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Pearland's own Killen's Steakhouse brings Gulf Coast cuisine to NYC's James Beard House

Pearland's own Killen's Steakhouse brings Gulf Coast cuisine to NYC's James Beard House

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Ronnie Killen of Killen's Steakhouse Photo via Ronnie Killen/Facebook

New Yorkers can add a little Texas culinary love to their holiday season this year. Ronnie Killen, the owner of Killen's Steakhouse in Pearland, announced on Twitter that he has been selected to host a dinner this December at the prestigious James Beard House — yes, that James Beard.

"Basically they contacted me to let me know that I had been nominated to cook there, " Killen tells CultureMap. After being selected as a nominee, Killen sent in reviews for his restaurant as well as a biographic statement, and eventually he was offered a spot, with a couple dates in December to choose from.

 "It's the same stuff we do here all the time but we don't get recognition because we're in Pearland," Killen says. "It's just an honor to cook there." 

Killen — who will be cooking for up to 80 on Dec. 20 — says his dinner will be themed "Texas Gulf Coast." While the menu isn't completely finalized, he's excited about what he's planning. "They know I own a steakhouse. They want you to do what it is you do," he says.

Among the planned dishes are house-cured pork, a red snapper crudo with watermelon, a mesquite-smoked and sous-vide Kobe beef short rib (with Killen's famous creamed corn transformed into a deep-fried corn fritter) and a molecular gastronomy take on shrimp and grits, with the shrimp transformed and wrapped in bacon to visually mimic a bacon-wrapped scallop served over monterey pepperjack cheese grits.

Of course no Killen's meal would be complete without the famed crème brulee bread pudding, but Killen says he is planning a "pretty, English-type" version for New York, with a chocolate mold and sauce served tableside.

Killen says he's already heard of over a dozen Houstonians making a trip north for the dinner, but for those who can't he'll be recreating the menu in his restaurant in January and donating the proceeds to charity.

"It's the same stuff we do here all the time but we don't get recognition because we're in Pearland," Killen says. "It's just an honor to cook there."