we could get the cookie crumble with the mousse. The Yin and Yang is a duo of vanilla and chocolate creme brulees. The hand-rolled truffles had a flavor for everyone -- dark chocolate, champagne, almond and pistachio.
There are a lot of exciting things happening at Blu. They already have a great three-course prix-fixe lunch for $12 Tuesdays through Fridays. They offer an exceptional happy hour menu when featured appetizers are only $4. They are offering brunch on Sundays with your typical brunch fare but are slowly adding dim sum, carts and all. Chef Jett is grilling his global street food late nights on the weekend, and there is even a food truck coming in the near future.
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