On a very special episode of "What's Eric Eating," CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler invites his regular co-hosts — L'Olivier owner Mary Clarkson, local restaurant consultant Natham Ketcham, and Urban Swank bloggers Shanna Jones and Felice Sloan — to join him to look back at the best and worst of Houston dining in 2017.
Over the course of 45 minutes, the group gives shout outs to favorite new restaurants like Riel, Star Fish, and Field & Tides. They also discuss favorite dishes from new restaurants like the crispy cheung fun at Yauatcha, the tomato toast at Theodore Rex, and chef Arash Kharat's smoked brisket tacos at Beaver's Westheimer. Asked to single out a favorite meal from an established restaurant, Jones mentions the topa de lomo (trimmed ribeye cap) at Bellaire restaurant Saltillo Mexican Kitchen.
"I have gone not once but twice to enjoy that with friends," Jones says of the four-pound steak. "It's consistent. It's seasoned well. We tried to ask for the secret to the seasoning, but couldn't quite get that on the first two times. We'll keep trying."
"It's probably the best steak in the entire city," Ketcham says in agreement.
All that positivity would be meaningless without a little balance. The group share their thoughts on negative experiences at Bud's Pitmaster BBQ, Harold's in the Heights, and Balls Out Burger. Finally, they mention some of the restaurants they're looking forward to in 2018, including the Houston location of Truth Barbeque, Georgia James, Chris Shepherd's steakhouse inspired by One Fifth, and the top secret project that 13 Celsius owner Mike Sammons is planning in EaDo.