The idea, last night, was to tape a radio show with Arturo Boada before his new Houston restaurant got busy. As it turned out, we taped a radio show after his new Houston restaurant started to slow down. And the only way to bridge that gap, of course, was alcohol. That was okay, though, since Arturo was probably the first-ever chef friend I made in Houston – more than a decade ago, when his Solero was the joy of downtown and I still had to show up there for a Monday-Friday newspaper job.
The bitter split that recently took Arturo away from Arturo’s (as in Uptown Italiano) has been documented in the media; but last night, as usual, I was only interested in what was for dinner. Arturo Boada Cuisine is what Arturo himself is: half Latin and half Italian. Pizzas and pastas looked great as they flashed by, though the pizza I had was topped with crispy pork carnitas with such a delightful spice blend that one bite tasted like Latin America and the next tasted like India. The camarones en hamaca pictured above is a sure-thing favorite from Arturo’s Beso days, with sweet plantains serving as the “hammock” for shrimp, crunchy hearts of palm and a soy-ginger sauce that isn’t from anywhere near Latin America. Like the Biblical Joseph, or even the one who shows up on Broadway, Arturo wears a coat of many colors.
The wines at Arturo Boada Cuisine, which somehow were forced to mix with St. Arnold’s Amber during my long ordeal, are also a mix of South American and Italian, with detours through California, Australia and, yes, even France. Those bottles on the left, Marques de Caceres from the Rioja region of Spain, figured in a Big Birthday of mine years ago at Solero. That’s all I remember about the event, except that today I’m happy to have such a nice place to come tape radio with such a good friend.
Arturo Boada Cuisine, 6510 Del Monte, (713) 782-3011