(A quibble: At the time, Tony's was located OTL (Outside The Loop) near the Galleria, and Houstonians gladly braved the dragons of South Post Oak to dine there, but that's a fact that's conveniently overlooked.)
Now that the Houston metropolitan area extends from Sugar Land to the Woodlands, the concept of staying ITL seems rather quaint. The Woodlands in particular is becoming a dining destinations, with restaurants as varied as Capri Pasta, Corkscrew BBQ and Crust Pizza calling the Woodlands home. These casual spots compare favorably to any place in their respective categories, and all have garnered a loyal following.
But what about a high end, chef driven restaurant, scouring the earth for amazing ingredients, and putting together unique creations? Surely places like this are only found ITL.
Several months back the Bistro elevated Austin Simmons to the position of executive chef, and this talented man has been gradually putting his mark on the menu. Simmons first gained notoriety in the Woodlands as sous chef at Tesar's Modern, being elevated to co-executive chef (with Jeromy Robison) at Tesar's when John Tesar parted ways with his eponymous establishment. When Tesar's imploded, Chef Robison ended up at La Colombe D'or in Houston, and later at Uchi in Austin. Fortunately for the Woodlands, Hubbell & Hudsons scooped up Chef Simmons and soon promoted him to Executive Chef.
We've been fans of Chef Simmons's cooking ever since we sampled his creations at Tesar's, and have enjoyed the work he has been doing at Hubbell. For those who've never visited, Hubbell & Hudson Market scours the world for unique ingredients to offer to gourmets, and Chef Austin has leveraged this purchasing expertise to secure ingredients for his kitchen. He recently invited us to sample several of his creations for the new fall menu.
First up is the Crab Fritter, a unique spin on the crab cake. A healthy portion of lump crabmeat is accented with marinated tomatoes, mushrooms and asparagus, and it's finished with a jaunty ginger vinaigrette. Absent is the filler that often overwhelms pedestrian crabcakes, and the result was terrific -
|Crab Fritter at Hubbell & Hudson Bistro|
|Ricotta Ravioli at Hubbell & Hudson Bistro|
|Chili-rubbed Pork Tenderloin at Hubbell & Hudson Bistro|
I didn't really have room for dessert at this point, but I've learned never to refuse the suggestions of a chef as talented as Austin Simmons. The waiter whisked out a unique pie - an apple / almond crumble. French vanilla gelato topped a slice of heaven - a dense pastry crust with rustic apple filling, a cinnamon crumble upper layer, and a hint of rum-spiked almond cream.
|Apple Almond Crumble at Hubbell & Hudson Bistro|
Hubbell & Hudson Bistro | 24 Waterway Ave | The Woodlands 77380 | 281-203-5641