At Houston restaurants, meat and cheese boards are moving...

At Houston restaurants, meat and cheese boards are moving...
At Houston restaurants, meat and cheese boards are moving...
At Houston restaurants, meat and cheese boards are moving...

At various iterations of his annually changing One Fifth restaurant, chef Chris Shepherd has caused jaws to drop and heads to swivel with his special-order “baller boards,” which took the notion of a charcuterie platter over the top. Way over. For his new One Fifth Gulf Coast, he piles the deck with fresh and fried seafood, fish and assorted Southern delicacies.

“We always like to have fun at our restaurants,” Shepherd says. “After all, who doesn’t love a captain’s platter?”

That sentiment is echoed across the Houston restaurant scene in presentations that are pushing boards to new heights. Meats and cheeses are all well and good, but today they need an extra sumpin’ sumpin’. These are our favorite new splurge-worthy boards.

Love beads

The caviar service at chef Ryan Lachaine’s Riel restaurant in Montrose is actually a luxe board beautifully laid out with three types of caviar (white surgeon, Russian osetra and Siberian sturgeon) with house-made cultured butter, sieved egg yolks and whites, chives, capers and house-made buckwheat blini; $140. 1927 Fairview, 832-831-9109; rielhtx.com

Southern charm

It’s not listed on the menu, but the baller board at One Fifth Gulf Coast changes daily. It could include fried seafood and fish, fresh oysters, crab claws, shrimp, soft shell crab, hush puppies. Anything goes as long as it swims and sings of the South; market priced or about $50 per person by advance order. 1658 Westheimer, 713-955-1024; onefifthhouston.com

New kid on the block

Made for two and priced at only $18, the block board at Cherry Block Craft Butcher & Kitchen inside new Bravery Chef Hall is a measured study in richness. House-cured meats, including a silken pork liver mousse, are paired with Houston Dairymaids cheeses, assorted house pickles and toasted Cake & Bacon bread. Sous chef Andy Schlag puts love into these daily-changing charcuterie fantasies. 409 Travis, 281-940-2219; cherryblockbutcher.com

Smoke signals

The charcuterie board at 1751 Sea & Bar is like no other in town. Chef J.D. Woodward’s study in smoked, cured and preserved fish and seafood is genius stuff — think house-made salmon gravlax, cured tuna, smoked oysters, pickles and mostarda served with crusty bread. Creative and delicious; $60. 191 Heights, 832-831-9820; 1751houston.com

Fare trade

State Fare Kitchen & Bar calls its platter the Southern Farm Board. And it has everything we like: jalapeño sausage, andouille sausage, Texas cheeses, and smoked deviled eggs topped with chicharrones and served with seasoned house-made crackers. It’s Texas proud; $18. 947 Gessner, 832-831-0950; statefaretx.com

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