Monthly Archives: October 2012

Kata Robata


We were remiss not reviewing Kata Robata the first time we dined there a few years ago.  But there’s no excuses for not sharing our recent Omakase dinner experiences, particularly after the Houston Chronicle’s Alison Cook included Kata Robata in her top five Houston restaurants.

Approximately 8-10 courses, priced in the $100 per person range, depending on how many courses you want, the Omakase dinner showcases the restaurants variety of hot and cold dishes, sushi, sashimi, and carpaccio offerrings.  There wasn’t a course we didn’t like or, more typically, love.  And we don’t recall any of the dishes being the same from our first visit.  We sat at the sushi bar both times which added to the experience and which we’d highly recommend. We had great service by the same waiter both times who even remembered we’d ask them on our prior visit to slow down between courses.

Highlights included wonderfully fresh sashimi and carpaccio, expertly seasoned and deftly sauced, including one plate with shaved truffles; sous vide beef short ribs; a decadent shitake mushroom soup with sous vide duck, topped with seared foie gras; sparkling fresh raw oysters topped with ponzu gratinee or mignonette; and beautifully served sushi, both maki (roll) and nigiri style.   We even got to try sauteed geoduck, cooked personally for us by the head sushi chef when we said we’d never tried the giant mollusk.  And they graciously honored our request to include the miso-crusted bone marrow which was delicious.  Every plate was beautifully presented, frequently accessorized with micro herbs or edible flowers.

Creativity and deft hands abound at this place and, judging by the packed house, it’s well appreciated by the Houston dining crowd.  Together with Uchi, Kata Robata is serving the best Asian fusion in town.


3600 Kirby Drive
713/526-8858
http://katarobata.com/

Provisions


UPDATED REVIEW — OCTOBER 2012

We’ve now dined at Provisions on a number of occasions and have enjoyed everything we’ve tried.  Highlights included the roast suckling pig for two, served in a Staub cast iron pot, sous vide’d and then finished in the oven, on top of flavorful noodles and sausage.  We also enjoyed the brandade (salted cod) and roasted salsify, hamachi crudo, and a number of the ham o’day’s (Provisions’ take on a charcuterie plate).  This place has been packed every time, and reservations are a must, although the full menu is available in the bar, which has ample seating for drinking and dining.  Consider ordering each course separately as the food comes when it’s ready in the kitchen, which can result in everything being served at the same. 

FIRST REVIEWED — SEPTEMBER 2012

Opened only a week or so, Provisions is half of the much-anticipated new venture from the dynamic chef duo of Terrance Gallivan and Seth Siegel-Gardner.  Known around Houston for their Just Eight project and pop-up dinners, the chefs have quite a pedigree (Gordon Ramsey, Heston Blumenthal, Marcus Samuelsson).  They’ve cleverly renovated the former Gravitas location (be sure to check out the restroom) — half of the restaurant is the more casual Provisions and the other side will house Pass which, not yet opened, will be a fixed price, multi-course, chef’s table style offering.

There is an active bar scene, fueled by a creative cocktail menu, very interesting wines, and a number of craft beers.  Food is also available in the bar.  Kudos to the sommelier (and our well informed waiter) as we tried four different wine varietals from Germany, Italy, and Greece we’d never heard of no less tried.  A Greek red — Xinomavro, Kir-Yianni –particularly impressed us.   Three ounce pours are available at half the price of the full glass, making for a great opportunity to try a number of wines. 

There are many menu offerings, and we’re already planning a return visit with friends.  (The suckling pig for two (really four) served to the pair next to us is calling our names.)  Dining early and not too hungry, we couldn’t come close to doing the menu justice.  We tried the burrata pizza — an interesting twist which featured an olive oil and garlic roasted pizza bread, sided by a bowl of oozing burrata and roasted tomato designed to spread on the bread.  One of us was close to licking the bowl.  Our next item was the entree of pan seared branzino in a bowl of mussell-parsley-ginger puree with potato batons.  The fish was fresh and deftly cooked, with the vibrantly green broth a delicious touch.  We shared a dessert — the intense lemon pound cake sided by laurel bay ice cream (yes, bay leaf ice cream, and it worked).  Not too sweet, this was a nice touch to the end of the meal.

Get thee to this restaurant, but make a reservation.  Provisions is one of the hottest tables in town right now.

807 Taft Street
713/628-9020
http://passandprovisions.com/