On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," Kulture owner Marcus Davis and executive chef Dawn Burrell join CultureMap food editor to discuss their downtown restaurant that's serving an elevated take on African-American cuisine. The conversation begins with Davis discussing the path that led him to open Houston institution The Breakfast Klub and Burrell explaining how she made the transition from Olympic track and field athlete to a chef who worked at both Sparrow Bar + Cookshop and Uchi.
After opening quietly in April, Kulture has been earning enthusiastic reviews for Burrell's creative interpretations of African-American food. For example, rather than served braised collar greens in the traditional manner, Burrell wraps them up in collard leaf "purses" that add visual appeal. With full service and a full bar, the restaurant also represents a step up from what Davis offers at The Breakfast Klub, and he discusses the reasons he felt the time was right for such a move.
While Burrell's creative cooking is the restaurant's primary draw, Davis takes the restaurant's name seriously. In addition to food, he's using the restaurant to explore African-American visual art and music with the help of two locals who are just as talented within their fields as Burrell is within hers.
Kulture is our expression of our ancestors' contributions in a number of ways. Food is a big part of what we do, but Kulture is about food, music, and art. Dawn is our culinary architect; she's responsible for how we present the food. We also have an art director who is responsible for bringing in the art work and the art shows. We're treating the restaurant as a gallery . . . . where we're highlighting the works of different artists every quarter. Robert Hodge, who's a nationally known local artist, is curating that. Also, Chase Jordan, who's a national known jazz artist is curating the music, bringing in some of Houston's, and even beyond, hottest jazz talent. This is about food, it's about music, and it's about art.
Stick around for the lighting round, when Burrell responds to Sandler's question about her favorite Houston athlete past or present by giving a shout out to her brother, Olympic gold medalist Leroy Burrell.
Prior to Burrell and Davis joining the show, Sandler and co-host Mary Clarkson, the owner of L'Olivier restaurant in Montrose, discuss the news of the week. Their topics include Tony Vallone's recent shuttering of two of his restaurants, Ciao Bello and Vallone's, Snooze: An AM Eatery's plans to open near the Galleria, and what the one-day lockouts of Star Fish and Pi Pizza might mean for the future of Cherry Pie Hospitality.
In the restaurants of the week segment, two duo rave about their breakfast at The Classic All Day and offer a more nuanced perspective on a dinner at La Villa Saint-Tropez, the recently opened French restaurant that replaced Cafe Azur.