Justin Yu

Justin Yu

Facebook: @OxheartHouston

Instagram: @OxheartHouston

With so many chefs battling for awards, acclaim, and public recognition, it can be tempting for a chef to model their dishes after those of someone else who has already achieved success. ButJustin Yu has a different approach: “It’s the little details that make a dish yours, and special.” Justin has implemented this approach to great success, and even though he’s in the land of steakhouses, chili cook-offs and all-you-can-eat barbecue, his vegetable-centric approach to cooking has set him apart from his peers.

After working in some of the country’s most critically-acclaimed restaurants like Houston’s *17, Chicago’s Green Zebra and Spring, and Ubuntu in Napa, Justin took his talents abroad, staging at In de Wulf in Belgium and Copenhagen staples AOC and Geranium. Drawing upon his years of experience and considerable talents in the kitchen, Justin returned to Houston and opened Oxheart with his partner Karen Man; Oxheart has since become one of Houston’s most widely-lauded restaurants, and Justin has gained a fair level of fame in Houston for bucking the trend of nose-to-tail meat dishes, focusing instead on the flora of his hometown and its regional offerings.

Top Dishes


Specialties & Resources

Known for his “garden prix fixe” menu, Justin has used Oxheart as a platform to bring his vegetable-based offerings to the masses, and Justin is best known for his signature dish, a stew consisting of Queen Anne peas, fermented brassicas with Texas rice, mushrooms and caramelized sauerkraut.

At Oxheart, the menu includes chilled Golden Delicious apple broth and roselle with cranberry hibiscus and oyster mushrooms; mung bean pancake with alliums, potato and miso with pickled beets and burnt onion; porridge with grains and Texas winter wheat cooked in vadouvan spices with cauliflower, cilantro and Navel orange; slow-roasted cured mirepoix with vinegar and horseradish; crème fraiche cremeux with strawberries glazed in mushroom and sorghum with thyme and lime, and “Appalachian Greasy” beans with tomato, dried tomato and flowering herbs. Oxheart does offer some options for those of us who simply can’t do without meat. Offerings include “Onaga” snapper a scapece with raw squash, basil-seaweed broth and preserved fruit and guinea hen stuffed with rice and collard greens, served with a preserved shellfish sauce.