1302 Nance Street
Houston, Texas 77002
When one of our favorite couples, Lyle and Adele, asked us to try out Oxheart with them, we were beyond ecstatic! I have been anxiously waiting to eat at this much-anticipated restaurant by Justin Yu and Karen Man and they did not disappoint. We loved the interior of the restaurant and being able to sit by the kitchen was just the cherry on top of the sundae. We decided on the chef’s tasting menu with the wine pairing by sommelier Justin Vann.
Beets with granola, almonds, and wheat berries
He ate: This is the first time I’ve actually liked beets. They were really well cooked and mild in flavor.
She ate: I loved the almond essence flavor in this dish. I don’t really like beets so I was relieved that the sweetness of the almonds covered a bit of the beet flavors. This is the first time I did not hate beets! The crunchy almond slices and the hard texture of the wheat berries paired well with the smoothness of the beets.
Smoked young daikon and radishes with smoked creme fraiche
He ate: I thought this was…fine. Both the yolk and the smoked creme fraiche were super delicious. To me, the daikon was just a vehicle for the sauces. It could’ve been a saltine cracker as long as it delivered the sauce to my mouth.
She ate: I liked that the creme fraiche was sweet while smokey. That was a nice combination. The daikon was good but having grown up eating daikon regularly, it was not particularly exciting to me, smoked or not.
He ate: These were very good and fresh out of the oven, but I wouldn’t say they were the best bread I’ve ever had. It is cool that they make it to order. It’ll always be consistent and never stale!
She ate: I agree, piping hot rolls will always be good but…bread is bread, yo! I was very impressed that they made gluten-free rolls just for Adele. I had a little bite and those were just as good as ours, a feat hard to achieve! Bravo on that!
Adele’s gluten-free rolls!
Crawfish warmed in butter over Texas rice
He ate: This was probably my favorite dish! I really liked the rice even better than the crawfish, which were succulent and flavorful. The rice was in this sauce that was almost a rue…and had all of the great crawfish flavors. I’m usually not a fan of rice in general but this…I could have eaten a bucketful. The texture was just…I don’t know how they did it. It wasn’t squishy or crunchy, just a little bit al dente.
She ate: Oh my god I so agree. The crawfish was great but the rice! It was in between the perfect fried rice and a gumbo…the texture was swoon worthy. I don’t know how to explain it. It wasn’t too al dente so it was able to absorb all the flavors.
Barley and sunflower seeds stew with beans and gulf hake
He ate: I was confused by this dish. I thought it was supposed to feature the fish, but it really was more like a barley stew. The entire dish was a little too salty. The baby greens offset the savory but not quite enough. However, I still enjoyed the rest of the dish.
She ate: I didn’t think the whole dish was too salty, I thought just the fish was very salty (but I like salty so no complaints here!). The rest of the stew was not salty so I thought it was a nice contrast to have a little bit of fish, then some barley. It reminds me of eating savory little dishes to go with the very bland congee I grew up eating. The grenache blend that paired with this stew was brilliant. It was a light red that went perfectly with the fish. The wine was very woody and oaky yet still retained lightness.
Potatoes and vegetable hash with pesto
He ate: Great flavors, not all that creative, but paired awesome with the Gertzweiner. Of all the pairings I thought this one was the best. The crisp and slightly sweet Gertzweiner played off the savory crunchy potatoes quite well.
She ate: I liked that the pesto acted as a condiment for the potatoes, like ketchup and fries. Some of the potatoes looked like short ribs or some form of substantial meat, so every time I put it in my mouth I would think “oh maybe THIS piece is meat!” and was constantly disappointed…but the potatoes were pretty fucking delicious so I shouldn’t complain. #firstworldproblems. They cut the potatoes at the exact right size where the ratio of crispy skin to soft insides was just perfect. However…not the most inventive dish.
Beef shank with yellow carrot, seaweed, and preserved lime
He ate: I thought the beef was peculiar but in a good way. The carrots were fine but nothing crazy.
She ate: I expected this to be a steak, but when I cut into it, it fell off my fork. This was such a pleasant surprise! It was super tender yet a bit crispy on the outside! This is pretty hard to achieve…as a matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had meat this way. I also thought everything was JUST salty enough. That’s my usual complaint at steakhouses. It’s either overly salty or completely bland. I love roasted carrots in general so that was a big thumbs up for me. Every other dish, I gave half of mine to Aaron, but this one I gobbled it all up!
Layer chocolate cake with chilled beets
He ate: Well…at least there was a lot of chocolate for just a little bit of beets. Of course I wish there was no beets in my cake at all, there was that saving grace. It looked pretty and was chocolatey and went well with the Trappist ale. I thought all of our pairings were very inspired. There were a couple of misses, but the three or four pairings that I really liked—I REALLY LIKED. They really added something to the meal. Often I get wine pairings and I think the wine would actually be better without the food…not the case with Justin Vann. He’s truly one of the best sommeliers we’ve come across.
She ate: You know, despite not liking beets, the first beet dish was genius. But beets in desserts are a bit over done in my opinion. I see it in a million food blogs and fancy restaurants…let’s move on here. The flavor just did not work for me. Beets and chocolate just should not go together. Ever.
tl; dr: Oxheart lives up to the hype!