Friday, April 3, 2009

Bryan Caswell and the Key to the City

Hip hop hooray for Bryan Caswell, who was just named a Best New Chef from Food & Wine Magazine! Though Caswell may not be “new” to the Houston food scene, his impact has certainly evolved over the last year. There’s so much to like about this unassuming guy who continues to wow critics with the far reaches of his influence.

Last Saturday at REEF I firstly fell in love with the tempura soft shell. Lightly fried with a batter rich on flavor, REEF’s version is exquisite -- not mealy, which is easy to do -- underscoring Caswell’s emphasis on technical perfection. The perennial favorite crispy-skin snapper over tomato brown butter only reinforces this idea.

Caswell’s menu is stylistic without trend. The tuna bacon with sour apple appetizer explores the reaches of our palates, combining sweet, sour, and savory into a combo that somehow clicks. The jumbo lump lollipops always impress, and last summer’s beet ravioli was certainly the talk of the Web.

Thank you, Bryan, for bringing us Little Big’s, the acclaimed slider joint in Montrose! It is just what we needed: A simple menu made from quality meats and veggies, all in a space that’s casual, welcoming, and fun. But please add more heat to the crispy chicken :)

Congratulations, Chef Caswell -- We are ever-impressed, excited, and appreciative! Don't. Ever. Change.

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