Hey y’all, remember the Snooty Foodies? The dashing couple who dine out so much they had to take a break from their blog? Well, they’ve decided to dip their toes back into the blogosphere by sending in a snippet whenever they bloody well feel like it. That’s why we call them snooty. Plus they use “I” instead of “we.” Here, they go.
I like Nosh. A lot. These guys have bridged the culinary gap between a Houston’s (or Hillstone or whatever they call themselves this week) price point and a chef-driven fine dining restaurant. Quite the anomaly, at least in the Park Cities. There are no gimmicks, no hooks, and no real defined concept other than just kicking out straight-up damn good food cooked by talented chefs. Speaking of chefs, partner Jon Stevens (Neighborhood Services, Jardineire, Ritz-Carlton San Fran) runs the show behind the stove. Sure, Avner Samuel is prominently mentioned in all the press releases, but in my 25 or so visits to Nosh, I’ve yet to see him in the kitchen. He and wife Celeste are content to hand out smiles and hugs in the front of the house and the formula seems to be working.
Stay with them.
During those 25-plus visits, I’ve tried everything on the main menu. I recommend you try the Kobe meatballs with Béarnaise sauce, poached duck egg over duck confit toast, or whatever foie gras preparation they have going that day. They also put out a respectable croquet monsieur as well.
On the mains: the halibut with chorizo has become a fan favorite as has the espresso- rubbed short rib. The scallops over mashed sweet potatoes and bacon jam make me want to touch myself in a familiar way. Like most bistros, the chef’s creativity shows up on the chalkboard specials and Nosh is no different. Artichoke flan with Jonah crab fondue and risotto with shaved Perigord truffles are two recent specials that blew me away.
So, with everything going so well, how can one screw this deal up? Opening more locations, that’s how. When I first heard location two was in the works, I certainly wasn’t surprised. Business boomed and the Samuels had already expanded the Oak Lawn location to include a banquet room. One more location seemed natural. But what almost always goes hand in hand with a plan to expand? Right. Raid the kitchen of the original location and farm them out to new place. Almost always, the original place goes out of focus and the quality of food and service slips.
Despite the fact that the new location at Plano Parkway and 4701 W. Park Blvd (across the lot from Yao Fuzi) is set to open in the next few weeks, I’m not even remotely worried that Thing 2 will kill Thing 1. It breaks down like this: Chef Stevens will now be the corporate guy presumably rolling the tires off his car driving back and forth from Plano and Oak Lawn. Chef Andrew Bell will man the stove at the original. Andrew was on the Aurora staff and recently owned Dr. Bells BBQ downtown. Very interesting dude and, despite his chronic case of bed head, can cook his ass off. Plano will be cheffed up by Norman Grimm. No, he’s not a Dr. Seuss character though he could be a stunt double for Jim Carey. [Ed. Note: Huh?] Grimm spent 3 years with Sharon Hage at York Street, a year in the south of France, and he worked at Napa hot spots Tre Vigne, Bistro Jeanty, and Red. He also worked with Chef Stevens at Jardiniere and Ritz SF. These guys aren’t exactly line cooks from Chili’s. After tasting their cooking many times, I applaud the Nosh team for making the investment on the talent to insure a successful expansion.