Chef Chris Shepherd is a big believer in the local, and his Underbelly restaurant in Houston is very much inspired by the city’s under-explored cosmopolitan food culture.
The menu is therefore a several-dish “journey” through Shepherd’s distinctive interpretation of Houston cuisine, featuring locally sourced ingredients, meat from his in-house butchery, and inspiring dishes such as smoked beef shoulder with water spinach and shrimp, or smoked wild boar laska, with eggplant, shrimp, and turmeric.
The brilliantly designed and original wine list (so original it includes a comic strip story of Shepherd’s wine “journey”) is also inspired by a distinctive philosophy. As the Underbelly website has it: “We have a very specific approach to the wines we put on our list: the wineries must be family-owned and operated. Period.”
That leads to a superbly eclectic collection, full of quirky choices such as Kovács Nimród Rhapsody Cuvée Kefrankos Blend from Eger in Hungary, to Anne Amie Müller-Thurgau Cuvee A from Yamhill-Carlton, but also featuring established classics from producers such as Kamptal’s Peter Loimer and Barolo’s GD Vajra.