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Monday, February 13, 2012

Uchi: Sweet endings

I had gone to Uchi Houston with the express purpose of sampling every dessert item on their menu. I've bemoaned before about the relatively sparse dessert landscape in Houston restaurants, and Chef Philip Speer assembled some rather compelling items in the short dessert section of the menu. Composed, multicomponent desserts are a rare thing in Houston, but I do think that there may be a prescribed formula in the Uchi Houston desserts. See if you can detect the commonalities.  

Lemon gelato with pistachio. Brightly flavored, brilliant use of the beet glass, and toasted pistachios.

Fried milk with chocolate semifreddo. Basically, a deep fried chunk of custard. And who doesn't like that?

Keffir lime cremeux, ash sorbet. 

Miso apple sorbet, peanut butter semifreddo. I particularly enjoyed the freeze dried apples. 

Smoked maple panna cotta, apricots. This was a special menu item; the use of the fried shiso leaf was smart. 

All of them displayed a play on texture using various hydrocolloids, and fortunately, not one used a foam. And no baked cakes were involved. It's a gutsy display of flavors and textures - worthy of saving room for.

If the tea was better, I would recommend it as a dessert-only meal destination.


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  2. Dr. Ricky:

    I've had these kinds of multi-component desserts before, but they are more of a staple in European and Asian Cuisines than they are oif American cuisine. Uchi is Japanese/Latin/Western Fusion and these desserts work very well in their play on tastes and textures. Thus far I've tried the Fried Milk, the Peanut Butter with Apple Sorbet and the lemon gelato with pistachio. All of them are very good and if Uchi keeps up, it's going to stay a hot ticket in Houston for a long, long time.

    Hank Lewis