On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," chef Chris Cosentino joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss Rosalie Italian Soul, the restaurant he'll open next month in downtown's C Baldwin hotel. Best known for his groundbreaking San Francisco restaurant Incanto and as the winner of season four of Top Chef Masters, Rosalie will be Cosentino's first Texas project.
The conversation touches on a number of topics, including how Cosentino's great-grandmother Rosalie shaped his perspective on food, his time at Incanto, and his thoughts on reality TV. Turning to Rosalie, the chef explains one of the things he's most excited about is using products from the Gulf Coast.
The shrimp you guys have here is mind-blowing. We don't get that. I don't have that access. I may get sardines and Monterey squid, but I don't get the shrimp you guys have. It's a whole new world of new toys to play with. It's like a kid that goes to the sandbox, and some kid shows up with a new toy — you want to play with the new toy.
That's what makes it really excitable and fun, and I'm looking forward to developing what we're doing around the product you have here. You guys have different growing seasons. I have to reconceptualize in my head timelines of when things hit the menu and when they don't. It makes learning a constant thing. That's what I love about cooking. We're forever learning. The products are different every single time, and it makes for a better experience for the guests and the staff in the kitchen.
Stick around toward the end of the interview, when Cosentino describes the various techniques he plans to use to prepare the restaurant's eggplant Parmesan and to hear his comments about executive chef Sasha Grumman.
Prior to Cosentino joining the show, Sandler and co-host Mary Clarkson, owner of Montrose restaurant Avondale Food & Wine, discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: the announcement that Midtown restaurant Ibiza will close next year; the prospects of Traveler's Table, an ambitious new restaurant that will open in Montrose this fall; La Calle's plans to expand to Midtown; and the plans for South Korean favorite Tom N Toms Coffee to open a location in the same office building that's home to CultureMap.
In the restaurants of the week segment, the duo share some first impressions of Penny Quarter, the new cafe and wine bar from Bobby Heugel and Justin Yu. They also recount their recent meal at Theodore Rex, Yu's signature restaurant that's widely considered to be one of Houston's finest establishments.