For a little bitty restaurant off the beaten track in Houston, Indigo sure has made a big splash.
In less than a year, it has landed on four prestigious lists. In March, Texas Monthly named it one of Texas’s best new restaurants of the year. Two national publications also gave Indigo some love: Food & Wine and GQ. Not only that, the James Beard Foundation nominated Indigo’s young chef-owner, Jonny Rhodes, for its Rising Star Chef award.
Now comes an honor from an entirely different direction: Time magazine has included Indigo among its second annual “World’s Greatest Places.” What does that mean, exactly? That the editors think it’s one of a hundred worldwide destinations “to experience right now.” Also on the list are “America’s hottest hometown pizzeria” and “a Tokyo museum bringing digital art to life.” The only other Texas locale to make the cut is San Antonio’s Ruby City art center.
It’s quite the recognition for Rhodes, who happens to be cooking his first dinner at the prestigious James Beard House in New York tonight. No pressure there.
Since he opened Indigo in July 2018, Rhodes has attracted attention for his practice of stepping into the middle of the dining room and delivering a heartfelt and sometimes pointed commentary on the origin and context of each course. His ideas are grounded in African American food culture but often speak to issues of inequality in society as a whole. The Beard Foundation website put it this way: “Jonny Rhodes’s menu is inspired by soul food and served with a lesson in food apartheid.”
In case you’re wondering, here’s the menu for the James Beard dinner:
- Afrofuturist > Pecan Soup with Last Year’s Pepper Harvest, Flowers, and Crispy Grains
- Copper Sun > Cured, Hung, Smoked, and Pickled Carrots with Yellow Barbecue Sauce, Caramelized Tomato, and Foraged Allium
- If Earth Could Talk > Milk and Butter-Warmed Carolina Gold Rice with Foraged Allium Extract, Smoked Leeks, and Crispy Shallots
- Ten Toes Down > Slabber Sauce-Braised Collard Greens with Vegetable Ham
- Acres of Diamonds > Preserved and Smoked Beet Red Velvet Cake with Creole Cream Cheese Crémeux
After reading this, you may feel compelled to visit Indigo, but you’ll have to wait. It’s closed for August and will reopen September 5. Online reservations are being taken.