Oxheart

Oxheart
1302 Nance St.
Houston, TX 77002

I think Houston sort of tries to elevate its own dining scene.  There’s obviously no shortage of money here, but I guess sophisticated food doesn’t always follow the money.  Oxheart is Houston’s attempt at something a little more special.  It’s supposed to be one of Houston’s best new restaurants.  I was excited to try out their tasting menu.

Clarified Watermelon Juice dried jujube, muscadine grapes, asian pear, lime leaf

I thought it would have been prettier to have the watermelon juice in a white bowl to appreciate the pretty color, but maybe it would have been too ugly against the green grapes.  Everything about this dish was as advertised.  The juice was sweet.  The grapes were tart.  The Asian pears were crunchy.  The globules of kaffir lime oil were the only unexpected and interesting aspect to this dish.  Other than that, I could have made it at home.  Still it was refreshing and light.

 

Mung Bean Crepe braised mustard greens, potato skins, miso, pickled long beans and fenugreek
The crepe was delicate and crispy.  It reminded me of the pancakes you get at Korean restaurants.  The filling of braised mustard greens was savory and not too bitter.  The side of pickled long beans and fenugreek added some tart crunch.  Overall, a nice dish but not something worthy of its place in a $75 tasting menu.

Warm sourdough bread but nothing too special.

Gulf Tilefish a Scapece basil kombu broth, summer squash, preserved fruits

My fish was too salty but The Annoyer thought his fish was fine.  It was very moist and juicy though. The basil kombu broth was tart and mildly herbaceous.

Stew of Preserved Vegetables field peas, charred sweet peppers

This homey dish was quite tasty.  There was a strong umami flavor here that I could only identify as fish sauce.  The preserved vegetables brought their own bit of funk that made this dish really unique.  The sweet charred red peppers provided nice contrast.  I sopped up every bit of this stew, but I was a bit disappointed that a completely vegeterian dish of beans made it onto my $75 tasting menu.

Guinea Hen stuffed with rice, collard greens, poultry and shellfish sauce

The final savory course was guinea hen, which wasn’t really that exciting.  The meat was not as juicy as I would have preferred and the rice stuffing was undercooked.  The collard greens were nice and not overcooked.

Frozen Yogurt pickled, poached, and dried gala apples, puffed quinoa

The yogurt was not anything different than what you can get at Pinkberry.  The best part was actually the puffed quinoa.  It was crunchy and toasty.  I enjoyed the varying textures here.

Some shortbread cookies to end the meal.
Oxheart was good, but it wasn’t what I was expecting.  I was expecting something elevated, food that raised the bar, something worthy of the price tag and stellar reviews.  I certainly had food I never had before, but it wasn’t food that I would come back for or highly recommend.  I would have been happier if there wasn’t as much hype and if it were cheaper.

 

10 – You NEED to eat here
9 – Awesome!
8 – Very good
7 – Good 
6 – OK (factoring in price)
5 – Average
4 – Not bad
3 – Not good
2 – Terrible
1 – Do NOT eat here

 

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