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Where to Eat Now 2014

No. 6 The Pass

Houston

Photograph by Debora Smail

The show begins when the massive steel door rolls open and you enter the stark dining room. Directly ahead, visible from floor to ceiling, is the busy, brightly lit kitchen. You sit down at a white-draped table, select either the five- or eight-course tasting menu, and wait. In a few minutes, a line cook—or maybe even one of the two chef-owners, Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan—steps forward with a platter in hand, and you’re off on a magic carpet ride. “BEEF: Tar Tar / Yolk / Marrow Brioche”  is chopped ribeye (above) sided by marrow bones filled with finely ground seasonings and dehydrated capers and capped with adorable mushrooms—oh, wait, they’re teeny brioche buns. Pierce the tartare to find a golden slow-cooked egg yolk hidden inside. “BRANDADE: Potatoes / Smoked Trout / Licorice” is a take on France’s traditional whipped salt cod and potatoes. Only here the cod turns out to be the most incredibly delicious smoked trout, and the everyday spuds have become multicolored potato balls. The whole thing sits on a creamy fish froth scented with licorice. Two hours later, when a jack-o’-lantern arrives on your table enveloped in clouds of dry ice and filled with frozen beet, carrot, and apple crisps, you don’t even bat an eye. You just accept the novelty of liquid nitrogen–frozen pumpkin seed ice cream, buttery sponge cake filled with brandied gel, and pumpkin seed brittle. The Pass’ second seasonal menu was less dramatic than its inaugural offerings, but with new dishes appearing frequently, change is a constant. The Pass Opened November 27, 2012. 807 Taft (713-628-9020). D Tue–Sat. $$$

 

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