12 Comments

  1. 1

    Albert Nurick

    That chuck of wagyu sirloin looked terrible to me. In my experience with wagyu, the fat is marbled throughout the slab, not lumped at one end. I'm not surprised it was tough.

    Reply
  2. 2

    Houston Fed

    First, I must correct you. Oxheart is not in Eado. It is in the Warehouse District. That being said, I respect the fact that Oxheart is not a restaurant for everyone. However, I have a difficult time believing the credibility of a critic when they do two things I view as real errors. The first thing is when the critic inaccurately describes the food. Having eaten many of the dishes described in this post, some of the descriptions were simply wrong, which I feel does a disservice to the reader and the restaurant. The second thing that may be more of a personal pet peeve is when there is no real critique of a dish. When the only thing you tell me in regards to how you feel about a dish is "terrible dish", it doesn't tell me much about the flavor on the plate or you as a critic. The same goes for absurd things such as "tastes like paint." I doubt you've eaten much paint, so that line just makes me feel like the critic doesn't have anything constructive to say.

    Reply
    1. 2.1

      JPearson

      Ditto. And so much more. Also, I love the plating, especially of the one the blogger hated. the photos on the other hand… Beyond all that, the constant forced comparisons to other restaurants/dishes seem to make the review more of a "look at how much I know" than an actual fair review. Blah

      Reply
  3. 3

    Anonymous

    Edible finger paint tastes fairly bland, much like the "terrible dish" in question. I did not "hate" the plating, but I felt underwhelmed. Expectations unmet.

    Reply
    1. 3.1

      Houston Fed

      I'm curious what your expectations were. If you read any/all of the reviews you mention had been written about the restaurant, I'm not sure why you'd expect it to be like The Pass. Oxheart itself has made no claims to be that type of restaurant, and I see no real similarities between the two besides the fact that both have set tasting menus. Personally, I enjoy a lot of different types of places, but try to approach each one with the mindset of what the meal is intended to be. I've never gone to Oxheart expecting it to be The Pass or Mark's. That would be like going to see a Wes Anderson movie expecting a Spielberg vibe.

      Reply
  4. 4

    JPearson

    I wonder if Justin Yu is a foodie? I wonder what he thinks?

    Reply
  5. 6

    Albert Nurick

    Chef Justin Yu responded to this review via Twitter last night, very graciously. He clarified one thing for me, concerning the wagyu beef:

    "The chunk of fat is bc it's sirloin. Kind of it's calling card. The ranch is different and special to our area. Love it" … "btw that wagyu is a little bit of a misnomer. Grass-fed, not treated like Kobe-style. Less marbling, but I love the flavor"

    I don't think any of us enter a restaurant without expectations, and with all the media adoration that Oxheart has received, expectations are often rather high.

    Apparently Tom wasn't the only diner at Oxheart who wasn't blown away his experience. On UrbanSpoon, Oxheart has a 71% approval rating, so a good number of customers have been less than impressed. That's the nature of the restaurant business, especially when the chef is doing something as out-of-the-ordinary as is happening at Oxheart, and the expectations are so very high.

    Comparisons to The Pass are inevitable. Both are among the hottest new restaurants in town, and both are built around tasting menus. Some might not find it to be a fair comparison, but when determining where to spend one's dining dollars for a special meal, both Oxheart and The Pass should be on the short list for a foodie in Houston.

    Reply
    1. 6.1

      Eric Sandler

      I don't mind comparing The Pass to Oxheart. Both serve tasting menus, both have received a lot of press attention and most people will spend a similar amount of money to dine at both (although probably a little more at The Pass). Time, interest and stomach capacity are limited for most people, and they'll probably choose to dine at one OR the other. They are pretty different restaurants, though, and it doesn't surprise me that someone might really enjoy one and not the other.

      That said, nothing that Tom wrote changes my opinion that Oxheart is the best restaurant in Houston. Different strokes and all that.

      Reply
    2. 6.2

      Anonymous

      As I read your remark concerning the wagyu posted on the 26th, my first thought was "does this guy even know what the sirloin entails?" Chef Yu was gracious in his response. My immediate reaction wasn't quite so proper. I find it a bit concerning that you find it proper to criticize something that you have no idea about, just spouting random ideas with little to no background research.

      Online rating resources just are far too inaccurate of a barometer, especially considering the diversity of Houston.

      Reply
    3. 6.3

      Albert Nurick

      Anon, my issue was with the lack of marbling. I've never seen wagyu that wasn't heavily marbled throughout. I understand that sirloin has a fat cap; it just seemed odd for a piece of wagyu not to be heavily marbled, yet to be fatty in areas. Chef Yu explained this on Twitter.

      Reply
  6. 7

    Misha

    I am not going to parse your dislike of Oxheart too finely. It's not a restaurant for everyone; no restaurant ever is. But I hope the people reading this have some perspective on the quality of the writing and the points you make. You could say Oxheart doesn't measure up to the now closed Ubuntu, where the chef worked and which draws many influences. Or that it doesn't quite capture the focus on ingredients at In De Wulf in Belgium or the atmosphere of Relae, which served as the inspiration for the service style and feel. Instead you draw comparisons to random collection of places like Fukuda, Mark's, Dolce Vita and… Souper Salad?

    Sometimes you just don't have a perspective to comment intelligently and it's best not to. I have none of the context to truly understand the foods from African countries (despite the ample opportunity to learn about them in Houston), so you won't find me holding forth on ways Affriko failed to live up to my expectations and didn't measure up to Luther's BBQ. I could say those things, but I'd come across as a bit of a tool.

    Oddly enough, you seem to pick up that Oxheart employs a lot of Asian techniques and influences, which most people miss. I can't think of too many American restaurants that cook at the level Oxheart is aiming for which do the same. Even in places where the chefs are of Asian descent, preparations often skewed towards French techniques and fail to truly reflect their lineage. When they do, as is the case with David Chang media frenzy, they become breakout hits. This is an astute, significant observation, but you make it as if to dismiss it as a run of the mill coincidence.

    Hope you don't take any of this too personally. This post had every opportunity to be better informed and interesting than it was – that's really the only point I wanted to make.

    Reply

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Guest Blogger: A Visit to Oxheart

by Albert Nurick time to read: 4 min
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