On this episode of What's Eric Eating, chef Dominick Lee and owner Ian Tucker join CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss Poitín, the ambitious restaurant that recently opened in Sawyer Yards. The two discuss their vision for the new restaurant and the eclectic menu and drinks that have already made Poitín a popular spot.
Poitín is Dominick Lee’s first restaurant where he serves as executive chef, but that’s not obvious when speaking to him. Lee appears comfortable in his role in charge of a kitchen and talks about the fun he has had designing the menu in collaboration with his team. When asked what it’s like leading the team, instead of being a cog in machine, he notes: “It’s very fun. I would say that it’s about teaching because all those things that you learned from the mentors that you had, now you have to be able to express them to other people who look to you in order to lead them, and to answer their questions, and to teach them your way or the way that things should be done and how it should be done properly.”
Prior to the interview, Fluff Bake Bar owner Rebecca Masson joins Sandler for the first time as a co-host. In the news of the week segment, they discuss happenings in the Houston restaurant scene. Taverna, in the River Oaks District, is now gone and will be replaced by a new concept called Bisou by the owners of Clé nightclubs and Frédéric Perrier. A new Houston restaurant, a joint venture by Michael Mina and Ayesha Curry, attracted national attention on Yelp from unhappy Houston Rockets fans because of the connection to the Golden State Warriors. In response to this issue, Masson discusses her anti-Yelp opinion and the negative ways that people use it. In other opening news, Otto’s BBQ and Hamburgers, a Houston institution that closed in 2010, will be attempting a comeback with a new restaurant just south of Washington Avenue.
In the restaurant of the week segment, they share their first impressions of La Vista 101, chef-owner Greg Gordon's relocated and updated neighborhood restaurant that just arrived in Lazybrook/Timebergrove. They touch on the design by Carl Eaves (Liberty Kitchen, Alice Blue), the wine list and service overseen by general manager Jeb Stuart (formerly of Coltivare), and executive chef's J.D. Woodward's eclectic menu. And yes, they had dessert.