Chef Austin Simmons's tasting menu restaurant within Hubbell & Hudson is found tucked away in the back of the Woodlands restaurant in a 24-seat, private dining room that looks into the kitchen.
The restaurant's eight-course tasting menu will vary seasonally. For one tasting menu, Simmons opened with four strong seafood courses: an amuse bouche of hamachi with coconut milk, scallop in apple dashi, an interpretation of the French Laundry classic oysters and pearls and uni carbonara with caviar and king crab. Taking on Thomas Keller is a gutsy move, but the combination of creamy oysters and salty caviar works well. Dry-aged Texas akaushi beef finishes the savory offerings, which give way to intricately plated, well-balanced desserts from pastry chef Erika Lucio for the final two courses.
It would be unreasonable to discuss Cureight without considering where it stands in relation to Houston's two other tasting menu restaurants. Briefly, Simmons's menu is more protein forward than Oxheart and less elaborate than The Pass. At $135 per person, it is also more expensive than either of those restaurants (wine pairings are additional). Still, those with an affinity for adventurous dining will find enough about Cureight compelling to justify the drive from anywhere in Houston, and Woodlands residents should strongly consider splurging on the area's first true destination restaurant.