Chef Arturo Boada’s abrupt exit from Arturo’s Uptown Italiano caused a flood of hubbub to occur throughout Houston. With his new restaurant now in full swing, John DeMers & I sat down last week to speak with chef Boada about the past, as well as the future of his iconic chefness.
As chef Boada, who is Italian slash Colombian, sat down on my side of the booth, pause, he began to trill every letter known to mankind. During hand talking at a massively elite level, chef Boada managed to ask THIS forehead sweat forming question…“Yew wan me to make-a thad…for yew? No pro-lem… baby.”
Um, yeah… Here’s my curtsy, Arturo. You can have it.
Remodeling the former Bistro Don Camillo was essential to fully capture Boada’s vision within his new venture. With the help of designer Ken Robertson, warm colors work together with ease, as personal touches close to Boada’s heart can be seen throughout the décor. Glance around the room to find paintings created by his beloved… Mama Sonia.
Boasting quite the resume, Boada’s early chefness shined at Solero, La Mer, and Beso. Having been featured in Esquire Magazine twice, one as reputable as Boada need not possess a long list of fluff & stuff. History proves his talent is stellar well beyond Houston’s standard.
Pending Bonanza Lawsuit Extravaganza…
Boada was a 49% partner at Arturo’s Uptown Italiano, with the other partner possessing… 51%. Ouch. This situation is comparable to that of the percentage battle over Forrester Creations Fashion House on the long running soap opera… The Bold & the Beautiful.
Regardless of somewhat scandalous circumstances, Arturo’s name remains on the Uptown Park building, while legal eagles continue working for its immediate removal. If Arturo Boada isn’t preparing the food & his original recipes are being altered, the name & food reflect the chef, which therefore affects… Arturo Boada.
Moment of Ponderment:
I wonder if chefs can just wear their chef coat to court instead of a suit.
In his new restaurant, Boada is not tied to a one concept cuisine. Having previously felt creatively limited, one can only imagine this caused the very frown wrinkle between his eyes to ache ever so slightly.
Maybe his previous partner at Uptown Park simply needs a hug. Sometimes a hug can bring forth unexpected rainbows & sunshine, which is what we all ultimately wish for in a bankable business partner.
Our dining event began with a ceviche dish surpassing all expectations of possible freshness. A variety of seafood is marinated in fresh lime juice and Serrano peppers. Arturo’s ceviche is incredible, with every ingredient working perfectly together for an explosion of palate pleasure! One of my fave’s of the day!
Another tapas item offered is the tuna tartare, which is served with fresh cucumber & fennel with Asian vinaigrette. Boada appears unwavering in his standard for high quality food. Do not mess with Arturo’s… freshness.
Chef Boada kindly recommended a half & half pizza tasting. One half containing calamari, shrimp, & spicy tomato, with the other half containing one of… Bambi’s forest friends.
John prefers meat during mystical moments in life, which is his well deserved want. His daily hustle bustle exists all in the name of food, therefore his carcassness is acceptable to AVH. I could sit for hours watching John knaw on… bones.
Really. Sincerely. Pinky Swear.
Fresh mussels are sautéed in tomatillo jalapeno cilantro. Chef Boada’s combination of ingredients, with just the right seasoning, produce an array of great flavors. As we began to taste, this chef stopped short mid sentence with a semi stare, quickly snapping, “Taste the broth. Break the mussel shell & use it as a spoon… That’s how you eat mussels… baby.” Mussel 101 ended with… “Bravo!” Seconds after this monumental moment of mussel eating enlightenment passed, chef Boada sternly directed me to… lick my fingers.
Chef Boada named this next dish in celebration of his Mama Sonia, currently living in Colombia, South America. Mama Sonia’s Ravioli begins with Arturo’s in-house ravioli being stuffed with chicken & porcini mushrooms. Fluffy ravioli is served in a white wine cream sauce with mascarpone cheese from… Italy. To complete this dish of family name delish, jumbo lump crab meat & bread crumbs are placed all tidy on top.
Camarones Henesy en Hamaca arrives with sautéed shrimp, hearts of palm, tomato, and cilantro in a soy-ginger sauce served on a bed of sweet plantains. While most items during this tasting are on the menu, Boada is a non-off-the-menu-mayhem chef, with a committed willingness to make anything customers request, at all times.
While discussing molecular theory, unexpectedly placed in the center of the table was none other than… SNAPPER TAQUITOS! Just stop it right now. Three semi mini taquitos gently covered in a Serrano garlic pepper sauce. Perfectly petite in the best of the very best way. Enough already!
Arturo Boada feels particularly passionate about… Iceberg lettuce, formally known as… Batavia. While referencing this particular lettuce in the presence of his chefness, proper name usage is the only protection from an ultimate plummet into rookie lettuce status.
Chef Boada went on to explain, people say it’s cheap & yada, but as far as he’s concerned, it’s the best lettuce in the world. “It has flavor… baby!” By the by, this guy likes the crunch… a bunch.
Arturo’s eggplant parmesan is an off the menu item. Hopefully, no brainer skills quickly help humans realize this is an easily obtainable task. Our multi-language speaking hostess with the mostess stopped by for a quick chat, explaining… If you wish for this dish… just ask.
Chef Boada gracefully made his way to the kitchen to prepare one last entrée before dessert. Little did he know, his super important chef hat became un-one with his back pocket, thus leaving all chef hat supervision upon… AVH.
Intense responsibility at its very best became reality. After scooping this treasure up like a nifty newborn baby, I carefully sashayed over to the kitchen window, thus providing instant chef hat recovery. Your welcome.
Ah, snapper al fresco was last on the list of final dining bliss. Sautéed snapper with fresh tomato, basil, garlic, and capers is served in a white wine sauce & topped with jumbo crab meat. Other fish dishes include grilled salmon topped with a Thai mango pico de gallo, as well as grilled sashimi grade tuna.
Without a single food confusion flinch, my no nonsense future visit entrée want is definitely the frutti di mare with snapper, shrimp, clams, mussels, and calamari served in a light tomato broth.
Dessert delivery of the Caribbean Banana set forth confusion in both John & I. Hmmm, let’s see… It looks like a tall pastry with a banana surprise inside. After completing a full investigation, this would be comparable to that of the always on the menu… bananas foster. So good was this dessert, we found ourselves having a semi spoon sword war on the plate. To prevent sharing wounds, one might request an extra scoop of ice cream in the future.
Crème brulee served on a spoon instantly produces sassy at a level of super simplicity. Just try not to bounce & clap. Impossible. Some of the other desserts offered are gelato & sorbetto, as well as apple in a puff pastry with cinnamon & strawberries.
Owner-chef Arturo Boada’s eyes sparkle while speaking of his new restaurant. From the process of design, to the end result of actually interacting with devoted clientele, all prove he is home. Let us end with an Arturo quote of massive trill causing thrill…
“Just cook it, smell it, feel it, taste it, touch it… It’s all about the senses baby…”
FIVE: High 5!
FOUR: Please & Thank You
TWO: Double Wow
ONE: Wow + Ouch = Wouch