Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Event: BLU Sugar Land Media Sampling

As promised in this months Odds and Ends posting, I went to Blu in Sugar Land's Town Square on the evening of Wednesday, April 11th.  While I have had to try to keep that old Eiffel 65 song out of my head, it makes my mind think about how some folks are saying Asian Fusion cuisine is sweeping into Texas from such places as Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, Vancouver BC, and New York.  The truth of the matter is that Houston has a 30 year plus history of good Asian cuisine, and Asian Fusion has been going on here for more than a decade with places like Burger Tex serving up a Bulgogi burger and so forth.  Blu's menu has some great variety and nice surprises as well.
Blu Frontage in Sugar Land's Town Square

About Blu:

Per their Website:
Eating at BLU is like taking a journey to another country because the flavors are so authentic. Our Executive Chef Junnajet Hurapan, a native of Bangkok, Thailand, won the “Best of the Best” Chef Award from Excellent Culinary, now a part of the American Culinary Institute. He now represents a major coup for the Houston culinary scene. Jiraporn Hurapan, Chef "Jett's" wife, is the pastry chef at BLU. Chef Jett and Pastry Chef Jiraporn prepare everything in-house from scratch and only with the freshest ingredients.
This was a smaller event than others I've attended, but I don't consider that to be a bad thing.  A writer from The Houston Press, a writer from Spoon, 5 local bloggers and a reporter from CW Channel 39 were present along with their various plus ones.  Chef Jett was present telling us about the dishes that were being served family style in a fashion that allowed our party to taste a good variety of what he felt was representative of the breadth of his dishes, including a few of his signature specialties.  Chef Jett was very affable and was quite proud of all of his dishes.  The owner, Amy Karnani was also present to answer questions and discuss various attributes of Blu.  All in all it was a nice evening, a lovely dinner and everyone was happy with the meal.

So without further ado, here are the dishes we sampled this lovely evening:

Tequila Ceviche
shrimp-scallop, tomato-avocado relish
Lamb Samosa
crispy wrap w/ herb, spices & ground lamb
Shu-mai Shrimp
Shrimp Dumplings with water chestnut, garlic oil, ponzu sauce
Edamame Dumpling
tapioca wraped edamame in seasoned truffle butter  
Meatball Lollipops
sweet chili glazed beef meatballs on a stick

Shu-Mai Shimp, Tequlia Ceviche, Edamame Dumpling, Lamb Samosa, Meatball Lollipops

My Take:  The appetizers were all nicely plated and full of a nice variety of different flavours.  The ones that had the most complex and satisfying mixes of savory, peppery, spicy, umami and crunch were the Lamb Samosa, the Edamame Dumpling (truffle butter only enhanced the flavour) and the Meatball Lollipops.

Grade: A-

Blu Asian Salad
Crispy calamari , frisee, napa, crisp wonton, creamy miso dressing 

My Take: Vegetables were fresh and crisp.  The Miso dressing was creamier than I've had at Japanese restaurants and sushi bars.  The crunchy fried Calamari is an unexpected Mediterranean twist that added texture and flavour to the whole salad.  Very nice surprise.

Grade: A

Main Dishes:
Grilled Chili Rack of Lamb
Tomato-jalapeno salsa, smoked-chili vinaigrette
Charcoal Grill Sirloin Steak
in a Spicy Chili-cilantro chimmichuri sauce
Massaman Beef Short Ribs
Braised ribs w/ spice, potato, peanut, coconut-tamarind
Tuna Tataki
Spice rubbed charred rare tuna, citrus soy and sizzling oil
Crispy Fish
3 flavor crispy filet whole fish w/ tamarind, chili and basil
Tamarind Cashew Chicken
Stir fried with bell pepper, scallion, roasted chili, tamarind sauce and cashew nuts
Hong-Kong Fried Rice
Jasmine rice w/Chinese sausage, egg, scallion, cashew nut, soy, chicken

Grill Sirloin, Chili Rack of Lamb, Tuna Tataki, Massman Short Ribs, Crispy Fish

My Take:  Chef Jett outdid all my expectations on this tasting menu.  The Grilled Chili lamb-chops were tender, spicy, sweet and full of flavour.  The Massaman Beef Short Ribs were fall off the bone tender & buttery, and the sauce had a mixture of peanut and curry flavours that made it seem like a Thai style twist on Beef Pot Roast.  The Tuna Tataki was like a fusion of Tuna tar-tare, Ceviche and sushi--very fresh fish, very colourful sauce and veggies, and satisfying.  Those three stood out by far.  The Crispy fish was also quite tasty and satisfying.  The steak, Cashew Chicken and Hong Kong Fried rice were also quite good.

Grade: A 

Chocolate Cappucino Martini
Cookie crumbs, chocolate & cappuccino mousse, & caramelized banana 
Blue Handrolled Chocolate Truffle
Flavors of dark chocolate, champagne, pistachio & almond
Banana-Run Raisin Bread Pudding
Vanilla ice cream, caramel & chocolate sauce
Yin & Yang 
Vanilla bean & chocolate crème brulee, & walnut biscotti
Molten Chocolate Cake
Drunken cherries, raspberry coulis, & vanilla ice cream
Frozen Treat
Two ice creams or sorbets, mixed berries, & vanilla shortbread cookie
Yin & Yang, Bread Pudding, Chocolate Truffles, Molten Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Cappucino Martini

My Take: 
Although Chef Jiraporn did not make an appearance at our table, her presence was strongly felt in an excellent mix of very fine desserts which combined a nice mixture of European and Asian sensibilities.  My personal favourites:  the Chocolate Cappucino Martini--a great blend of creamy, crunchy, chocolate, coffee, bananas and cream to give the mouth and taste buds a variety of textures and flavours that were not too sweet;  The Banana Rum Raisin Bread Pudding which was chewy, had a nice hint of cinnamon and went well with the vanilla ice cream;  Yin and Yang were both sweet, but not overly so, had a nice mix of the vanilla, chocolate, berries, and were nice  on a walnut biscotti.  The other desserts were also quite good.

Grade: A+

These Media Events for new and exciting restaurants are a lot of fun as they give people from TV, radio, print and online Food Media a chance to sample new cuisines and dishes, meet the chefs and entrepreneurs/restaurateurs that create the food and the businesses, and give us a chance to share these places with the general public.  At the same time, they are kind of a nice social engagement--gives those of us who write, broadcast or blog about food a chance to talk shop, relax a bit and swap stories face to face rather than via the Internet or other media.  I got to meet Patty & David, a reporter from Spoon Magazine, and a few other local foodbloggers I'd not seen at such events before.  Also, I am very grateful to Chefs Jett and Jiraporn, and to Amy Karnani for inviting all of us out to Blu for such a sumptuous meal.  I can promise you, dear readers, I will be back.

Blu is located in Sugar Land Town Square
2248 Texas Dr
Sugar Land, TX  77478
281 903-7324
Dining Hours: Tue-Sun 11 AM to 10 PM
Lounge Hours: Wed-Sat 10:30 PM to 2:00 AM; Sun 10:00 PM to Midnight

And remember to Eat Happy, Y'all!!!

Blu on Urbanspoon

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