One of this fall's most eagerly anticipated restaurants will officially open its doors on October 1.
Eunice, the first Houston project from New Orleans-based restaurant group BRG Hospitality, has been in development for over two years. The restaurant takes its inspiration from the hometown of chef-partner Drake Leonards, who comes to Houston after serving as the executive chef of BRG's oyster-fueled brasserie Luke. As Leonards stated on a recent episode of CultureMap's "What's Eric Eating" podcast, the town's influence extends to more than just a style of cuisine.
"For me, it's not just about the food we grew up with, it's about the way we grew up," Leonards shared on the podcast. "People were always generous, no matter if you have a lot or not, people were always generous with their time, their food, and always wanted to cook for you, to feed you. That's the way I grew up. It's what I hope this restaurant means to people. We can go there and get a really nice meal, the food is really fresh, prepared really well, and also that the hospitality is just welcoming and people feel it is an extension of our home."
That food starts with a raw bar that turns out a selection of Gulf oysters, as well as composed crudos, tartares, and ceviches. Starters include crispy quail, chicken liver mousse, and fried oysters topped with caviar. The entree selections include a ribeye steak, shrimp etouffee, and "duck duck rice," which delivers a sweet and savory punch courtesy of its crispy fried rice and sweet potato glaze.
Set next to a grove of oak trees in a office building at the corner of Buffalo Speedway and Richmond Avenue, Eunice offers a picturesque setting to feast on Leonards' Cajun and Creole-inspired cuisine. Just like the food, the interior by local design firm Gin Designs Group recalls a home in Louisiana, with wooden floors, dark wood beams, and antique touches from Leonards' and general manager Luke Smith's families. Initially seen as a white tablecloth restaurant, the design evolved in a more casual direction to reflect the food's humble origins.
When they walk through the doors, diners will find a U-shaped, quartz-topped bar that's fully stocked with an extensive selection of bourbon and other spirits. In the dining room, linen lanterns hang over tables and spacious, movable banquets. Once the weather cools off, expect the 40-seat patio, which is covered by massive oak trees, to be particularly popular.
Known for restaurants such as August and Shaya, BRG is formerly known as Besh Restaurant Group; BRG founder John Besh resigned from the company after being accused of sexual harassment, but he retains his ownership stake. Safe to say the hype surrounding the opening would be greater if Besh remained directly involved with his reputation intact, but Leonards, Smith, and their teams don't need a celebrity to draw a crowd. The food and setting will speak for themselves.
Eunice; 3737 Buffalo Spdwy.; Monday through Friday 11 am to 10 pm, Saturday 3 pm to 10 pm; Sunday 10 am to 9 pm