A chef who helmed one of the best restaurants in the world will soon return to Houston for a week-long tasting menu at one of the city’s most exclusive restaurants. Alex Bremont will collaborate with Neothe innovative omakase-style concept in Montrose, on a series of intimate dinners.
Held from September 26 to October 1, the dinners will see Bremont, who served as head chef at Mexico City’s world-renowned restaurant Pujol for five years, working with chefs Neo Paolo Justo and Luis Mercado on a 14-course meal that blends ingredients mexicans. with Japanese techniques. Expect a seafood menu presented omakase style where most dishes are eaten by hand.
Pricing had yet to be finalized at press time, but chefs expect the cost to exceed the $260 per person that Neo typically charges. Instructions for securing a booking are available by following Neo on Instagram.
In July, Bremont hosted a taco pop-up at Tatemó, chef Emmanuel Chavez’s corn-obsessed restaurant and tortilleria. It drew hundreds of Houstonians who waited in line for two hours. This time around, the experience will be considerably more intimate, as the Neo counter can only seat eight people at a time and meals will only be served to those lucky enough to score a reservation. The more formal environment is one Bremont knows well.
“I have always loved gastronomy. That’s what I’ve been doing for 13, 14 years,” Bremont told CultureMap. “To connect with these guys and create something with the inspiration based on what I do, which is Mexican food that was influenced by Japan. I think it’s a perfect match.
The three chefs attribute the idea of collaborating to Matt Harris, a Houstonian who has frequently visited Pujol and Neo (he is also a regular co-host of CultureMap’s “What’s Eric Eating” podcast). After Harris and Bremont dined together at Neo in July, he came up with the idea of teaming up with all three chefs.
“I thought that made sense,” Harris says. “Sometimes you don’t have to overthink things. They just make sense.
“Matt says, ‘Do you want to collaborate with someone you’ve admired for 10 years?’ Fuck yeah,” Mercado says. “For us, it’s an honor to share the same space with them.”
Neo also received considerable accolades, including a CultureMap Tastemaker award for best pop-up/startup. Mercado and Justo, who worked together at Uchi before starting Neo, serve dishes such as seared A5 wagyu with fermented mushroom butter, smoked salmon nigiri with sour cream and onion powder, and nigiri chu-toro with fermented leeks, a dish that Nobie chef Martin Stayer Told the Houston Chronicle reminded him of a Funyun.
Mercado cites Bremont as an influence on their approach to Neo’s food. “It always resonates with what we’re trying to achieve with our kitchen: things that seem very simple but have a lot of thought and process behind it,” he says. “It looks like a simple piece of fish, but we use different preparations and techniques to improve the ingredients.”
Dishes served at the collaboration dinners will be built around Neo’s signature dry-aged fish as well as traditional Mexican shapes. For example, the chefs plan to serve a tetela stuffed with fermented edamame instead of the traditional black beans. Another dish will combine eggplant with recado negro, a paste made from burnt chilies and spices.
“I would say it’s a bit of both Mexican and Japanese,” Justo adds. “It’s very seafood forward. There is no meat on the menu.
“What I find cool in an omakase format when it comes to Japanese cooking or at home when we made the omakase taco [at Pujol] is the progression of the dishes,” adds Bremont. “You will always have a favourite. At first, we are struck by the acidity and the freshness, then the dishes develop.
Bremont is working on opening his own restaurant in Mexico City, but the chef also has ties to Houston. From 2004 to 2014, he worked at several local restaurants, including the downtown Hyatt Regency, the South American restaurant Samba Grille and Oxheart. Recent visits have raised the possibility of a more permanent return.
“I have the possibility of opening something in Houston one day,” he admits. “I spent 10 years of my life living in this big city. The way it evolves in terms of food and talent is more exciting when it comes to thinking about what could be next.