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Chef Chris Shepherd’s Underbelly Is Making Some Major Changes

Whole steers are out, fish and veggies are in.

The new seafood tower at Underbelly
Julie Soefer Photography
Amy McCarthy is a reporter at, focusing on pop culture, policy and labor, and only the weirdest online trends.

Since opening, Chef Chris Shepherd’s Underbelly has helped redefine dining in Houston. Now, the Montrose eatery is redefining itself.

Originally known as one of the country’s only restaurants to purchase whole steers, Underbelly will now completely shift gears and stop sourcing whole steers for the restaurant, changing the focus almost exclusively to fish and vegetables, according to a press release. According to Shepherd, his own rule that the entire cow be used on the menu, is limiting the creativity of the chefs at Underbelly.

The menu at Underbelly will still change every day, and beef will still be on offer, though much less frequently. Shepherd will look beyond Houston and Galveston to source seafood from Virginia and other southern states. Like at his new spot One Fifth, a seafood tower will permanently join the menu, along with plates like Red Royal shrimp with Thai summer squash salad and fish collar ssam. Local produce will still be a major focus, even moreso now that Shepherd isn’t forcing himself to focus so heavily on beef.

“I’ve always said that the only thing consistent about Underbelly is change, and this is just one more example of change,” said Shepherd in a statement. “We’ve had a broad focus for the past five years, and now we’re going deep. I want my cooks to understand the history of the Bo Ssam or Masala. It’s more than just adding flavors to a dish. It’s the thought process behind the dish, understanding the history and culture.”

The new fish-obsessed menu hits Underbelly on June 20, and will stick around at least through the summer, perhaps longer. Fans of the beloved Korean braised goat and dumplings shouldn’t fear the changes, though — according to Shepherd, that dish isn’t going anywhere.