“You need to get there, fast,” a food editor friend told me, and she was right. The most refined and disarmingly delicious meal I’ve had in recent memory was at The Pass and Provisions, the new restaurant in Houston from chefs and co-owners Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan (they two met in NYC in 2005, while running Gordon Ramsay’s Maze).
You might say the restaurant has a split personality. Housed in a historic Italian import warehouse, the restaurant serves up a two-part experience that satisfies entirely different desires. Provisions is their take on a casual neighborhood restaurant and bar, with a seasonal menu that relies mostly on a large, wood-burning oven. On the flip side, Pass, the adjacent space that opened last week, is devoted fine dining. How do house-made potato chips coexist with foie gras? We caught up with the chefs to find out.
Tell us how you came up with the concept of P&P.
We always wanted the idea of the two concepts, distinctly our own. A causal spot where good oysters, pizzas, cocktails, and beer can be a “go-to” everyday restaurant for people, and a fine dining restaurant that provides a unique, special occasion experience.
Provisions has been open for several months, what did that first chapter tell you about your audience?
We learned the exact minimum number of hours that a person needs to sleep when working 7 days per week and still be able to function without going completely into Zombie mode!
We learned the value of training and developing a great team that will then, in turn, pass that understanding, knowledge, and excitement onto the guests. This is a big operation, and every person that works for this company is vital to its success. A year ago, we were running a pop-up restaurant out of the back of a clothing store, just the two of us. We greatly value our staff.
How does pizza and burrata coexist alongside the fine dining experience at The Pass?
We try and offer our guests two unique experiences under one roof. We look at both restaurants as equals in the sense of what they should offer the guests. Items like burrata and sea urchin, which are typically viewed as “luxury” ingredients, have a place on either menu. The latter can be found on a pizza in Provisions and on intricate preparation of raw seafood on our “RAW” course in The Pass.
What are three dishes that convey your style of cooking (from either side)?
- Cresto de Gallo (Provisions)
- Beef Tar Tar/Marrow Brioche (The Pass)
- Yuzu Sherbet/Beet Cake/Panna Cotta/Juniper Berries (Provisions)
We heard you have an awesome bar program, what’s shaking?
Our two bar managers, Alex Gregg and Sebastian Nahapetian, have put together a really comprehensive bar program. The Bar offers any number of classic cocktails (Tried and True), Seasonal specialty cocktails, as well as a diverse beer program that includes a daily selection of large format beers that we pour by the glass. The fellas have also put together really great mixed beverage pairing with both the 5 and 8 course tasting menus in The Pass.
What three chefs have most shaped your food sensibilities?
All of the chefs we came up the ranks admiring play a huge part in shaping who we are as cooks: Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Heston Blumenthal, Andoni Aduriz, etc.. Seth worked for Marcus Samuelsson at Aquavit and Terrence worked for Gabriel Kruether at The Modern, and certainly they each played a large role in how we think about and approach food. We both have a mutual admiration for guys like Paul Kahan who just seem to know how to do it right.
Anything else you want to tell us about P&P?
One side note that not many people know is that our wives named the restaurants.