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Underbelly, Houston

Food & Wine Best New Chef Chris Shepherd captivated us in Aspen with his soulful food and charismatic demeanor. A few weeks later, I found myself in my hometown of Houston at his restaurant, Underbelly, which, much like Shepherd, was gregarious and convivial. What came out of his kitchen (which was open and bustling, of course) captured the underbelly of Bayou City culture succinctly with the likes of quail eggs, marbled in tea, Chinese-style; crispy market long beans and okra; and Korean-influenced braised goat dumplings. That singular experience changed the way I view Houston food.

— Susannah Chen, editor

Photos: Julie Soefer

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