Bryan Caswell has news. The chef-owner of Midtown seafood restaurant Reef, Montrose Tex-Mex restaurant El Real, and the slider joint Little Bigs is preparing to launch his first chef-driven concept since Stella Sola opened in 2009.
The new restaurant represents other new beginnings, as well. It will be Caswell's first without his one time business partner Bill Floyd, and the first where his wife Jennifer will have contributed to the overall concept, including the design and the marketing.
"This is the most personal thing I've done since I opened Reef," Bryan Caswell tells CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler in a special episode of CultureMap's new podcast, "What's Eric Eating?."
In a freewheeling conversation, the Caswells discuss the name of the new restaurant, Oxbow 7, where it's located at the new Le Méridien Houston Downtown hotel opening July 18, what inspired the menu, and a rooftop hotel bar that the couple will also design and operate.
After the Caswells share news about their new restaurant, they also discuss their plans to create "Reef 2.0." As the Gulf Coast seafood restaurant prepares to celebrate its 10th anniversary this year, it will undergo some physical changes to its design as well as changes to its menu to reflect changes in the way people like to eat. Finally, Caswell talks about Riel, the Montrose restaurant opened by his protege Ryan Lachaine.
Before the Caswells join the show, CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler and this week's co-host, local bartender Chris Frankel, discuss the news of the week. Topics include Frankel's new position as a consultant for Dallas-based Neapolitan pizzeria Cane Rosso, sommelier Evan Turner's sudden departure from Helen Greek Food & Wine, and some brief thoughts on Better Luck Tomorrow, the new neighborhood bar from Anvil owner Bobby Heugel and Oxheart chef-owner Justin Yu.
In the restaurants of the week segment, Sandler and Frankel share their experience at Rim Tanon, a recently opened Thai restaurant in the Upper Kirby area, and Frankel offers his opinions on how some of Houston's new poke restaurants compare to those he's encountered during his travels to California and Las Vegas.
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