On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," Aaron Bludorn, chef-owner of Bludorn restaurant in Montrose, joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss his first year in business. Since its debut in August 2020, the restaurant has earned wide acclaim, including five nominations in the 2021 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards.
The chef looks back on some of the first year's surprising — specifically how busy the restaurant has been since day one — as well as lessons learned about how diners use the restaurant and adapting to Texas's growing seasons. He also discusses the restaurant's talented staff and the steps he's taking to help them advance their careers. Sandler asks the chef about his goals for year two.
"We start to think about who are we as a restaurant and what is our place in the Houston dining scene," Bludorn says. "I think we're starting to realize more and more we want to achieve the level of restaurants that have been here for years and have that consistency. The more we focus on that consistency the better we make ourselves, the better we make the experience."
Be sure to listen to the whole interview, as Bludorn offers a couple of insider tips about the best ways to snag a highly coveted reservations.
Prior to the interview, Avondale Food & Wine owner Mary Clarkson joins Sandler to discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: Post Houston's announcement of 11 new vendors for its Post Market food hall; Concura Italian Bites, a new restaurant opening soon near River Oaks District; Winnie's, a new bar and restaurant from chefs Graham Laborde, Chris Roy, and Benjy Mason; and Clarkson's decision to relocoate Avondale after 10 years on lower Westheimer.
In the restaurants of the week segment, Clarkson and Sandler describe their meal at Gratify, the new bistro from Brasserie 19 owners Clark Cooper Concepts. Built around an extensive raw bar, they praise the quality of Gratify's food, its lively atmosphere, and polished service. They also share first impressions of Night Shift, the eagerly anticipated new cocktail bar that recently opened in the East End.