The Eculent Experience
You don't simply dine at Eculent, you experience it. It's a ride as wild as those scattered along the Kemah boardwalk; which is where you'll have to journey for the thrill.
My generous foodie-friend, DeDe, brought me to this wonderland as a birthday gift. Neither one of us was fully prepared for what awaited beyond the magnificent entry way.
You enter the premises, advancing through a charming patio, sodded with artificial turf, but blooming with fresh herbs from hydropods. Of a number of bragging points, Eculent can boast that they grow most of the greens they serve and what they don't comes from farms within a 25-mile radius.
We arrived early, having given ourselves a cushion for that oh-so-predictable Houston traffic and found ourselves the first guests to arrive. We learned we'd be dining with only two other patrons that evening. A rare occurrence as all but three days in November are booked solid.
The contraption above was designed with guests like DeDe and I in mind. For people who arrive early, they will enjoy a few light bites paired with elixirs they can concoct themselves with this science lab of a bar. It wasn't fully functional upon our arrival, but soon it will be the reason people show up 30 minutes early for their reservation.
Eculent is described as a modern farm to table restaurant with an emphasis in molecular gastronomy. The science behind not just the food, but the entire experience, is overwhelming. To help us appreciate the thought and preparation behind the scenes, we were guided on a tour of the facility.
Starting from the top left picture above, you have a mechanism for piping scents into the restaurant while the picture directly below shows the scents currently in circulation. Different courses were paired precisely with scents such as leather, dirt, fresh cut grass and rosemary.
The middle pictures are of a 3D printer that has actually created some of the specialty serving ware required for presenting certain bites as they were envisioned. The charismatic Front of House, Blake, gave us his best Vanna White in demonstrating an appetizer utensil that would allow guests to nibble samples from branches without having to set down their wine. Brilliant!
On the far upper right you have some beakers that surely contributed a great deal to the magic behind our meal, though I cannot recall what particular purpose they served, and below them is a partial representation of a full wall of unique ingredients. So how did all these elements come together for an epic experience? Like this...
Sixteen courses of mind-blowing, tongue-tingling goodness. Literally tongue-tingling as one of our dishes was spritzed with buzz bells, known for electrifying the taste buds and causing a numbing sensation.
I'm not going to go into what each dish consisted of, but I do have to tell you that my absolute favorite dish was the French Onion Bonbon. We learned on our tour that one of the scientific methods for creating a liquid entrapped in a solid is called reverse spherification. This allowed a French onion soup to be encased in a subtle, cheesy, bread-like shell that popped open in our mouths.
Since the Eculent menu, like many tasting menus, is seasonal, I don't feel like I'm giving too much away here. I guarantee a variety of surprises are in store for anyone who visits. And if you do plan to attend, try to score this Groupon. It says there's only a limited time remaining, so act fast!