A New Chef And A Fresh Start For Corner Table

Chef Eric Aldis is now in charge of the kitchen at Corner TableEXPAND
Chef Eric Aldis is now in charge of the kitchen at Corner Table
Photo by Phaedra Cook

Corner Table opened in December 2012 at 2736 Virginia, a quiet side street just off Westheimer. Literally and figuratively, though, the road for the quietly picturesque restaurant hasn’t always been smooth. Chef Eric Aldis is now seeking to breathe new life into the place while retaining some of the more popular elements of the menu.

Aldis has been exceptionally busy as of late. He was in charge of the program at private club The Marque at CityCentre, which suddenly closed. “I had to buy a new set of knives,” said Aldis. “Mine were locked in the building.” 

In the meantime, though, he already had other projects running, so losing his knife set was probably more of a hindrance than The Marque closing. He’s been working on developing Midtown Barbecue at 2708 Bagby in partnership with former Louis Muller Barbecue pitmaster Brett Jackson. (Aldis is hoping the barbecue restaurant will be open by the end of this month.)

Some oyster-on-oyster action at Corner Table. Grilled, Parmesan-topped, broiled Blue Point oysters are topped with crab meat, a crispy Gulf oyster, aioli and sustainable American Paddlefish caviar.EXPAND
Some oyster-on-oyster action at Corner Table. Grilled, Parmesan-topped, broiled Blue Point oysters are topped with crab meat, a crispy Gulf oyster, aioli and sustainable American Paddlefish caviar.
Photo by Phaedra Cook

In addition, Aldis filmed a pilot for a potential television show called “Potluck” that’s currently being pitched to cable networks and is also developing menus for the Agave Estates complex in Katy that includes Agave Road and Agave Rio. While the facility is well-known as a wedding venue, Aldis said Agave Rio will also function as a restaurant Wednesday through Friday evenings and serve brunch on the weekends.

He is the fourth chef to take over at Corner Table and hopefully this arrangement is for the long-term despite his busy schedule. The opening chef was Bruce Molzan, fresh off an employment scandal at his just-closed Ruggles Grill where he was accused of not paying employees. Molzan left Corner Table in June 2014. Around the same time, the restaurant faced partial closure due to newly implemented city rules regarding a required ratio of parking spaces to business square footage. They seem to have since come to an agreement with the city over the issue. (Diners should be aware that other than limited street parking, the main option is using the valet.)  

Molzan was replaced with Ja’Nel Witt, the nationally-known winner of season 11 of the "Hell’s Kitchen" cooking competition show. She stayed at Corner Table for just over a year. Afterward, the kitchen was helmed by Brandon Lampert. who quietly left in February of this year.

Texas Bobwhite Quail at Corner Table wrapped in prosciutto and served with green goddess sauce, ginger-carrot purée and demi-glace. The edible flowers are from local purveyor Animal Farm and "Pacific pickled peppers" are served alongside.EXPAND
Texas Bobwhite Quail at Corner Table wrapped in prosciutto and served with green goddess sauce, ginger-carrot purée and demi-glace. The edible flowers are from local purveyor Animal Farm and "Pacific pickled peppers" are served alongside.
Photo by Phaedra Cook

The relentless construction that tore up that section of Westheimer didn’t help. Drivers tried to avoid the whole mess between Shepherd and Buffalo Speedway that wreaked havoc on area businesses.

Aldis, though, seems intent on not only retaining the menu items that won fans of people who adhere to the Paleo diet, but improving them. His menu integrates a lot of Gulf seafood, Texas meats and local produce. He unlocked the secret of how to optimize the remarkable tortillas that use no refined white flour, only coconut and almond meal. Those interesting tortillas make an appearance with the fish tacos. The overall platings and ingredient combinations have become ambitious and downright beautiful. 

No one gets excited about a restaurant just because of food that accommodates the diet-conscious, although it is nice to know that Corner Table is still able to do so. The most important thing to know about Corner Table these days is that Aldis's food is as tasty and attractive as it is conscientious. 


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