On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," chef Brandi Key joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss her new role as Lasco Enterprises' culinary director. The conversation begins with Key sharing her rise through the ranks of Pappas Restaurants before joining Clark Cooper Concepts to open Coppa Ristorante. From there, she worked with the company to open Coppa Osteria, Punk's Simple Southern Food, The Dunlavy, and SaltAir Seafood Kitchen.
In her new role, Key is responsible for overseeing the culinary operations at Lasco's three concepts: Max's Wine Dive, The Tasting Room, and Boiler House in San Antonio. At an intimate dinner last week, Key previewed some of Max's new dishes like sticky pork ribs and a seared tuna poke salad. She describes the overall philosophy of updating the menu.
"What we want to do is give diners an opportunity to have a little more variety. We're not doing anything with the fried chicken," Key says. "But what we want to do to that is bring some diversity to the plate. If you're not craving fried chicken, there's some other things you can attack on the menu and be really excited about."
Prior to Key's interview, local restaurant consultant Nathan Ketcham and Sandler discuss the news of the week. Their topics include Finn Hall's addition of Amaya Coffee, chef Gabriel Medina's departure from Aqui, Grit Grocery's plans to make it easier to shop for healthy food, and GQ magazine including Theodore Rex and Xochi on its list of 2018's best new restaurants. In the restaurant of the week segment, the two men recount a lunch gone wrong at recently-opened Blue Onyx Bistro.