HE’S BACK…who else would I be referring to, other than Chef David Guerrero! However, don’t call it a comeback, he’s been here for years (you old school rap fans are lovin me right now, while the rest just think I’m that clever); but this time he is doing it his way. Okay, let’s start with his new restaurant Alma Cebiche + Bar in West Houston; calm down you inner loop snobs he's opening another restaurant, EVO, later this fall inside the loop. Yes this dude has been super busy since Samba Grille suddenly closed its doors at the end of the summer.
Alma, which means “soul” in Spanish, will showcase Peruvian food, which typically includes some eastern influences in its cuisines. According to Guerrero, “While I was born in Ecuador, the lush flavors of Peruvian food and the groundbreaking work of its current crop of top chefs have been a key influence on my personal growth. I am so grateful for the opportunities that Samba Grille provided me to grow in an executive chef capacity, but this new partnership and role will allow me much more opportunity to explore new tastes and techniques with the ultimate goal of providing Houstonians something they haven’t seen before.” He has definitely stayed true to that with his menu selections and really the overall ambiance of the restaurant. Think of a sexy art gallery colliding with a modern hot spot, that has killer food and amazing music - WALA Alma appears from the dust and Chef David drops the mic - yeah I know that last part was a little too Hollywood.
During a media tasting last month I got the opportunity to try some of the good-good (food) first hand. The selections ranged from Ceciche Limeno to Hanger Steak, along with many other Peruvian favorites that Chef David mastered during his time at Samba Grille. My favorites included:
The Cebiche Limeno was amazing, and I quickly understood why this one had become one of the most popular cebiche offerings on the menu. It is prepared in the more traditional Peruvian style and prepared with Peruvian wild fish, Aji Limo Leche De Tigre, Choclo, Chulpi, Red Onions, Sweet Potato, and Salicornia.
Next up on my list of faves from the evening was the Special Tallarin Verde, Alma's version of Italian and Cantonese cuisine ~ Stir-Fly Noodles with Beef Heart, Green Peas, Peruvian Pesto, and Queso Fresco. This beef hearts dish had me bouncing in my seat, and thinking back to the first time I had beef hearts - love at first bite. The things this man can do with a piece of beef and a wok; that came out all kinds of wrong, but you know my heart (damn it - there I go again)!
Special Tallarin Verde
For those of you that are in West Houston do yourself a favor and make your way to Alma for some amazing food and kick-ass ambiance; for those that are not in West Houston get your booty's in the car and make the drive - your mouth will SO thank you!
Alma is open for lunch Monday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Happy Hour is available in the bar and patio only from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. - drink specials include: Pisco Sours, Rocoto Sling, Tocache and Muerte al Orujo.
For information or reservations, call (281) 293-0001 or visit www.almahouston.com.
~Felice "Swanky Girl" Sloan, Urban Swank