A last-minute change of plans for this week's scheduled guest makes for a slightly different weekly episode of "What's Eric Eating." Without a subject to interview, CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler and his co-host, Fluff Bake Bar chef-owner Rebecca Masson, are able to have a more expansive conversation about the news of the week.
The conversation begins with an in-depth discussion of the imminent closure of Montrose restaurant Aqui. How does a restaurant that received wide acclaim fail to find an audience? The hosts debate whether the dismissal of assault charges against chef-owner Paul Qui means diners should forgive or forget, or whether Qui should have to make some affirmative gestures in order to receive forgiveness.
Sandler also speculates about what restaurant might claim the stylish space at 520 Westheimer Rd. For example, could the owners of Ramen Tatsu-ya, who claimed the similarly designed Austin restaurant Qui for a ramen restaurant, convert the space for a Houston location of their widely acclaimed izakaya Kemuri Tatsu-ya? Count Masson as a fan of that idea.
Other topics include which of the restaurants on Sandler's list of 24 winter openings they're most looking forward to. Masson gives a shout out to Truth Barbecue, the Brenham-based restaurant that's preparing to open a location on Washington Avenue, while Sandler cites Killen's TMX as one of his favorites. They also discuss Esquire naming EaDo restaurant Nancy's Hustle to its list of America's best new restaurants.
In the restaurants of the week segment, Sandler shares some first impressions of Ishin Udon, and Masson raves about a recent dinner at Eunice, the Cajun-Creole brasserie near Greenway Plaza.