By Jim Ayres
When I think of “Eunice,” one character comes to mind: Carol Burnett’s Eunice Higgins who, along with dim-witted husband Ed (Harvey Korman) and cantankerous Mama (Vicki Lawrence), served up some of the 1970s’ funniest small-town family comedy.
I have never laughed so hard as when Eunice found out what really happened to her childhood pet, Fluffy.
Well, there’s no rabbit on the menu at Eunice, a beautiful new restaurant in the Greenway Plaza area. But what you will find is an appealing selection of modern Cajun-Creole dishes that completely captivated this writer.
It’s a bit of a challenge to find Eunice, even though it sits smack dab at the corner of Richmond and Buffalo Speedway. It’s on the first floor of an office tower, and despite huge windows showing the goings-on within, signage is desperately needed. (Enter off Richmond and drive up to the valet stand.)
Once inside, you’ll marvel at Eunice’s beauty. Tables are far enough apart to allow easy movement through the room. Dreamy light comes courtesy of fixtures draped in sheer fabric.
Taking in the space, I had to remind myself I was at Eunice to eat! And at the end of the evening, I had devoured what may be my favorite meal of 2018.
A simple serving of expertly fried oysters kicked off the feast. Tanned, crispy chunks had just the right heft for a snack and were served with Ranch dressing. But oh, what a Ranch! It was a sinfully rich house made dressing that had me wanting more, even after the oysters were long finished.
Royal Red Shrimp were true to their color — six boiled, chilled, rouged beauties from the Gulf. Again, simplicity is key here. I loved dipping these babies into a horseradish-y cocktail sauce or a fiery remoulade, basking in their freshness.
Simple things turned dramatic with my New Orleans BBQ Lobster. Now, in Louisiana seafood parlance, BBQ doesn’t mean what it usually does with brisket or ribs. In a traditional BBQ shrimp recipe, the shrimp are sautéed in creole spices and served with a Worcestershire-spiked butter sauce on the plate.
For its BBQ Lobster, Eunice thickens the sauce with a roux to match the meatier flesh involved. The lobster itself is steamed in-shell and served in two pieces — a claw, and a side of legs and carapace. This was foodie theatre, and its flavor was pure heaven. Even the “soppin’ toast” was grilled and embellished with basil olive oil.
A meal like this (OK, it was my birthday) must always save the best for last. Ever since that night, I’ve been dreaming about the next time I can have some of Eunice’s Bread Pudding. It is the best bread pudding I’ve ever had anywhere. All the spices, the brandy butter sauce, the ice cream… all came together in an All-Clad dessert skillet and I finished every bite.
Executive chef Drake Leonards has, in Eunice, a beautiful and unique vision of modern Cajun-Creole cuisine. Any meal here will be a special occasion.
3737 Buffalo Speedway (at Richmond Ave.)
Houston TX 77098