“I’ll cut fish in front of you and all that good stuff,” chef Jean Philippe Gaston said describing his new role at Cove, the soon-to-open restaurant-within-a-restaurant at Haven.
Judging from a recent preview of the menu, it’s a lot of good stuff.
Cove is still waiting on a few design pieces that will turn it into a casual warren for global seafood enticements overseen by chef de cuisine Gaston. Haven’s chef-owner Randy Evans got the idea to turn Haven’s bar into a separate, self-contained mini restaurant that will feature an all seafood menu where almost nothing is cooked. Think of it as a merger of raw bar and sushi bar featuring a global fish and seafood perspective.
The new space gives Gaston a chance to shine. And to interact with customers as he cuts fish and assembles dishes directly in front of customers at the 35-seat Cove.
“People will be asking a lot of questions,” Gaston said. “In Houston, raw fish is either ceviche or sashimi. We’re doing something you’ve never seen, so I expect a lot of interaction.”
Gaston and his crew will be making each plate to order. Given the intimate nature of the space, guests – especially those sitting at the counter – will be able to see their plates composed.
The menu will be divided into four sections. Three of the sections will be international seafood; the fourth will be “four legged” presentations. The three fish sections will cover the Pacific, the Americas and Europe/Mediterranean/North Arica.
Examples of Pacific plates: snapper in olive oil with shallots, garlic, mango and lemon juice (inspired by the Philippines); lionfish, coconut milk, ginger, chile and oranges (inspired by Fiji); prawns marinated in kaffir lime, lemongrass, coconut, cucumber and chile (inspired by Samoa); and albacore, green onion, roasted peanuts and coconut broth (inspired by Cook Islands).
The Americas will be represented by Peruvian cebiche of kampachi marinated in citrus and aji Amarillo; Mexican seafood cocktail of octopus with citrus, chile, onion, cilantro avocado and cocoa nibs; Ecuadorian-style seviche of tomato-marinated tilapia, avocado, mango and chile; and a Brazilian “fish stew” of sea bream marinated in bell peppers, tomato, red onion, coconut milk and hearts of palm.
From Europe and Mediterranean seafood traditions will come a French tartare of fish with lemon vinaigrette and quail egg; an Italian crudo of cubed tuna, olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt; a Greek-style octopus with olive oil, red wine vinegar, shallots and dill; and from Israel, ac omposition of citrus-marinated tilapia arranged around mounds of tabbouleh.
For the section with “four legs”: an Italian carpaccio of lamb with lemon vinaigrette with shaved parmesan and caper berries; a French tartare of kangaroo meat, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and egg yolk with brioche toast; and a Japanese tataki of raw veal with chile oil, soy, ginger and assorted pickles.
Instead of seafood towers, Cove will assemble “bowls” of clams, oysters, shrimp and mussels set over crushed ice. The menu also will feature cheese selections and desserts. And beer. “Draft beer and seafood were meant to be together,” Evans said.
Cove is expected to open Nov. 1 at 2502 Algerian Way. Call 713-581-6101.