Saturday, June 27, 2009

Restaurant Reviews: Textile

This is blog has not been one to post a lot of Restaurant reviews, unless those reviews also involved beer or in certain cases lack there of. Today is going to be different, because I've been to a restaurant that so impressed me I wanted to share my experience. Myself and another couple celebrated my wife's birthday yesterday. We all love good food and good drink, and having wanted a good excuse for a while we headed to Textile up in the Heights area. Textile is a new 'it' place for 'foodies' (i know I'm not a huge fan of the word, but not sure what else to use, so bare with me). Its owned and operated by Chef Scot Tycer (owner of Gravitas and Kraftsmen Bakery), the focus on high quality ingredients and high quality food. He serves two tasting menus daily, one 7 courses and the other 5. Beyond the savory courses, Textile is also getting a reputation due to its Pastry Chef Plinio Sandalio, and his amazing and sometimes eccentric desserts. In short the meal we had was amazing. All four of us chose the 5 course Degustation Menu.
1st course: Mixed Hydro Greens, Gromage D'Ambert, Onion strudel - This consisted of some bibb lettuce, blue cheese an onion tart, and dehydrated fennel. Yes its much more than the sum of its parts. Each piece by itself may not have been much, but together it was amazing. The blue cheese was mild and smooth creamy like butter, mixing incredibly well with the onion tart.
2nd Course: Bacon Tart, Basted Quail Egg, Wilted Bitter Greens, Balsmic - This was probably one of my favorite savory dishes of the night. Rich, creamy, eggs and bacon. One of our party commented that it was like a deconstructed wilted green salad that they used to have. Absolutely amazing.
3rd Course: Wild Salmon, Escargot, Morels - This is where you see Textile's attention to detail. One of our party mentioned that the escargot had fed on fresh herbs (its snail foie gras!), and I kid you not you could taste those herbs in the snails. The salmon was perfectly cooked just an amazingly simple dish that tasted exquisitly.
4th Course: Wagyu Strip Loin, Pommes Puree, Wild Mushrooms: If any dish left me feeling meh, this was probably it. Don't get me wrong it was good, but at its basic it was steak with sauteed mushrooms and mash potatoes. All were good, and all used great ingredients, but I'd rather see something a little more unique.
5th Course: Bitter Sweet Chocolate "Torchon", Cherries, pop rocks - This was a really incredible dessert. My spoon cutting through the chocolate unleashing a gorgeous oozing red cherry out of the torchon, spooning it up sprinkling some pop rocks on top and putting it my mouth, created quite the experience. This was a fabulous dish. The two small bowls of pop rocks that we got were quickly devoured, it brought back a lot of laughter and thoughts of being a kid.
No we weren't done there. I read a lot of the local food blogs, and restaurant reviews from the Chronicle and Houston Press so I had heard of Chef Sandalio's newest desert creation: Corn Dog ice cream (yes you heard correctly). I'm a pretty adventurous eater so as soon as I heard about I knew I had to try it, luckily for me the folks in our group are just as adventurous as I am. So after talking to one of the waiters we had them bring out the dessert (Check the picture out, courtesy of Chef Sandalio's blog). Its basically Corndog batter, with sweet ketchup and mustard Ice cream. The most amazing thing on the plate had to be the ice cream. It absolutely blew my mind. The mustard hit you first then the sweet sugar of the cream took over and it just worked. I can't explain it. There were smiles all around, and whispers of disbelief that it was this good. It was a dessert that reminded everyone of the Texas State fare. Again, I don't know how, but it worked. We ended the night with another creation of Chef Sandalio's: bacon ice cream. I thought initially it would be ice cream with bits of bacon in it, but it wasn't. When it came out it looked like regular ordinary ice cream, but that first bite, was almost butterscothcy, then at the finish you get this bacony almost lardy (I know its not a word) taste that tells you unmistakeably it's bacon. An awesome combination and one that I plan on experimenting in the future. The last two desserts completely and utterly blew me away and really expanded my mind when it came to desserts. I'm proud that Houston has a restaurant like this. The service was impeccable, very attentive, coming over with each plate describing things in detail and answering any questions we may have regarding ingredients or how things were made. The other thing that impressed me was the wine service. Along with the tasting menu's you can choose to get wines paired with each course. We did not choose this option, instead getting two bottles of wine, one white, and one read to share between the four of us. After looking at the reasonably priced wine list for a bit, we asked the Sommelier to come over and help us out. Now at many restaurants I've been to, when you ask their wine person for help they always point you to a much more expensive wine than you were looking for. Not here, he pointed out two incredible values and they went very well with the dinner.
As you can tell I loved this place, and think its got almost everything you could hope for in an upscale restaurant. But you know I have one complaint, or at least a thought about Textile. I love how each course is paired carefully and with great consideration to wine, but how cool would it be to see some place like Textile to do the same thing with Beer? Now recently we talked about wanting beer bars to have better food to go with beer. That discussion was not about having to up the price of a beer just to get good food in your favorite local, but instead of offering simple honest food to pair with craft beer. The point I'm making today is different, why can't upscale restaurants like Textile pair their amazing food with amazing beer? And how cool of an experience would that be? That way you as the consumer could choose if you so desired to enjoy your fine craft ale with very fine food.

1 comment:

rcrocker said...

Alison Cook has a review of Textile coming Thursday, and I think you will like it. I edited it yesterday, and we are laying it out right now. Be sure to look for it in Dining Guide.