What's Eric Eating Episode 254
Meet the team behind an LA restaurant taking a stand in The Woodlands, plus Houston's fine dining icon refreshes
On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," Jason Wishengrad and David Selman join CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss The Stand, a Los Angeles-based restaurant that recently opened its first Texas location in The Woodlands. Wishengrad, the company's executive vice president and son of founder Murray Wishengrad, and Selman, the restaurant's culinary director, share insight into what it means to serve "American classics redefined."
The conversation begins with Wishengrad describe the restaurant's approach, which involves creative interpretations of classic comfort food. For example, the Stand offers more than three dozen burger toppings with an extensive selection of sauces that are made in-house — including three different kinds of mustard. Similarly, the kitchen produces a falafel burger that holds its own with any Mediterranean restaurant.
Selman brings a fine dining background to his role, including a lengthy amount of time at Roberta's, the Brooklyn restaurant and pizzeria that's become a modern classic. Sandler asks the chef what about working for a more casual concept appeals to him.
"The food-forward nature of it is a huge part of that. We need to keep it accessible, but we can spread our wings a bit," he says. "Bringing in interesting ingredients and flavor profiles that some of our clientele may not be familiar with is one of the fun things that we do . . . We like to push the envelope a little bit and get our clientele a little out of their comfort zone. That's a big part of the appeal for me."
Prior to the interview, Sandler and co-host Felice Sloan discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: Killen's Barbecue opening a third location in Cypress; Finn Hall adding four new restaurants; and the Barking Pig rebranding as Ribeye & Rye, a casual steakhouse.
In the restaurant of the week interview, Sloan and Sandler share thoughts about Tony's, which they visited for Houston Restaurant Weeks. They note that chef-partner Kate McLean has done some things to liven up the fine dining institution. Listen to the full episode to hear how they think it compares to some of Houston's newer upscale restaurants.