Field & Tides’ Revitalized Menu Offers Fresh Takes on Southern Food in The Heights
Over the summer, Field & Tides, located at 705 East 11th, updated a large portion of its menu. Chef and co-owner Travis Lenig takes a creative approach to Southern cuisine, blending it with elements from other cultures, such as Italian, Mexican and those along the Gulf Coast. The menu features an array of seafood dishes as well as a selection of beef, pork, chicken and vegetarian options. Houston Food Finder was invited to the restaurant to try several of the new menu items.
Starters and small plates include deviled eggs with crispy Berkshire pork belly, Pimento Cheese Fritters served in a pool of pepper jelly and freshly shucked oysters. Big enough to make a meal for some, the Crab Tostada is a mix of flaky Gulf crab, cilantro, pickled onion and serrano chili piled high on an avocado salsa-covered crispy tortilla, which adds welcome crunch. Since serrano peppers are hotter than jalapeños, these can stand their ground against the fattiness of the avocado, giving this appetizer harmonious heat.
The Pea Shoot Salad is a balanced combination of pea shoots and arugula tossed in buttermilk ranch, and topped with a cured egg, slices of fresh radish and benne seeds. The sweetness of the pea shoots and the creaminess of the buttermilk ranch soften the bitter and tart arugula and the cured egg yolk brings gentle saltiness.
Half of the dinner menu’s entrées center around seafood (the pared-down lunch menu leans more toward seafood), with dishes including pine nut and pistachio-crusted halibut served with wild mushrooms and brown butter on a bed of celery root purée.
Field & Tides rendition of shrimp and grits — with chili-marinated jumbo shrimp, seared cheese-and-herb grit cakes, herbs, fried green and pickled tomatoes — take the (grit) cake. The individual components on the plate hold their own, and combining everything into one bite creates an entirely new experience with a wide spectrum of aromas, flavors and textures.
The “field” part of Field & Tides is represented by beef, chicken and pork. One beef option is a guajillo-braised beef rib plated on a bed of refried black beans, salsa verde, pickled vegetables and queso fresco. Another is the cast-iron-seared, 14-ounce ribeye steak topped with a handful of cucumber, cilantro and basil, a giant togarashi seasoned tater tot, yuzu aioli and salmon roe. The sheer volume of herbs is a little distracting from the well-prepared beef, but the rest of the garnishes create a mouthwatering and surprising combination of citrus, smoke and salt.
Low Country Chicken Fried Piccata, a fried chicken thigh, is served atop a spread of garlic mashed potatoes and green beans, topped with a lemon caper butter. (On a fun note: Italian immigrants probably invented chicken piccata in the American northeast, not Italy.) A double-cut pork chop slathered with IPA mustard and served with cheddar grits and braised collard greens round out the meat selections. Vegetarians can opt for the mushroom toast, a sourdough batard slice with a generous mound of mixed mushrooms, goat cheese, herbs, olive oil and flakey salt.
Field & Tides’ desserts continue the restaurant’s Southern theme. Momma’s Banana Pudding features freshly whipped heavy cream, salted caramel and Nilla Wafers. The Alabama Stack Cake is five layers of rich chocolate cake coated in a bourbon-chocolate ganache and topped with a dollop of cream. Granny’s Buttermilk Pie, served with caramel drizzle, powdered sugar and a scoop of pecan ice cream, is as Southern as it gets. The Field & Tides silky-white version of this classic dessert manages to get the most from the pie’s sweetness, while offering a hint of the buttermilk tang (although it’s missing the caramelized top that some fans of the dessert may expect).
The restaurant has a well-developed beverage program. The cocktails range from elegant classics to playful innovations, and none play it safe. Deep red in color and semi-sweet, the High Sea aims to evoke childhood memories with its Hi-C fruit punch flavor. A dose of lemon juice helps the mix of reposado tequila, strawberry purée and Aperol from descending into too-sweet territory. They Promised Us Arugula, which mixes gin, elderflower, lime juice, syrup and arugula, sounds like it might be a bitter, botanical bomb. Instead, the drink is balanced, light and refreshing, while not hiding the bitter notes.
Hey Joe combines classics. lt takes the whiskey and vermouth from a Manhattan and adds the absinthe and sugar found in a Sazerac. The combination is not significantly different from a Manhattan, but the absinthe adds a pleasant herbal aroma. Field & Tides also has a small selection of dessert drinks such as the Grasshopper, with crème de menthe, cacao, cherry liqueur and chocolate bitters. Invented in the 1910s at Tujague’s in New Orleans, the flavor of this classic concoction is akin to an alcoholic Andes’ mint. Guests can also choose from a selection of beer and sparkling, red and white wines, either by the glass or bottle.
Field & Tides’ hours of operations are Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays, the restaurant opens at 10 a.m. for brunch service, which runs until 3 p.m., and closes at 10 p.m and 9 p.m. respectively.