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Guerilla warfare

Business appears to be picking up nicely at Feast, but it’s nowhere near the level it deserves. While Dolce Vita and Indika down the street are mobbed by people nightly, you can still show up at Feast and get a table without any notice. Not the end of the world, but I’d prefer to have to wait for the table behind a huge crowd, than for Feast to change it’s "take no prisoners" approach to food.

Feast doesn’t make itself terribly easy to find, either. Google searches turn up results for the Moveable Feast, but nothing for Feast itself. There appears to be a domain registered now, but it’s pointing to Googlepages, making the site entirely SEO unfriendly. There are a few reviews on B4-U-Eat (all positive), but nothing on Yelp and lesser social networking sites.  Not a great recipe for success… so I have decided to launch a guerilla effort to drum up some business for Feast.

My usual lunch crew includes a Brazilian who only seems to eat seared hunks of beef and a tall lanky fellow unnecessarily preoccupied with eating "light", so getting out to Feast as often as I’d like is a bit of a challenge. The few times I break away for lunch with unassuming civilians unaware of my my macabre eating habits I tend to drag them to Feast and force them to step out of the safety zone filled with pizza, burgers and fried chicken wings.

Lucky for me, the kitchen at Feast was in top form and produced some stunning food. One of the Feast virgins became an instant fan and ended up there for dinner the very same night, going back several times since then. Mission accomplished.

Here’s what we had:

Garlic Snails on Toast
Perfectly anti-French little nuggets of briny, garlic flavored goodness on rather terrible bread. Crappy bread aside, very nice way to start a meal.

Brawn and Cornichons
One of the best house made head cheeses I have ever head (get it?). On par with Incanto. Better than Couchon. Definitely better than… OK, I am out of places that make their own head cheese.

The Feast version of head cheese is less gelatinous than most others, with loose pieces of meat off the pig’s head bound by collagen and small bits of cartilage cooked in a terrine. I usually dislike cornichons, because they tend to be too strong for charcuterie, but these were more mild and provided a great contrast to the brawn.

Tongue Fritters, Asparagus, Roasted Potatoes
Tongue is one of the things Feast does best. On my first visit I had a big chunk of ox tongue that was both tender and had an impressive pan seared crust. This version was battered and pan fried, for a totally different flavor and texture. The only other tongue fritter I sampled in Houston was at Dolce Vita, and the Feast version bests it by a wide margin.

Pork Cheeks, Red Cabbage and Mashed Roasted Potatoes
One of the few things I dislike about Feast (same was true at Taverna) is the use of  cross cuts for cheeks and bellies, instead of the lateral cuts. The pork cheeks were good, but the meat to fat ratio was a bit out of whack, for my tastes.

Steak and Kidney Pudding, Roasted Carrots and Mashed Potatoes
Best dish at the table, with tongue fritters being close second. Maybe it’s my Eastern European background, but when I have no idea what I want to eat the first thing that comes to mind is meat stuffed in some sort of dough. The pudding at Feast does that just that.

The giant dumpling had a great mouth feel – soft, glutinous, just a little chewy and sticky. I had trouble deciding if I liked the dumpling better than the meat stuffing, but I do know that together they tasted incredible. I have a love/hate relationship with kidneys, which can be quite rancid in wrong hands.  These had a delicate flavor that combined very nicely with the perfectly braised chuck, providing a nice contrast and dimension to the whole dish. Absolutely awesome.

May 9, 2008   5 Comments