PaperCity Magazine

April 2013 - Houston

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SERIOUSLY FOOD The Pass & Provisions, 807 Taft St., 713.628.9020; L RALPH SMITH ast fall, when chef/owners Terrance Gallivan and Seth SiegalGardner debuted their dual restaurant concept The Pass & Provisions, their ambitious plans for The Pass half had yet to be realized. For several more months, they scurried to ready the shrouded space next door to Provisions — one revealed to us several weeks after opening, when we reserved a table for two at 7 pm three weeks in advance. Advised we should allow 2 1/2 hours for the dining experience, I was kindly reminded twice, days prior, about our upcoming reservation, which I initially secured by credit card, understanding that changes made less than 24 hours before the date would result in a $75 charge per person. (With an intimate dining room where the table assigned is yours all evening and only parties up to six may be accommodated, the policy is just.) As directed, we arrived precisely at the designated hour, whereupon we were excitedly ushered through an imposing in-only black steel door that opens up and out much like a Delorean. As we stepped into the austere room with soft charcoal velvet upholstered banquettes and dining chairs, its stark white walls devoid of decoration, we realized the setting strives to focus your attention on the open, gleaming kitchen and downward to the stunning five- or eight-course tasting-menu plate presentations, priced $75 and $95, respectively. At the opposite end of the room, sommeliers pair each course with an appropriate wine — largely European, heavy on small French producers, for $45 and $65 extra per person. The menu, which changes every two months, is written in cryptic shorthand; a lavish recitation of the ingredients in every dish comes later from the well-schooled, black-suit-clad waitstaff, alternated by chefs who also serve guests in their customary whites. Purposely experimental, the chefs seem to have a lot of fun tinkering with the tools in their kitchen. Taking a page from lauded predecessors such as Ferran Adria, Thomas Keller and Grant Achatz, who decades ago set the precedent for creating playful fare that appears like something it's not, the powers that be here have composed a menu and artful presentations that often belie their off-putting menu descriptions. For example, while a nori-infused bucatini pasta wrapped about tofu dotted with shelled clams and uni and adorned with white pillows of dashi foam left me rather cold, I was shocked at how much I adored my main course of pig, an unlikely sounding plate of headcheese and a blood bread pudding that was more like a tiny molten cake garnished with paper-thin slices of dried candied apple. My favorite course, smack-dab in the middle, was savory onion-laced French toast garnished tableside by what appeared to be powdered confectioners sugar but was actually powdered Parmesan cheese! Now, how did they do that? The progression of courses included a kitschy intermezzo/dessert-plate presentation that mimicked a cracked egg, comprised of buttermilk ice topped with a ball of flash-frozen white-chocolate ice cream tinted the color of marigolds and a glass of milk-chocolate-flavored soda. When asked if you'd care for coffee with your petits fours, do indulge in the $5 luxury, where not only will you witness the most elaborate chemix coffee presentation in town (replete with cup warming), but you'll sip one of the best brews anywhere. Laurann Claridge FRESH SPOTS TO SHOP GAZE AND GRAZE , WE'REJONESING FOR ADLER, SHOPPING BOHO CHIC, CRAVING BLOOD BREAD PUDDING AND BOCCE HOUSTON. BALL. JUST A TYPICAL DAY IN BIGGER AND BETTER Anthropologie, 4066 Westheimer Road in Highland Village, 713.840.9428; Anthropologie is moving from its long-time digs next door to Williams-Sonoma in Highland Village to a new space just across the street in a remodeled portion of the former Tootsies store, just next door to the soon-to-open J. Crew boutique (more on J. Crew next month). Why the move, you ask? The shop — which is known for its carefully edited bohemian-inspired clothing and accessories collections, plus one-ofa-kind home designs, found objects and gifts — needed more space ‑ 2,500 square feet more space to be exact, to stock an enhanced jewelry area with such designers as Byron Lars, whose collection is currently featured in Made in Kind, Anthropologie's platform for limited-edition designer collaborations. Shoes will also be in-store for the first time. Decked out by Anthropologie's talented in-house design team, the new format has three inviting rooms that encourage exploration. Kate Stukenberg BOCCE & BEER JENNY ANTILL JENNY ANTILL HAPPY number at press time; . Dr. in West Ave, no ADLER. Jonathan Adler, 2800 Kirby Brooklyn Athletic Club, 601 Richmond Ave., 713.527.4440; Executive chef Jeff Axline and owner Shepard Ross Jonathan Adler has designs on West Ave. That's the location of the infamously chic designer's 3,500-squarefoot flagship store. The shop is chockfull of Adler's inventive, wildly colorful spins on furniture, rugs, bedding tabletop and more, with inspirations ranging from mid-century design to pop culture. Cozy up to the gift bar to zero in on a fitting trinket — we went for the ceramic boxes labeled Dolls and Uppers from the Vices collection ($28). Brand-new are jazzy Aegean Wave beach towels ($88) and a zingy junior collection. Customizable options for pillows, rugs and throws abound. And don't miss the art finds — Curtis Jere Rain Drops mirrors and artist Scott Lifshutz's delft-style watercolor portraits. Jonathan Adler Megan Pruitt Winder Bocce court Restaurateur Shepard Ross — whose ancestors crossed over from the old country, around the Lower East Side of Manhattan, all the way over the East River, into Brooklyn, in the 19th century — has created an homage to the world of his forefathers in the form of Brooklyn Athletic Club, a bustling, cheerful restaurant/bar/ice house/ country clubette. Located in the building that formerly housed Zimm's Little Deck on lower Richmond, you'll find a little Astroturf croquet pitch, bocce-ball lanes, beanbag horseshoe courts and even a badminton court. In the evenings, a fire burns, ready for toasting s'mores. Indoors, the dining room seats 42 and serves a menu that allows patrons to go from nosh to posh at their discretion: herb-roasted Bryan Farms chicken, pei mussels and fries and a clubhouse burger with green tomato jalapeño jam on a slow-dough bun. Ross is busily reworking a food truck to serve the sporty expanse south of the restaurant. Already, a contingent from the Houston Texans was spotted on a coolish night, toasting s'mores over the gas flames — an activity Ross encourages. As a man who worked in soap operas and television long enough to earn a SAG card before taking up the restaurant business, he observes, "This is still show business." Open lunch and dinner. George Alexander APRIL | PAGE 28 | 2013

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