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Handicapping the best of Houston picks

Alison Cook has published her annual list of best new Houston restaurants in 2008. The list seems well put together and there are only few things I can disagree with.

The one I am puzzled about is Soma. I agree, the food from the kitchen has been wildly inconsistent, ranging from brilliant to inedible. But is this one of the best sushi bars in town? Not in my experience. If anything Soma seems about on par with Azuma, which can’t compete with better sushi bars in town.

Textile and Voice are, without a doubt, the best upscale restaurants to open in 2008. Russo’s introduced coal-fired pizza to Houston, which a number of people commenting on this blog deem an almost landmark event. BB’s Kitchen has a few clunkers (vegetarian po-boy and beignets), but the oyster po-boy was one of the best I’ve had in Houston. The Grove cooks beneath the level of talent in the kitchen (for that reason it should be tied with Bedford), but it does provide reliably good upscale food for Discovery Green – the most important public space to open in 2008.

Feast is not an obvious choice for the best restaurant to open last year, but it’s absolutely the  right one. Voice may have delivered one of the best very meals I had all year, but it’s Feast I keep coming back to time and time again.

pork confit pie
(at least I think that’s what this is)

The cooking is simple, unpretentious and always interesting. The menu changes constantly and there are days when I make a special effort to re-arrange my schedule just to drop in for a leisurely lunch, because something looks too good to pass up.

Most of all, Feast puts you closer to the people making the food in a way that few restaurants can afford to. Richard and James are always there, lunch and dinner, making sure that every dish comes out exactly right. If you haven’t been, you owe it to yourself to go.

Over the next few months I’ll be putting together a list of my own – most memorable meals of 2008. If you’ve had a meal that blew you away last year, leave me a note. I am always looking for a place to eat.

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9 comments

1 Food Princess { 01.03.09 at 7:54 pm }

I agree with everything you wrote about Alison’s. In fact I ended up at Feast yesterday for lunch for another well preparded and interesting meal: http://foodprincessreports.blogspot.com/2009/01/day-after-new-years-lunch-feast.html.

2 Meagan { 01.04.09 at 1:43 pm }

Misha,

Don’t forget that you are often served by one of the owners, as well!

Yes, that’s me, Meagan. Though being served by me isn’t always a bonus! I am one of the klutzier waitresses we have! Doh!

Thanks, as always, for your support, Misha! We appreciate it!

3 Misha { 01.04.09 at 2:44 pm }

Megan: not to mention your contribution of the potato pierogis, which was key to one of the dishes:)

4 peggy { 01.04.09 at 8:03 pm }

That may have been the pork confit pie (not duck) as it looks remarkably similar – sides included – to the one I had at my first visit to Feast months ago.

5 Misha { 01.04.09 at 11:26 pm }

Peggy: you’re right. I think it was pork.

6 Hitch Link Cop, On Ones and Nine Millis « she eats. { 01.06.09 at 9:39 pm }

[…] Handicapping the Best of Houston Picks:  Misha does what he does best…deconstructing and carefully evaluating what others tend to take as gospel. […]

7 Feast and the local cats | tasty bits { 03.29.09 at 1:16 am }

[…] have written about Feast many times  before and not going to wax even more poetic about their […]

8 Brisa Cocina Mexicana | tasty bits { 04.19.09 at 12:21 pm }

[…] new restaurants in the country, but I was stunned when Feast became his next pick. I am huge Feast fan, but Houston is not entirely visitor friendly and many restaurants deserving national attention are […]

9 Homan { 04.19.09 at 9:11 pm }

Sasaki best sushi bar in houston and on the 4 nights a week they get fish from japan better than Nobu. All other sushi in Houston is pathetic.

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