On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," Anumpama and Sunil Srivastava join CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss Verandah Progressive Indian Restaurant, the establishment they recently opened in the Kirby Collection mixed-use development. The conversation begins with the couple recounting how they met — Anu worked for Sunil while she attended culinary school — and the path that led them from India to Houston.
The Srivastavas first attracted attention for Great W'Kana Cafe, a small restaurant in The Meadows, a tiny suburb near Southwest Houston. Some people told them it wouldn't work, but the couple knew they had a hit on their hands when people started waiting for tables. He explains the philosophy that guided his decision to open his own place.
"As a chef you do feel that what are you doing all this for, any kind of profession, you will feel, why am I doing this? What do I want to do with that? Am I creating a living? I'm here to create something different. As a chef, we want to bring this cuisine to a part of the world and show it in a very different manner. That's what we did."
At Verandah, he's still innovating — thus, the word "progressive" in the restaurant's name — but in a new, more luxurious environment that harkens back to his experience working for five-star hotels in India. Chef Srivastava has been able to expand the menu with wild game, and his plans include the addition of tasting menus, which he describes towards the end of the interview.
Prior to the Srivastavas' interview, Fluff Bake Bar owner Rebecca Masson joins Sandler to discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: Ronnie Killen's plans to open a comfort food restaurant in the former Hickory Hollow space; Justin Yu and Bobby Heugel's plans to open an all-day cafe and bar in the former Etro space; Adam Dorris' plans to open a new bar in the former Brooklyn Athletic Club space; and the closure of Mr. Nice Pie at Finn Hall. They also note that this weekend offers three outstanding food events. In the restaurant of the week segment, this discuss their meal at Verandah, which could have been awkward, but they mostly rave about their experience.