Sparrow Bar + Cookshop's Local Meets Global | Houston

A spicy soba recipe from one of Houston's top chefs

Monica Pope has been changing the way Houston eats for more than 20 years.

And with her fourth restaurant, Sparrow Bar + Cookshop, she continues to push boundaries, introducing diners to locally sourced ingredients like rabbit heart, veal cheeks and broccoli flowers.

Pope describes the cuisine at Sparrow as "global comfort food." Dishes like Thai-style mushroom stroganoff and steamed chard with fish sauce, sesame oil and soy sauce often inspire questions from patrons–an interaction the chef welcomes.

The recipe Pope shared with us, soy-dressed soba noodles with seared scallops (see the recipe), is actually a throwback to her early cooking days, when she first experimented with the concept of umami.

We topped the versatile dish with scallions, carrots, pickled red onions and pickled ginger, and doused it with wasabi paste and hot mustard for heat. A few bites in, our mouth was burning, but the meaty scallops and soba provided cooling contrast.

Gluten-free eaters can substitute rice noodles; we can't wait to customize it with different toppings and sauces.

Houston, we have lift-off.