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Swan song at Gravitas

I have nothing new to say about the very public feud between Jason Gould and Scott Tycer. Plenty of ink has been spilled on this topic already and none of it changes the fact that this is a sad story with no winners (as is often the case when McKinsey consultants are involved).

What I will say is that today is Jason Gould’s last day at Gravitas and you should consider going in for dinner.

Gravitas isn’t closing, but it’s certainly not going to be same after Jason Gould departs this week. More so than ever before it has become his kitchen and the more uniquely Australian touches I saw on the menu the more I was wanted to return.

I visited Sydney twice, but somehow some of the best Australian food I have had has been in Houston, at Gravitas. No matter how hard I tried, I could not find kangaroo on the menus in Sydney. I raced over to Gravitas when I heard Gould put skippy on the Queen’s birthday menu and it was more than worth the trip.

Same visit also gave me my first taste of a pavlova, another dish that I never came across in Australia, despite their proximity to New Zealand (they do have a Krispy Kreme, however).

This week I returned to try the Gravitas Aussie burger, which was another Australian specialty that left unfulfilled. My first Aussie burger was at Hungry Jacks, an Australian version of Burger King. Not even the canned beets and a rubbery fried egg could overcome the fact that I was essentially eating a Whopper. Still, the prospect of beets on a burger is irresistible to someone of Eastern European background.

The second time was in an Australian “steakhouse”, which makes Outback look like a pantheon of prime beef.  Thanks in part to the awful beef, the burger somehow turned out even worse than the one at Hungry Jacks.

Gould’s version served at Gravitas isn’t perfect, but it is a huge improvement over the Aussie burgers I had before and definitely worth ordering. I can do without the pineapple that interferes with the pronounced beet flavor I was seeking, though I am sure that violates some sort of “authenticity” laws. I also wish the bread was less bready so it would be possible to eat the burger without fork and knife, but the combination of beef, fried egg and beets is undeniably great and really delivers a whole new burger experience.

Don’t miss the roasted red pepper and corn falafel that may appear on the prix fixe menu tonight. It’s the best falafel preparation I have had since I was hooked on the soft, almost creamy version served at Las du Falafel in Paris and it’s very different than the dry hockey pucks we’re used to in Houston.

I really like the way the orange creamsicle, from Rebecca Mason’s new dessert menu, glows like a geometrically correct iceberg in the photos. Thanks to the bright flavors and a contrast in textures, it tastes pretty good too. May want to order that one as well.

Public drama aside, I like the food at Textile and Gravitas enough to wish that both restaurants do well. I also hope that Jason Gould finds a place in Houston where he can cook his food on his own terms. He is clearly a gifted chef and I think his Australian departures at the “American Bistro for Houston” really gave the place a distinct character that will be missed when he leaves.

Mean, you can catch Jason Gould doing his thing one last time at Gravitas on Thursday, August 27th. Go.

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