While bourbon, beer and tacos have been staples at Eight Row Flint since it opened in early 2016, there has been another mainstay for nearly that long – their Tuesday night cooking series.
“We’ve been doing the cooking series almost since we opened,” said General Manager Christina Ramey.
The brainchild of Chef Ryan Pera and the team at Agricole Hospitality, which includes Coltivare and Revival Market in its roster, the Tuesday night series was intended to shine a spotlight not just on chefs from Agricole’s restaurants, but from other Houston eateries. The series took a break from November through February of this year but came back in the spring, just in time for patio weather with such fare as the Juicy Lucy, where the cheese is actually inside the patty.
While culinary director Vincent Huynh initially had primary responsibility for the series with the help of veteran sous chef Marcelo Garcia, he recently passed the reins to Garcia who in turn solicited the help of wife Kaitlyn who works for Justin Yu and Jason White, the chef at Yu’s new Theodore Rex.
White cooked coal-grilled chicken with green garlic broth and chicken fat rice for a recent popular series. And Sam Chang of Oxheart and Underbelly fame brought down the proverbial house with his Taiwanese street noodles.
“It’s a very popular dish right now and Sam has a loyal following,” said Garcia.
Next up is Troy Witherspoon from Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company who for the next two Tuesdays will be dishing up Chiles rellenos, grilled and stuffed with brisket and blue heron goat cheese, along with a grilled broccoli salad, topped with grated horseradish and grapefruit supremes.
Witherspoon jokes that when Garcia asked him to participate his first question was – “Why?”
“I’ve known Marcelo for a while now, and some of my greatest inspirations are these chefs,” he said.
Witherspoon, who incidentally is an Oak Forest resident, said that when thinking about what he would serve, he was inspired by Buffalo Bayou’s Crush City IPA, a special limited release that will be offered as long as it lasts at Eight Row. All proceeds of the sale of the beer will go to Hurricane Harvey relief funds.
Other Buffalo beers available at Eight Row are their Sam’s Daily Cream Ale and the Great White Buffalo Style Belgian Wheat.
A jack of all trades but a chef at heart, Witherspoon has cooked at the Petrol Station and also operated a food truck called Craft Infusion.
“Every dish included a local beer,” he said.
Before coming to Buffalo Bayou Brewing, he was the general manager at Brews Brothers on the Strand in Galveston where he got their food program rolling. Initially tapped to be the chef at Buffalo Bayou on a special project, he ended up as their sales manager when that fell through. But cooking is still his first love.
“It always make me happy when people enjoy my food,” he said.
The cooking series gets a lot of promotion from the social media networks of Eight Row and the participating chefs and companies. The excellent weather we’ve been having, as a small recompense for what the city must endure with Harvey, certainly isn’t hurting the series. They expect 50 to 60 people each Tuesday.
The patio holds about 175 people according to Christina Ramey. And there are ample fans.
“We really don’t have a winter here,” said Ramey, who notes that when it does get cold they cover a portion of the patio and heat it.
To enjoy a brew and some wonderfully decadent Chiles rellenos yourself, come to Eight Row on September 19th or the 26th. For more Buffalo Bayou beers visit them at 5301 Nolda St. near T.C. Jester Blvd. Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturday noon to 3 p.m.