On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," owner Ignacio Torras and executive chef Luis Roger join CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss their two Spanish restaurants, BCN and MAD. Torras begins the conversation by explaining how he met Roger and lured him to Houston. In the five years since it opened, BCN has emerged as one of the city's most-acclaimed fine dining restaurants.
This summer, the duo opened a new concept that's as wild as BCN is classic. MAD has become one of this year's most talked about new restaurants, thanks to its combination of an incredibly stylish interior, an ambitious beverage program, and Roger's inventive take on tapas and paella. Barcelona-based interior designer Lazaro Rosa-Violán created MAD's interior; Torras says working with him proved to be incredibly fruitful.
It's one of those beautiful collaborations where you give him 20 percent and you get back 200. Then you give another 20 percent, and he gives you back 200. It's a little bit like Luis in the kitchen. You just need to give him a couple of concepts, and he makes them into a masterpiece.
The first thing we told him is we have a column in the middle, and you have to work around it. To be honest with you, the column in the middle mandated how the design is going to be done. You're going to have a bar in the middle of the restaurant, which is something I didn't like in the beginning. Lazaro, to the contrary, thought it was fantastic. We could make the whole restaurant go around the bar. ... Here we have someone making lemons into lemonade.
Prior to the interview, Sandler and co-host Linda Salinas discuss the news of the week. Their topics include Time magazine naming Restaurant Indigo to its list of the World's Greatest Places for 2019; Rice Village food hall Politan Row's announcement about its first three vendors; and Antone's Famous Po' Boys' new charity sandwich series.
In the restaurants of the week segment, the two hosts discuss their recent visit to Craft Pita, the fast-casual Lebanese restaurant that recently opened in Briargrove. They also banter about some of the latest food trends, including charcoal as an ingredient and oat milk.