Science stirs the senses at new Kemah restaurant
Just beyond the blinking neon lights of the Kemah Boardwalk sits an understated building housing some remarkable chefs executing an unconventional concept. Eculent, a restaurant that blends farm-to-table sensibilities and modern gastronomy, is a first for our region.
Those behind Eculent have spent several years shaping a restaurant concept that targets all the senses: touch, sight, sound, smell and taste. The multisensory effect is achieved through changes to lighting and artwork, shifting music and the addition of ambient scents with each course — all meant to immerse the diner in the experience.
The intimate evening began with a tour led by Chef/Owner David Skinner of the three micro gardens at Eculent. The restaurant sources 500 ingredients, all of which are grown or raised organically and verified non-GMO (genetically modified organism), including some like the miracle fruit that are tended to on premise. Skinner, who was encouraged to cook by his pastry chef grandmother, owned his first restaurant at age 16.
“Farm-to-table was how we did it, before it was a thing,” he said.
The tour continues to the restaurant’s lab, which is filled with rows of neatly labeled ingredients and equipment, including an essence machine. The scene immediately conjures memories of chemistry class.
The science behind Eculent’s approach is revealed by Skinner as he discusses the three years of mindful planning, construction and menu development, which included combing through more than 1,000 distinct scents before making his selections.
Eculent’s inventive menu will remain dynamic, rotating with the seasons. Diners are offered three options: Flora (vegetarian/gluten free); 1845 (all Texas ingredients); and the Coast-to-Coast (chef’s tasting).
Coast-to-Coast began with an exquisite silky foie gras mousse arriving incognito, dressed as a whimsical cherry and accompanied by buttery brioche toasts. It was followed by a fresh seafood duo plated in a special dish designed by a local potter exclusively for the restaurant.
Later, an ostrich egg scramble appeared, nested impressively within the egg shell itself and studded with white truffle.
Wine pairing for each of the courses is available, spotlighting some of the 42 wines made by the Clear Creek Winery, Vineyard & Resort, home of Eculent.
The 32-seat dining room provides ample views of the kitchen. Diners can watch and speak with Skinner and Chef Michael Calvino Jr. as they deftly plate the next course, ready to awaken your senses.
709 Harris Ave. Kemah
713-429-4311 for reservations
Hours: One seating nightly at 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday