Haunted by a Memory – Zelko Bistro, Houston

24 Oct


          Ever hear the phrase “haunted by a memory”?  It’s not even Halloween yet and I’m being haunted by a memory.  Not a memory of lost love, or even a memory of a person at all.  I’m being haunted by a memory of food…..

            Jay and I have 3 kids.  The elder 2 have entered the adult world and William, our third, is just easy.  We’re treasuring this time with him but we are catching our first glimpse of the empty nest.  We’re committed to entering that phase of life, when it’s time, with vim and vigor.  So we’re practicing now, so that we’ll be fun  and adventure fit when William leaves for college .  We’ve started exploring Houston’s restaurants again with reckless abandon.  Last week, we tried Zelko Bistro in the heights…..and WOW.

            The dish that’s haunting me is their Shrimp and Grits.  Here’s the menu description: “Sauteed shrimp, bacon, white cheddar polenta, green onions and soy agave nectar”.  That description, while accurate, simply fails to do this innovative dish justice.  The shrimp seemed more grilled to me than sautéed.  They were beautifully seasoned and the texture was perfect – without the  lingering moisture of a typical saute.  But the piece de resistance was those grits!  I’m not a grit lover, but I am in love with those grits.  As the menu describes, they are polenta, corn that is more finely ground than most grits.  They were creamy and the bacon and cheddar were lovely, if common additions.  What set the dish apart was the way the grits were served on a pool of divine inspiration:  a reduction of soy, agave nectar and vinegar.  The way the sweet, sour and umami flavors combined perfectly with the shrimp and grits to create a dish far more engaging than the sum of its parts is, in my opinion, culinary genius.

            Kudos to Chef Zelko.  My hope is that my act of homage to your wonderful dish will cause the spirits to rest in peace.



2 Responses to “Haunted by a Memory – Zelko Bistro, Houston”

  1. Kris October 24, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    Visiting your site for the first time. Your tweet sai Houston and it piqued my interest. My husband and I lived in Yhe heights 20 yrs ago.

    I am drooling over your description of the food. Wow. So yummy.

    Ask the restaurant for the recipe!!!

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