This week Chronicle critic Alison Cook awards three stars to Alma Cebiche & bar, which is the Peruvian restaurant from former Samba Grille chef David Guerrero in the Energy Corridor. It's the fourth three star review since November from Cook (Hawthorn, Local Food and Costa Brava last week). About a scallop ceviche she writes, "That's Guerrero at his best, balancing intense flavors and many pointillistic details with ease. His shrimp cebiche is more of the same, bathed in an unusual roasted tomato leche de tigre that is sweet and tart and rounded, lit up by ají amarillo and dabs of rocoto-chile ketchup that riff cleverly on shrimp cocktail. Red onion slivers add savor, kernels of popcorn and crunchy chulpi corn make the textures fun, and a plantain crisp is the figurative cherry on top." [Houston Chronicle]
Press critic Katharine Shilcutt praises The Chili Shak, which she claims is the only Houston restaurant that focuses on the iconic Texas bowl of red. "Montgomery's recipe, however, improves upon the canned stuff with a bright array of spices that somehow never mask the naturally sweet flavor of the ground beef that makes up the majority of the chili — thankfully, there are no beans here, as the Texas chili gods have decreed it. There is plenty of chili powder, however, but of the milder variety that won't make any noses run, along with some bright garlic (in just the appropriate amount, so that you don't smell like the pungent bulb all day long) and what I'm pretty sure is basic tomato puree." [Houston Press]
THE BLOGS: Daniel the Gluttonous Chinaman finds solid moist brisket at Rudy's BBQ and, more importantly, Bellaire-worthy pho at Fantastic Pho in The Woodlands. Urban Swank offers five reasons to visit Pearland's Killen's Steakhouse. Hank on Food heads to Chinatown's San Dong Noodle House, although he missed that restaurant's killer fried dumplings. Finally, Catherine Martin creates an arbitrary story about the history of the name of Mo's Knockout Grill that's totally worth a click.