If you’re looking for a complex, whimsical and somewhat weird meal, Eculent is a seriously intriguing dining experience.
But, it also feels like a closely kept secret.
Eculent serves up some of the most imaginative edibles in an unlikely place – Kemah, Tex., around 50 minutes outside of downtown Houston.
But despite how tasty the food at Eculent is, it’s surprisingly unknown to many people. For those who do know, the journey to even getting into the restaurant is quite the ride.
Getting a reservation at Eculent
I’ve been trying to get a reservation at Eculent since October 2021. I wanted a tasting menu experience, and after searching and searching I came across Eculent.
One thing that captivated me about dining at Eculent is that you can’t just go anytime you want.
Reservations for the restaurant open up on the first of a given month, at a specific time for the following month. Sometimes (in my case) the reservations sell out within minutes.
If you don’t get a reservation, you can add yourself to the waitlist in case there’s a cancellation, but after waiting so long for a reservation, this is not an experience you want to lose out on.
The joys of a 30-course tasting adventure
Ever since my trip to Copenhagen a few years ago, I have been obsessed with multi-course tasting menus with wine pairings.
For me, tasting menus are a method of enjoying a variety of foods, while getting a food experience that showcases a chef’s creativity and allows me to try new things without any preconceived notions.
Every course is like a little surprise party.
These experiences also allow you to encounter food from someone else’s vantage point, without the ability to be very picky (aside from allergies and diet preferences, those are accounted for).
What makes Eculent special
There are little surprises hidden everywhere. In the food, in the drinks, in the lights and sounds – even in the little pamphlet and magnifying glass that greet you at the table.
There are even surprises inside of your table.
Yeah, I’m not kidding.
During our dining experience, We were treated to some whimsy – From the color-changing sipper at the beginning of the meal, to the sensory changes in lights, and music between courses.
The dining experience isn’t just servers bringing you tiny bites, it’s an entire menu meant to immerse you in the food, and make you feel, taste, smell, hear, and see every bite you take.
And Chef David Skinner – the mastermind behind Eculent – serves as a tour guide of those senses and storyteller through the entire experience, often letting us bend his ear about ingredients, inspiration and techniques.
In 30 courses, there were of course some standout dishes like the Eculent Caesar Salad, which is almost weightless but packed with flavor. The French Onion Soup Bonbon was also a nice surprise. It looks like a little candy, but when you bite down, you’re surprised with French Onion soup and
We also ate a dish called A Walk Through The Forest, which was a marvel in itself, but aside from being absolutely gorgeous, the bed of earthy lettuce and mushrooms is enhanced with a fork that wraps your nose in a musky perfume with every bite you take.
Aromatherapy on a plate. And almost a little relaxing.
Most of the ingredients you find in these dishes are exotic – you’re not diving into a meal that you’d have anywhere else. And, the menu here changes, so your first visit might not be the same as your second or third.
For me, Eculent was an experience worth having. I don’t want to spoil too much for you, because a part of the experience is the surprises of each course.
But if you’re looking for a unique, shared dining experience, I’d recommend you make a reservation, and take that trip down to Kemah for this imaginative dinner party.