On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," proprietor Itai Ben Eli and chef-partner Sash Kurgan join CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss Doris Metropolitan, the Israeli-influenced steakhouse. The conversation begins with Ben Eli discussing Doris' evolution from a butcher shop in northern Israel to a restaurant in Tel Aviv (now sold) that spawned locations in Costa Rica, New Orleans, and Houston.
From there, topics include the various ways Doris' Israeli influences differentiate it from more traditional steakhouses, the key role that maître d' Troy Yearby plays in setting the tone at the restaurant, and the differences in meat cookery between Americans of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage and Jewish Israelis. Sandler steers the discussion to Hamsa, the more casual Israeli restaurant the duo plan to open in Rice Village later this year. Kurgan describes the concept as follows:
"Hamsa is a dream we've had for a long time. Hamsa will be a restaurant for everybody, the price range, the things you can choose there. It will be simpler with food and prices," the chef says. "We're talking about hummus plates and skewers of lamb, chicken, and fish . . . a lot of atmosphere, a lot of noise, a lively restaurant. We will give everything to have amazing food and amazing service. It's something we've had in our minds for a long time — to bring Israel to Houston."
Prior to the interview, co-host Michael Fulmer joins Sandler to discuss the news of the week. Their topics include Fulmer's experiences working as a restaurant server and manager during the pandemic; the recent openings of State Fare in Sugar Land, The Rustic in Uptown Park, and Goode Company's new to-go only fried chicken restaurant; and some memories of the recently shuttered Fiesta in Midtown.
In the restaurants of the week segment, the duo discuss recent meals at Fainmous BBQ, Paulie's, Giacomo's, Aladdin, and the Eternal Pizza Party, a delivery-only pizza and sandwich restaurant from Rudyard's chef Anthony Calleo.