Updated: Jul 21, 2020
When date night and Houston Restaurant Weeks overlap, you spend 3 hours looking at restaurant menus. Or at least that is what I do. Isn't that what everyone does?
I had my eye on Xochi ever since I spent the week at the new Marriott Marquis Houston for Mattress Firm BedTalks. After a little looking online, I learned that this restaurant belongs to Chef Hugo Ortega (a Houston celebrity). He also owns Hugo's restaurant in the Montrose area. Perfect! I found our Friday dinner spot.
Ulises served us and was a GREAT host for our evening dinner. He gave us mezcal samplers and urged us to look beyond our preconceived notions and try some house specialty crispy crickets with 2 salsas and a tortilla.
I had the Menu de Masa - a 5-course meal, each dish exploring a different preparation of corn.
Course #1: Huitlasquites - corn soup, huitlacoche, crema, and queso fresco
The soup was great, but my only comment was that it wasn't served hot. Whether intentional or not, it could have benefited from being warmer.
Course #2: Memela - a toasted masa pancake with roasted pork, cream, queso fresco, and salsa
My favorite dish above and beyond. Frankly, not much tops a luscious pulled pork with all these garnishes. What I especially enjoyed was the familiarity of the masa pancake. Since my dad was born in Venezuela, I've had my fair share of arepas. The memela had a thick, chewy texture that tasted hearty, yet was a perfect sidekick for the pulled pork
Course #3: Pescado - corn-rubbed red snapper with a pozole broth and chayote
Even though at this point I'd already tried crispy crickets, sipped on a few drinks and eaten two courses, I was not disappointed to see a beautiful, flaky piece of fish placed in front of me. With sliced radishes, plump kernels of corn, slices of tomatoes, there's a lot to love about this dish.
Course #4: Helado de Maiz - corn ice cream two ways, corn cookie crumble and a blue corn cream
I'm sure when you think of corn you don't think of sweet preparations (other than cornbread). Let me tell you that these ice creams are everything you want if you love ice cream.
We'll be back! Soon if I have anything to say about it!