Thursday, February 9, 2012
Several years back, Nero's fair hometown of Houston was branded one of the fattest in the world. And while we Texans like to think of ourselves as large and in charge, this particularly biting claim to fame was a blow to our gutsy Wild West roots, our can-do attitude, our go-getterist, good ole boy ego -- a tarnish on our spit-shined iron star.
The truth is that our nation's fourth largest city corrals some of the most diverse, multi-cultural, eclectic and innovative cuisines in the world. From mami and papi-owned taco trucks to more than a handful of Michelin star-worthy eateries, we've got it all here for the savoring and imbibing. The rub is that the very French, very staid Michelins aren't usually bestowed on taco trailblazers, nouveau foodie inventors or eclair clairvoyants. And so Texas chefs, much like the Lone Ranger or the Marlboro Man, ride solo, lassoing maverick techniques and rustling up new dishes as they go -- drawing in eager fans through more than rope tricks.
Enter Philippe Restaurant + Lounge into the ring, a Franco-Texan mixed-breed bar and bistro helmed by chef Philippe Schmit. With brains, brawn and even a few Brahman hides by way of upholstery, Schmit has been dubbed the "French Cowboy" for his creative spin. Portions are modest -- that's the French part -- but always infused with some clearly-noted Texas kick. A revolving display of artwork punctuates the many trompe-l'oeil wall panels, and for those whose souls are nourished by more than food, an "Art Menu" can be perused alongside the eats.
Breaking bread is best done à deux, so Nero and a pardner-in-crime saddled up for the ride. It was a delectably-devised but easygoing meal. The ambiance was sophisticated but casually so. Dessert for Nero was the new kid on the block -- a parsnip bundt cake topped with a scoop of Shiner Bock-infused ice cream. Nero staggered out of the swinging doors punch-drunk with enthusiasm and ambition, illuminated by big new ideas, stylishly spurred on. It was Trademark Texas.
Labels: All images by blogger
- Of the Uncanny Valley and Borrowing from Real Life...
- Of Film Noir and a Goth Dress Fest
- Of Time Capsule Capturing and iPhoning Home
- Of Snakes on the Brain and Athens Burning
- Of Tinto Azul and Blueing Gray
- Of Mile-High Clubbing and Down-Dressing to Impress...
- Of Throwing Down Anchor and Sinking Hook
- Of Amores Perros, Pirates and La Playa
- Of Philippe-ing Out in Foodie Ville
- Of a Spanish Retreat and a Pinch of Chic
- Of Shear Terror in the Lone Star State
- Of Word Worlds and Generation Text
- ▼ February (12)
- ► 2011 (359)