It runs in the family
My nephew lives in Silicon Valley and writes a food blog. Or more precisely, he has a blog that is often about food. His latest post is about a meal at a nose-to-tail restaurant in Portland, Oregon.
After the meal, in the parking lot, his younger brother "proudly proclaimed that this was the best dining experience of his life, as if we needed some sort of confirmation."
Nose-to-tail in Portland
Curiously, the restaurant in Portland has a name similar to Houston's own nose-to-tail establishment.
Ours is called Feast. Portland's is called Beast.
Feast and Beast opened in the same year. Last weekend, I asked Meagan and James Silk if they were aware of any connection in the name. No, they said. They had not heard of Beast until after they had opened Feast.
Of course, the nose-to-tail movement is traced back to British Chef, Fergus Henderson, who wrote "The Whole Beast: Nose-to-Tail Eating."
But lest you think Beast and Feast are copycats, or part of a trendy fad, take a look at both restuarant's daily menus. (Feast is here; Beast is here). They are quite different in both ingredients and styles.
Beast's dishes use precious and trendy ingredients -- morels, foie gras, fennel. In contrast, Feast's dishes rescues the underapprediated ones -- prunes, greens, rutabaga.
Beast's dishes sound more Franco-centric. Feast leans more toward Brittain and Spain.
Nose-to-tail is more a philosophy -- like the "eat local" philosophy -- rather than a style of cooking. You can use all parts of the animal, or cook with all local ingredients, and yet still cook them in any number of different styles.
It is a mistake to dismiss either restaurant as a fad, or to assume nose-to-tail is the essence of their cuisine. It takes a lot more than a little philosophy to make a great restaurant.
Feast -- like Beast -- has a lot going for it, even without the nose-to-tail thing.