Houston’s Newest Chef’s Table Option Lets Diners Drive the Menu
As is appropriate for a cosmopolitan food city, many chefs in Houston offer sophisticated tasting menus, sometimes at a special table or counter. Usually, the dishes are predetermined to showcase the best, most seasonal dishes available. However, at recently opened Indian restaurant Verandah, located at 3300 Kirby in the Upper Kirby District, chef Sunil Srivastava prefers that diners express their wishes and thus help determine which dishes are served.
Srivastava and his wife, Anupama, first gained recognition for their first restaurant, The Great W’kana. The original is now closed and Verandah is the couple’s latest endeavor. The chef’s table has six seats and is available Sundays through Wednesdays by reservation only. A minimum of four guests and 24-hours’ notice is required. A credit card is required to secure the reservation and there’s a fee for cancellations.
Once the guests make their dietary wishes known, Srivastava serves a custom meal that includes from five to nine courses.
For diners in need of some ideas on what to request, here are some tasting menu examples:
- Introduction to Indian food
- Indian specialties by region
- Dum Pukht (one of Srivastava’s specialties; meat and vegetables cooked in dough-sealed containers akin to pot pies)
- Curry tasting
Pricing varies depending on the diners’ requests, but here are some examples of costs for recent chef’s table dinners. A seven-course vegetarian menu was $125, a five-course was $85 and a recent kabob dinner was $150. (These prices do not include tax and gratuity.) A complete sample custom menu is at the end of this article.
Both wine and cocktails are available to go alongside the dishes (although there isn’t a drink pairing menu). A table of six may find they can comfortably share a bottle of wine for each course.
The restaurant stays open a bit later than the norm on weekdays. Verandah’s hours are Tuesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and from 5 to 11 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays, hours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 11 p.m. Self-parking is available in the building’s parking garage and Verandah can validate the ticket. Valet service is also available at the Kirby Drive entrance for $8 plus gratuity. Reservations are strongly encouraged. For information or reservations, go online or call (281) 501-0258 or (832) 886-4291.
Sample Custom Menu
Chutney Tasting: six chutneys, Methi Mathari
First Course: Shakarkand ki chaat, Mutter ki Ghugni
Second Course: Beetroot, peanut ke gilawat, dijon mustard, dahi ki chutney
Shallow Fried cod Amritsari, Spanish onion marmalade
Third Course: Kamb Karie (crispy hearts of palm, coconut curry, tomato saar)
Scallops Karie with coconut curry and tomato saar
Kulcha course: Three onion, Goat cheese, Mutter, Pesto, Smoked Salmon, Keema, Dal Makhani, pudina caper raita
Ambi Panna Sorbet
Sundried Kofta, Mirchi Ka saalan
Chicken Malai Tikka with garlic, lemon cream, sugar snap peas, and colored cauliflower poriyal
Dessert: Sous Vide Pineapple with rabri gulab jamun, Cashew Praline Brittle and almond slivers
Sample Menu Cost: $ 125.00
Phaedra Cook has written about Houston’s restaurant and bar scene since 2010. She was a regular contributor to My Table magazine (now closed) and was the lead restaurant critic for the Houston Press for two years, eventually being promoted to food editor. Cook founded Houston Food Finder in November 2016 and has been its editor and publisher ever since.