BY JENNY BOONE
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Have you ever seen something amazing on the Food Network or Top Chef and thought “Holy crap! I would give my (right arm/first born) to try that!”. With the rise of cooking channels and celebrity chefs, there’s never been a better time to be a foodie – but too often we see something awesome on TV and all we can think is “(sigh) Maybe someday…”.
It always feels like the most cutting edge food is in this NYC cafe or that Chicago restaurant – so far away and inaccessible. Well, I found myself delighted to have this stereotype be proven wrong by visiting a true world class restaurant in – of all places – Kemah, TX.
If you’ve ever wanted the kind of out-of-this-world food experience that you usually only see on TV, no need to book a flight to New York. Just drive on down to Kemah for the tasting menu at the singular and extraordinary Eculent.
It’s farm to table molecular gastronomy with an on-site winery (just and say that three times fast!) and it’s a complete sensory experience.
Your 16+ course dinner will start with a little tour of the gardens where they grow their herbs and vegetables, followed by a visit to the food laboratory where the chef embraces his inner mad scientist. With tools like a full blown centrifuge, a 3D printer, and an industrial food dehydrator, they play with familiar ingredients to create an astounding event out of your meal.
They have the ability to control everything about the experience while you taste each individual dish by doing things like changing the lighting, the art on the walls, and even piping in various scents into the restaurant. Suffice to say, this goes way beyond what you’d be able to experience at coveted molecular gastronomy destinations like Alinea or WD-50.
They continually work to top themselves by creating new and playful dishes, which means you could go 2 or 3 times in one year and have a completely different experience each time.
All in all, a once-in-a-lifetime meal – and I didn’t have to go further than a little ways down to Kemah. Should you do the wine pairing (and you should, as the wines are fantastic), they also have a bed and breakfast on site that was rated the #1 best in the state of Texas and #3 on the entire gulf coast.
If you are a foodie or have a foodie in your life, this is an experience you can’t miss. You really will never have a meal like this anywhere else, and the best part is it’s just down the road a bit…
PHOTOGRAPHY: KERIN MAYNE