PaperCity Magazine

October 2019- Houston

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 124 of 135

78 Y ou could say 2019 has been a very good year for chef Jonathan "Jonny" Rhodes. At just 28 years old, the former Marine and his wife, Chana (who served alongside him on tour in Afghanistan), opened the intimate 13-seat restaurant Indigo on Berry Road, in the predominantly A f r i c a n - A m e r i c a n H o u s t o n neighborhood where he grew up. Almost overnight, rave reviews landed him on the best new restaurants lists published by Food & Wine, GQ, and Texas Monthly. The activist chef — whose résumé includes time behind the range at New York's Gramercy Tavern and The Inn at Dos Brisas and Houston's Oxheart — scored a semifinalist nomination for James Beard's Rising Star Chef of the Year Award. At Indigo, he and Chana (who runs front of the house) focus on neo-soul food, nurtured with a deep understanding of the roots that have shaped African-American foodways in this country. This BYOB eatery serves two five-course tasting menus (Herbivore menu $79 and Pescatarian-Chordate $125) with two seatings a night (6 and 8:45 pm), Thursday through Sunday. Each course is plated on custom ceramic dishes, and the food is meant to provoke conversation, as the well-read Rhodes — whose college major in history is evident in his passionate discussions — joins diners between courses to explain the genesis of his culinary creations, from their link to the systematic oppression endured by his forebears to the mass incarceration of African-Americans still occurring today. Although the dialogue might be complex, his food is highlighted by homemade preserves, infused oils, and pickled vegetables, lending brightness to dishes such as Ash Aged Potato Ashcake and Preserved Green Tomato Upside Down Cake with Cornflake Ice Cream. The result is a deeper understanding of the scarcity of many of the ingredients and the traditions that define the fare we know as soul food. Indigo, 517 Berry Road, 832.582.6388, NEO-SOUL DEFINES INDIGO Indigo's "Banana Republics of America" CAROLINE FONTENOT Chef Jonny Rhodes "Institutionalized" – Grilled skewered prawn, crayfish goulash over Carolina Gold rice, and smoked oyster

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of PaperCity Magazine - October 2019- Houston