New Farm-To-Table Restaurant Is Open in the Galleria Area
I was able to preview the new DISH SOCIETY, four blocks from my house, on San Felipe near Bering (now in the soft opening phase). DISH SOCIETY will be serving chef-driven seasonal menu items with locally sourced ingredients. I love it when I see chefs from Houston restaurants at Urban Harvest’s Eastside Farmers Market shopping for meats, produce and cheeses to craft the week’s menu. That’s one of the places around that you will run into Executive Chef Johnny Romo carrying armloads of fresh ingredients for the menu. With 20 years of experience in Austin, chef Romo has had tenures with Apothecary, Sampaio’s, North, Eddie V’s and others… and has learned very well how to forage for dependable local suppliers. Owners, restaurateur Aaron Lyonsand Director of Operations, Trent Patterson, direct the restaurant. Frankly, from a style standpoint… as well as from a cuisine standpoint, I would have sworn that Upper Kirby’s West Avenue had been extended to the Galleria area.
Chef Johnny Romo in the Open Concept Kitchen
So, enough about people and facilities… the real star is the food. As there were several of us at table, we were all able to sample several offerings. Standouts among the starters on the menu are Mussels steamed inSt. Arnolds Beer with Kale, Tomato, Onions and Garlic, as well as Baked Slow Dough Pretzel Sticks with a queso dip made with smooth, creamy, smoked Gouda. I would have loved for the dip to have been a little thicker, but suspect that the thinness of it that evening was a not the general rule for it. However, that only affected the “clinginess” of it, but the flavor of the dip with the pretzel sticks was right on.
Whole Chicken Fried Quail (Lockhart) atop a bed of Sweet Potato
Hash, topped with Crispy Fried Collard Greens
As it is with most restaurants, there will usually be an item that is offered as a “special”. In those same restaurants, the “special” is just an entree with an inflated price that the waitpersons are ordered to offer to increase the check. That’s not the case here. A special offering here is something that Aaron, Johnny and Trent stumble upon that spurs an idea for a unique treat that is offered while the supply is fresh and available. On the evening that we were there, that treat was (get ready) Whole Chicken Fried Quail (Lockhart) atop a bed of Sweet Potato Hash, topped with Crispy Fried Collard Greens. It was delicious, creative AND priced right alongside the other dishes. I was assured that there will always be an exciting “off-the-menu” item like this to excite diners.
Citrus Glazed Salmon
My entree of choice was Citrus Glazed Salmon. It was perfectly seared to medium (slightly toward rare) and served with an avocado quinoa citrus relish. I thought that this really delicious dish was a perfect example of the fact that nothing here is anything like anything anywhere else… but close enough to allow a timid diner to order it. But then, I assume that all of the offerings are designed for that. Excellent choice on my part.
Shrimp and Grits
I was strongly urged (and tempted) to order DISH SOCIETY‘s Louisiana-leaning version of Shrimp and Grits, but had prepared a grits dish for myself for lunch that day (you can only eat so many grits in one day), so my wife suggested that she would order it and let me taste it. Really good idea, as I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this one. After she ate few bites, she pushed it toward me and said “You’d better get your taste RIGHT NOW, or you aren’t getting a bite”. It’s not a typical “low country” version of shrimp and grits that one might find in the Carolinas, but this one is superb. The shrimp are sauteed in a Tabasco shallot butter sauce and served over a bed of smoked Gouda bacon grits. The shrimp were cooked perfectly and the creamy sauce made me feel lucky that Sally even let me have a bite of it.
BLT with Four Cheese Truffle Mac & Cheese
On a second visit (lunch), I ordered the BLT, which was built with a nicely seasoned all natural bacon, mixed seasonal greens, sliced tomatoes, a fried cage-free egg (of all things) which really worked and garlic aioli spread on Slow Dough whole grain toast. I had a side of Four Cheese Truffle Mac & Cheese. The warm, musky taste of the truffle oil was a perfect compliment to the cheeses.
My overall opinion of the restaurant is that I am really glad that I have an eatery of this quality that I can walk to from my house. This might well become my frequent hangout (God help them).
Among the suppliers to DISH SOCIETY are Atkinson Farms (Spring), Black Hill Ranch (Houston), Houston Dairy Maids, La Espiga del Oro (Houston), Bee Wilde Honey (Montgomery), Slow Dough Bread Company (Houston), Texas Hill Country Olive Company (Dripping Springs)… and many more.