Oxheart’s Progressive Regional Food is a Must

America, Featured — By on October 12, 2012 8:48 pm

Oxheart, one of the most talked about restaurants in Houston–and in the nation, for that matter–is one place I’ve wanted to visit for a while. So I was very excited when I got the chance to meet up with Founder & Executive Chef Justin Yu to talk about the Oxheart experience.

Yu, a native Houstonian, discovered his love for the culinary arts as a child spending time at a family-owned restaurant. After developing his skills and working in prestigious restaurants in the United States and Europe, Yu returned to Houston to open Oxheart, a  “progressive perspective on regional product.”
Yu’s dedication to using locally-grown organic produce (visit the Oxheart website for stories about the people who are dedicated to working the land to make this possible), is something I really like and appreciate about Oxheart. Yu’s intention is to expose patrons to great tasting local produce and introduce them to a relationship with the people who grow it. Something we as a society lost long ago and are now trying to recover.

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On my visit with Yu at Oxheart, I had a chance to try only one dish due to how labor intensive each one is to make. Watching the team at work, completely focused on each of their tasks, I felt compelled to keep quiet and watch the masters at work. After meticulously placing tiny pieces of basil garnish, Yu served up Texas stone crab in basil bud vinegar, covered with kombu aspic (seaweed gelatin), topped with diced beef tendons, pickled onions and Thai basil. It looked like a shiny medallion and it really peaked my curiosity. The stone crab was finely chopped and contrasted nicely with the gelatin texture of the kombu aspic.

I’ve been asked by friends to describe Oxheart’s food. My best explanation is that Oxheart is a place where progressive culinary arts are in bloom. Oxheart is a restaurant where people come for a completely different eating experience, so if you are expecting the more traditional look of American food, you will not find it here. You will, however, find that an incredible precision has been applied to every labor intensive dish served. If you come to Oxheart with an open mind, you will experience food and flavor at another level in a relaxed unpretentious environment. I consider myself lucky for having the chance to meet a team like Oxheart’s and to get to understand their culinary point of view, and look forward to returning for future visits.

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