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Culture / Foodie Events

Smokin’!

New Houston Restaurant Brings Bayou Barbecue and Craft Cuisine to a Historic House

BY Laurann Claridge // 12.06.15

With their neighborhood quickly gentrifying, the powers that be at Woodrow’s Heights in the Rice Military area decided it was time to dress up their circa-1900 house (formerly home to Mardi Gras Grill and Floyd’s Cajun Kitchen as well) at the edge of Washington Avenue to suit an increasingly affluent clientele. The result is The Durham House.

Chef Don Schoenburg stayed on to carry the Cajun menu to daring new heights with what he calls “craft cuisine for the conscious eater.” This philosophy relies on locally grown food, humanely raised meats, the best ingredients they can procure and even a swarm of bees kept in an apiary on the rooftop.

Proprietor Raj Natarajan not only oversaw the white-washed renovation with a beach-house vibe, but also meticulously selects bottles for the wine list and oversees the impressive artisan cocktail program with such chic tinctures as Gil’s Big Break (an effervescent mix of celery bitters, gin and lemon grass; $14), and One Foot Off the Merry-Go-Round (crushed ice blended with bourbon, apple brandy and strawberry cordia accented with cracked black pepper; $12).

Small plates range from complex, crispy sweetbreads ($13) to fried beer-battered onion rings with spicy remoulade sauce ($5) and even smoked pig tails, meant to be eaten like chicken wings ($8). Entrées head to the sea and into the woods with beer-crusted grouper ($36), bayou jumbo (a holdover from Woodrow’s; $15) braised rabbit ($32), pork porterhouse ($28) and Muscovy duck ($32). On Saturdays, the smoker hits full throttle when this Cordon Bleu-educated chef upturns the menu to offer bayou barbecue with pulled pork, gator andouille, grilled oysters, boiled Lake Tahoe crawfish (in season) and charcuterie plates from 11 am to 5 pm.

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