On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," Daut Elshani and chef Geoff Hundt join CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss d'Alba Craft Kitchen & Cocktails. Recently opened in Garden Oaks, d'Alba provides its neighborhood with a restaurant that's family friendly enough to have a children's play area but also grown up enough to draw a late-night bar crowd.
Elshani uses the interview as an opportunity to share some news. First, Hundt, whose initially joined d'Alba as a consultant to create the menu, has left Local Foods to serve as the restaurant's executive chef and partner. Second, d'Alba will celebrate its grand opening on Sunday, December 5 by debuting its eagerly anticipated brunch menu.
Despite the challenges of staffing shortages and the rising cost of ingredients, the restaurant has been a hit. Sandler asks Hundt what he'd like to accomplish in the next six moths.
"I just want to see us get dialed in. I want our cooks to execute at 100 percent. I want brunch to be executed at 100 percent," the chef says. "I want to dial d'Alba in and create more systems. Right now, as Daut said, all the feedback has been incredible. People have been incredibly complimentary, but there's always ways we can do better."
Prior to the interview, Sandler and co-host Linda Salinas discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: the Conservatory Galleria food hall project getting back on track under new management; the imminent of opening of Bodega Bellaire, a new wine shop and home goods store; and the openings of rooftop bar Idle Hands and barbecue restaurant J-Bar-M Barbecue.
In the restaurants of the week segment, Salinas and Sandler share first impressions of Chivos, the new Mexican-American restaurant in The Heights. They find much to like about both chef Thomas Bille's menu as well as the creative Mexican cocktails. Finally, the duo shares their affection for Fitzcarraldo, a tropical cocktail bar in the East End from the owners of Cantina Barba.