new tenacity date…
“pop up” dinner (just to make it that much more difficult)
monday october 5, 2009
- so read the brief announcement by Tenacity creator chef Randy Rucker. With only a couple of days’ notice, 32 diners gathered at the studio on Monday evening for over three and a half leisurely hours. Randy amazed us with a gallery of nine small but beautifully plated courses that visually and deliciously perked up our senses.
Serving local, seasonal ingredients that are minimally treated, it was a thing of beauty to watch Randy and his rocking assistants, Aggie engineer Marcus and sous chef Ben work effortlessly in the studio kitchen. Surrounded by a large variety of ingredients and several courses to go, Marcus and Ben remained cool and relaxed, occasionally cracking jokes, which led us to believe that this was old hat to them. Come to find out they are relatively new in the food industry - but according to Randy "both are the future of dining in Houston." Professionals, indeed!
Asymmetric white plates are the vessels for Randy’s culinary creations. Artistic at an early age, according to his supportive and proud mother Bootsie, he occasionally retreated to regain his thoughts and then prepared each component with perfection. Every tasty morsel - be it a duck heart (your read it right!), a thin slice of radish or a tiny sprig of herb - found its place on the elaborate menu.
Here's a brief outline of the creative menu:
- Scorpion fish treated like ceviche in a dashi marinade with poached quail egg, shaved fennel, thin slice of spicy red Fresno pepper and fennel sprigs
- Lane snapper, purslane, English cucumber and Easter egg radish
- Lean almaco jack fish, lime juice, smoked salt that evokes the flavor of bacon and Asian pear
- True to Randy’s practice of not letting any part of the animal go to waste, we ate duck hearts, sauteed then chilled, with sweet fish roe and a small red potato. Often referred to as the ‘nasty bits’ in the US, offal is making a comeback.
- A brilliant golden yellow kabocha squash soup with hazelnut oil, green beans, fennel and radish - velvety and luscious
- Cream of broccoli, cauliflower and siphoned egg
- A hearty barley porridge with blue crabmeat, shimeji mushrooms, a hint of peanut butter, sauteed baby bok choy and sprig of basil
- Pork tenderloin on spicy kim chee
- Deconstructed pb&j for dessert: strawberry jelly, granulated peanut butter and a drizzle of chocolate miso served on a spoon
diners scramble for more pb&j and linger on into the night
it's tuesday tomorrow, anyone working?
wednesday october 7, 2009
in the easy chair with my boots on...
chef randy rucker