PaperCity Magazine

Round Top Winter 2021

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culled from his great-grandfather's house, while gleaming copper pots from his granddad's candy shop find new life here. Like many chefs, Vasek cooks in the farm-to-table style — but few are as logistically close to those who supply his weekly larder. His seasonally driven menu (which can change weekly, if not daily) credits more than 17 local purveyors by name, many of them small family-run establishments, from his cousin's craft-brewed beers to vegetables from Larry Janicek, a fourth-generation farmer whose land is on Highway 36, the main road into Bellville. During my visit, I started with a pear salad, the tender lettuce mingling with candied pecans and Texas goat cheese ($12); the local greens were likely picked that morning at Ives Creek Organics, a 23-acre Bellville vegetable and aquaponic farm that replaces soil with water and fish to provide the necessary nutrients. I also indulged in Vasek's summer corn and blue crab fritters, steaming hot fried orbs studded with fresh corn and served with a charred serrano pepper aioli ($18). Crisp, roasted Brussels sprouts, sprinkled with Galveston sea salt and toasted almonds, are drizzled with pumpkin blossom honey from Da Honey Farm) — a lovely counterpoint to what could be a bitter cruciferous vegetable if not tamed by a touch of sweetness ($13). The unctuous burrata cheese starter with slices of fresh yellow beefsteak tomatoes, shaved onion, and bits of sun-dried pineapple ($15) was a fun app, paired with torn pieces of pretzel bread to scoop up its decadent, creamy center. Entrees that day ranged from $26 to $44. Choices included a cast-iron seared half chicken with squash velouté, crispy garlic scented spinach, and potatoes cooked with duck fat ($26); pan-roasted grouper accompanied by calamari studded risotto with sweet peppers ($34); and a tile-fish dish paired with summer squash and Gulf crab chowder ($34), both delivered care of the fishmongers of Heritage Seafood in Austin. I opted for turf in lieu of surf and shared a post-oak-wood-grilled strip steak ($42) — and I'm glad I did. The kitchen split the mighty cut (raised by 44 Farms) that was surprisingly lean for a strip cut. Served smeared with a black pepper lemon-scented aioli, it was accompanied by a fresh cut-off-the- cob corn and cherry tomato salad with giant fried onion rings on top. Dessert brought a trio of homespun choices; I selected the warm pineapple upside- down cake with sweetened whipped cream and banana purée. Open lunch and dinner Thursday through Sunday (with Sunday brunch as well). Reservations are recommended. Twenty Two North Holland, 22 N. Holland St., Bellville, 979.865.3000, Roasted cauliflower risotto with autumn squash, squash blossoms, and sweet peppers Twenty Two North Holland with original brick walls 25

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