Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Beast

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.

7 comments:

Chicken Fried Texan said...

Good find! It's only 8 am and I'm already hungry for sweetbreads.

Tom C. said...

This post prompted a long-simmering tripe question for Anonymouseater (or any knowledgeable commenters). One of my top 5 favorite dishes I ever ate was Trippa all Fiorentina at Delfina in S.F. (And Rioja makes a lusciously rich tripe tapas.) But I've also had some menudo that tasted so, um, "earthy" that I couldn't eat the stuff.

More to the point, I haven't tried to make any tripe dish at home since the mid-1980s, when the preliminary boiling step left a putrid aroma that permeated my apartment for hours. It pretty much left me in the "don't try this at home" camp for the next 20+ years.

But I REALLY am getting a hankerin' to try again. Any idea where would be a good place to buy tripe in Houston? I know that Fiesta (near Reliant Stadium) has it, but I have no idea whether it's good quality, how fresh it is, or what degree of pre-preparation it's undergone.

anonymouseater said...

Sorry, I don't have a clue.

If I had to guess, I might try La Machoacana on Washington Ave. It is a great Mexican meat market.

business said...

Just by reading everything about food and restaurants, this makes me very very hungry. It's already midnight here but i am craving to eat something.

Nguyen Duc said...

Very informative, thank you. Pretty bold statement to say that tiradito is a better preparation than ceviche, but nice post.
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cornerofhope said...

This can't actually work, I suppose like this.

Bridal saree said...

Wow, what a blog! I mean, you just have so much guts to go ahead and tell it like it is. Youre what blogging needs, an open minded superhero who isnt afraid to tell it like it is. This is definitely something people need to be up on. Good luck in the future, man.