Hubbell & Hudson Popup Dinner - Inside the Loop with Chef Austin Simmons

February 21, 2014

We're unabashed fans of the food Chef Austin Simmons creates at Hubbell & Hudson Bistro. From his incredibly creative seafood presentations to his world-class burgers, we've not seen a misstep from this talented young chef.

Last night the chef took his formidable talent and a section of his kitchen staff inside the loop for a pop-up dinner. The location was a stunning historic Museum District home, recently renovated by Pasternak Custom Homes, and offered for sale by John Daugherty Realtors.
For the event the meticulously restored interior of the home was converted into an intimate bistro. In attendance were members of the print, broadcast, and on-line media, all anxious to sample what was ahead.
As the culinary team prepared the eight-course tasting menu, craft cocktails were passed, accompanied by a surprising appetizer: A quick-fried morsel of battered and breaded foie gras, cooked to the point of liquidity. This burst of liquid flavor was a playful tease of what was to come.

While the media was socializing, the culinary team had converted the beautiful residential kitchen into a line worthy of four-star restaurant. Homebuilders brag about commercial-grade kitchens, but Pasternak Custom Homes truly delivered.

The hungry mob was seated, and Chef Austin presented his first course, escolar served with jalapeƱo marmalade, and a ponzu bouillabaisse. As CultureMap's Eric Sandler quipped, "Just like mom used to make".

Next out was another seafood course, this time uni, bacon and lobster, accented with a touch of miso and charred grapefruit. The smoky richness of the proteins were offset by the zing of the citrus, and the result was something we'd gladly devour again.
Continuing the seafood theme, Chef Austin presented his superb charred octopus, enhanced with saffron, blood orange, fennel, imberico and coriander. This stunning dish brings together many distinct flavors into a harmonious whole - it is easily the best octopus dish I've ever experienced.
Chef Austin comes ashore to present foie gras served two ways: A seared slice and as a bruleed pate. The lush fattiness of the foie was balanced by cranberry, honeycrisp apple, hints of citrus, macadamia nuts, and cress. I noticed more than one guest licking the inside of the small dish that held the pate.

Next the chef introduced a beef course, but not just any beef - A5 grade Japanese Wagyu. It was topped with shaved perigord truffles, and accented with artichoke, anise and peppercorn. The beef was superbly tender and indulgently marbled, and the earthy truffles elevated the savory beefy flavor to even greater heights.

A unique cheese course appeared next. After the bold, strong Wagyu, Chef Austin juxtaposed a light, airy goat cheese puree, accented with hyperlocal Woodlands honey, winter truffle, almond, lavender, and cranberry.

Desert was served shortly thereafter. A deconstructed pallet of yuzu, green tea, miso, shoo, sable, and cilantro. At the chef's instruction we combined these wildly individual flavors into a coherent whole. It was hard work. Hard, delicious work.

Finally the chef presented petite petit-fours. They were not your typical cookies; flavors of pink peppercorn, soy, caramel and dark chocolate were blended and perfused, and the result demonstrates the formidable chops of Katrina Autem, the pastry chef.

Chef Austin's culinary team did a superlative job delivering eight courses of innovative, technique-driven cuisine in a residential kitchen they'd never worked in before. The evening progressed flawlessly, a tribute to the hard work of Executive Sous Chef Lance Criswell, Pastry Chef Katrina Autem, Sommelier Tanya Hinson, and the rest of the Hubbell & Hudson team.

Of course, now that the chef's formidable skills have been put on display in the heart of Houston, we predict that a table at Hubbell & Hudson Bistro will get even tougher to snare. Make your reservations early, folks.


Our thanks to Hubbell & Hudson, Pasternak Custom Homes, and John Daugherty Realtors for making this event possible. 

Copyright 2023 Nurick + Associates