PaperCity Magazine

January 2019- Houston

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PARK THE TRUCK B efore food trucks were quite the thing in Houston, chef Julia Sharaby hit the open road in her taco truck, selling Pan-Asian and South American-inspired tacos — and upended our idea of both food trucks and tacos. Five years ago, she and partner, chef David Grossman launched their first brick-and-mortar locale in the Heights. Sharaby and Grossman have now opened Fusion Eats — a mod full-service breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch spot in Greenway Plaza. Michael Hsu designed the space with sleek interiors care of Ziegler Copper, perched next to a gorgeous green space. Handmade corn tortillas, salsas, juices, and purees are created in-house. Breakfast tacos feature free-range eggs, steak, chorizo, and even panko-fried avocados. Lunch and dinner serves signature tacos, including chicken or tofu tikka masala, along with seasonal margaritas. Fusion Eats, 9 East Greenway Plaza, KILLING IT T he rustic meat-centric Killen's STQ — Pearland-based chef Ronnie Killen's first spot within Houston city limits — is a mash- up of steak and barbecue, focusing on live- fire steakhouse cookery, and barbecue techniques such as smoking over woods (from mesquite to pecan) and a steady, consistent heat. Chef de cuisine Teddy Lopez worked for years in Killen's other barbecue and steak concepts. Here, he does his mentor proud by serving up prime-grade wet-aged, dry-aged, and Texas Wagyu beef — raising the bar for steak lovers who appreciate the sacrifice of man and beast alike. Dry aging, for example, is an expensive, time-consuming process that adds complexity; the beef is allowed to age in a temperature- controlled refrigeration unit, and as moisture evaporates, the enzymes break the muscle down, creating a more tender cut. Enjoy a straightforward filet or rib-eye; both are treated with the reverence a fine cut deserves. Other worthy entrees include the chicken-fried rib-eye, topped with white gravy and mashed potato, and smoked salt- and-pepper short ribs napped with an espresso barbecue sauce. But if you're a vegetarian or pescatarian — or you just appreciate seasonal farm-to-table eating — it's possible to work your way through Killen's chef-driven dishes that skirt around the topic of b-e-e-f entirely. On one recent eve at STQ, I ordered grilled octopus with smoked hummus and cured Meyer lemon; charred corn bisque topped with summer succotash; compressed watermelon salad with tomato and a honey-spiked goat cheese spread; and baked-to-order biscuits with truffle- scented honey. I never missed the meat. And that's what sets STQ apart: It's anything but a typical steakhouse. Interiors are a sophisticated mix of reclaimed wood juxtaposed with Frette linens, bone china and marble surfaces. And, like the entrees, the decadent desserts — from the labor-intensive crème brûlée c h e e s e c a k e t o b a c o n - topped tres leches bread pudding — are perfectly s h a r a b l e . Killen's STQ, 2231 S. Voss, 13.586.0223, NEVER TO BE SHUNNED I t takes a lot of courage to step out of a family enterprise. First- generation-born American Naoki Yoshida was raised in Houston; when he was 15, his Japanese parents brought him into their business, Nippon Restaurant in Montrose — an establishment as old as their now-33-year-old son. Yoshida honed his skills in Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago. Now back home, he's opened Shun Japanese Kitchen, with second-generation Japanese cuisine that blends Yoshida's authentic fare with inventive dishes created by executive chef Nick Hill. Renee Yoshida, Naoki's wife, serves as GM of the 3,000-square-foot, 75-seat eatery. "Shun" is Japanese for peak of the season, and it's Yoshida and Hill's aim to source most fresh ingredients locally, while the sake, vodka, whiskey, and beer will all be imported from the Land of the Rising Sun. Start dinner (six days a week) with cold (tsumetai) small plates such as toro tartare, a composed bowl of tuna belly, soy pearls (a gelatin-like sphere created with agar), yuzu-juice-tinged tobiko (flying fish roe), and a tiny quail's egg yoke, intended to be tossed together then eaten so that each element flavors the whole. On the hot (atsui) side, you'll find Hill's take on a corn dog, and hushpuppies of the curry- spiced variety. Yoshida prefers that diners enjoy the Nigiri, sashimi, and rolls last. Try the toro brulee, where fatty tuna is marinated in soy, sake, and sugar, then briefly seared to caramelize the top. Shun Japanese Kitchen, 2802 S. Shepherd Dr., 832.409.5888. WHEN IN ROME Pizza al taglio, also known as Roman-style pizza, might be the next big thing. Cut into rectangular slices (often with a pair of scissors to avoid shuffling the toppings about), these pies are known for a light, airy interior and crisp crust achieved when yeast-risen dough is put through a three-day cold- fermentation process. Pizza Motus, a quaint pizza joint in West U, serves up the Roman-style pies courtesy of creator Will Gruy, who spent 12 years in Rome, racking up fond memories of eating the street food by the slice. Red or white pizza (the latter sans tomato sauce) is served by the slice all the way up to super large pies. The sauce is made from San Marzano tomatoes and sea salt — sans garlic, herbs, or olive oil — and sparsely applied to the base of the dough. If time is of the essence, order at the walk-up window and they'll heat your slice in the authentic Roman ovens. Pizza Motus, 6119 Edloe St., 832.767.3450, Smoked filet at Killen's STQ KIMBERLY PARK Yuzu ceviche at Shun Caprese pizza at Pizza Motus BECCA WRIGHT KIRSTEN GILLIAM KIRSTEN GILLIAM Fusion Eats 80

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