PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston July_August 2021_rev

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Enter through e i t h e r t h e museum or the exterior doors in the sculpture garden, and y o u ' l l b e ushered to a quartz-topped table with a c u r v a c e o u s banquette in p l u s h s a g e - hued velvet. Designers Lucien Rees Roberts and Steven Harris of Steven Harris Architects in New York play up the garden theme with a color-soaked tapestry by Trenton Doyle Hancock hung atop variegated panels of limba wood, while overhead, Akari lanterns designed by Noguchi cast a subtle light. Working with chef de cuisine, Andrew Ayala, the vegetable- focused, tightly edited menu allows you to choose between à la carte dishes ranging from $18 to $34 for starters and $25 to $48 for entrees, or the seasonal expression, a five-course degustation ($125 without wine). The cocktails follow the seasons in harmony with the menu; several, such as the Cromsat & Tonic and the Noguchi Garden, are inspired by the art all around the property, while the wine list comprises mainly French and American bottles. My dining companion and I chose the tasting menu and enjoyed the first course of chilled red snapper cured with citrus-fruit zest then served with buttermilk, a dollop of Kaluga caviar, teeny spirals of Persian cucumbers, and a brunoise of fresh All the desserts by e x e c u t i v e pastry chef S a l v a t o r e M a r t o n e are a visual delight. His B u t t e r f l y — p a r t o f the tasting menu — is composed of a ring of light, tart yuzu citrus mousse with raspberry compote and crumbs of pistachio sable, with a delicate phyllo-dough butterfly perched at the edge of the plate composition as if it's about to take flight. I couldn't resist ordering his decadent Venezuelan dark chocolate crémeux, layered with salted caramel sabayon — a grown-up chocolate pudding you can adore at any age ($15). Open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday; reservations required in the dining room, but you can join the queue for bar seating nightly. Le Jardinier, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, 5500 Main St., mango dramatically revealed as the cloche is removed tableside. Verzeroli's seared Maine sea scallops prove a rich counterpoint to bright quenelles of carrot purée cooked with organic orange zest and served with pea shoots and spring onions, enhanced with a subtle sauce of reduced orange juice with a rosemary branch. The meat entrée included lean grilled Wagyu bavette — two succulent slices accompanied by a "burn" eggplant mousse with beef marrow, crisp eggplant chips, and bright green stalks of broccolini. In the dining room, tapestry by Trenton Doyle Hancock Culinary director Alain Verzeroli NICOLE FRANZEN Avocado fondant. Photo Ricardo Mejia. Blueberry sherbet and compote with lemongrass foam and vegetal meringue. Photos here and below, Emily Chan. Grilled bavette au jus. Photo Ricardo Mejia. Butterfly dessert with yuzu citrus mousse and raspberry compote 29

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