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greensNbeans

[Houston] Laidback Manor - pre opening

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Good Afternoon,

This is an offical announcement about a new "progressive American" restaurant named the "laidback manor" opening this fall in downtown Houston at 706 Main Street near Capital. The "manor" will serve lunch and dinner and offer numerous dining options including a la carte menus, chef's tasting menu named "the voyage" which is a 10 course meal at a very affordable $85 without wine, and a 20 course kitchen table menu coined as "the treatment" and acts as a guide through the mind of Chef Randy Rucker. Rucker attended Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI and graduated from the culinary program at the top of his class. He has worked as sous chef on both coasts and has had the opportuity to work in Houstons finest kitchens such as Quattro @ The Four Seasons and Mark's American Cuisine. Rucker wants to provide Houston with a restaurant that is unparrelell to any other in the Houston area, by providing a dining experience that exhausts all the human senses. His food styling is modern and very creative and he joins a group of young chefs that are pushing the envolope of gastronomy. Rucker wants to expose the people of Houston to a new style of cuisine that has been excepted by most large cities including NYC, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Rucker believes that restaurants such as wd-50, Avenues, Alinea, Bastide, and Cru are setting the standard for young cooks to embrace the foundations of the culinary world and reach for all new heights. Please enjoy the opening menus and look for updates here on egullet.

laidback manor

lunch menu

fall 2005

set 1

forged mushroom bisque

smoked bacon, essence of sage $7

salad of organic lettuces

candied walnuts, tomato “raisins”, fried bread, sherry vinaigrette $8

“ham and cheese”

serrano ham, manchego cheese, asian pear, arugula, black pepper tuile $9

raz el hanout charred yellowfin tuna

quick-pickled peppers, shaved radish, citrus caramel $12

gulf blue crab salad

flavors of guacamole $13

set 2

monte cristo of aged ham and cheddar

purple mustard, taro root chips $9

petite vegetable risotto

mascarpone cheese, toasted curry froth $10

house-made pappardelle pasta

swiss chard, butternut squash, smoked salt, parmesan cheese emulsion $11

wild atlantic salmon

fennel, tomato confit, puree of avocado and chive $12

fricassee of organic “smart”chicken

leeks, mushrooms, fingerling potato, smoked bacon jus $12

boneless pork “ribs” braised in “Dr. Pepper”

smoked potato salad, texas toast, tomato-molasses glaze $13

farm raised striped bass

re-constructed clam chowder, bay leaf infusion $15

laidback manor

dinner menu

fall 2005

set 1

contemporary corn chowder

veloute’ of sweet corn, smoked bacon, fried potato, pop corn, essence of chive $8

salad of organic lettuces

candied walnuts, tomato “raisins”, fried bread, sherry vinaigrette $10

“ham and cheese”

serrano ham, manchego cheese, asian pear, arugula, black pepper tuile $12

glazed veal sweetbreads

pearl onions, puree of macadamia nut, toasted sesame oil $15

gulf blue crab salad

flavors of guacamole $15

le belle farms foie gras

amoretti cookie crumbs, apple cider foam, braised lemon $18

set 2

petite vegetable risotto

mascarpone cheese, toasted curry froth $16

texas hill country quail

turnip and foie gras stuffing, puree of apricot $23

confit of “smart” organic chicken

toasted fregula pasta, leeks, mushrooms, bacon jus $25

gently cooked pacific black cod

panzanella salad, black olive textures, white chocolate emulsion $26

niman ranch pork loin

“sweet potato pie”, almond-green onion crumble, reduction of port wine $26

farm raised striped bass

re-constructed clam chowder, bay leaf infusion $27

hand-harvested sea scallops

puree of coriander and fennel, hearts of palm, roasted orange juice $27

beef tenderloin poached in consume’

polenta cake, whole grain mustard, cured olive sauce $29

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This fall "laidback manor" will open it's door to Houston's newly remodeled downtown area. This progressive American restaurant is excepting resumes for all positions culinary and front of the house. The "manor" will feature cuisine unlike any other in the city. A young and passionate chef will operate the restuarant with the highest sense of integrity. This is a wonderfull opportunity for young cooks looking to practice their trade rather than "bang it out" everyday. The kitchen will be a "playground" for all ideas and brainstorms to be tested everyday. Culinary fundamentals will become involuntary, allowing creativity and passion to reach new levels. Unique techniques and technology will help the progression of cuisine at the "manor". Please review the post about (new "progressive american" restaurant in Houston) to learn more about the "laidback manor". Please forward all resumes to rrucker79@hotmail.com

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Are you the group that was asking about how people defined "fine dining" earlier?

The menu would definately get me there and the prices seem right. The only menus I have seen that get close to that innovative are T'Afia, Noe and Aries, I would love to try it.

What is the range of wine prices and are there lots of interesting choices?

If one of my friends went there and told me what they ate and how they paid and said they thought the food was great I would follow up with these questions:

Were there families there with little kids or babies?

Was it very loud?

Did the staff know what it was doing?

Was there a huge hoochie scene at the bar?

Does the bar make good and interesting drinks?

Are there awesome and unusual desserts?

If the answers were no, no, yes, no, yes, and yes then it would be first on my list for the next splurge night.

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Im glad to see that someone has replied to the post. To answer your questions about the atmosphere:

The dining room is merly a platform for the food to be served in and the interior will have exposed ceilings and brick on the walls. Earth tones and chocolate will be the featured colors. I want to remove the uncomfortable feelings that people associate with fine dining. I want people to leave my restaurant knowing more about food and it's possibilites than when they walked in...and most of all do what feels right! Have Fun! Enjoy what the "laidback manor" represents as a whole.

Cheers and good evening - I would like to pick this back up tommorow.

RR

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Pretentious? No

The objective is to remove that from the dining expeirence. Food and dining should not be limited. Food is Food. Would you visit? What sounds pretentious, to you?

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I'd check it out. The food sounds a little intimidating for Houston but great to me. I'll give it a try. Will lunch be worth the hassle? How is Zula's lunch?

I'd really like to hear more about the tasting menus.

706 Main? Which building is that?

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I'd check it out. The food sounds a little intimidating for Houston but great to me. I'll give it a try. Will lunch be worth the hassle? How is Zula's lunch?

I'd really like to hear more about the tasting menus.

706 Main? Which building is that?

Lunch will be formed to buisness lunch because of the commerce in downtown and the price points for lunch are below the those offered in the area. Of course it may be little more than Cafe Express or The Flying Suacer which are closest establishments to the "manor". Lunch will be a great opportunity to expeirence the "manor" because of the price but integrity is still the backbone of my kitchen - Guest will be treated the same for lunch and dinner. I can post the examples of the tastings:

706 Main is in The Great Jones building

Cheers

laidback manor

fall 2005

tasting menu

“the voyage”

margarita cocktail

shaved citrus ice, cointreau, jelly of agave

hand-grated smoked salmon

cauliflower parfait, asparagus

twice-cooked egg

white anchovy, piquillo pepper

veal sweetbreads

“sweet and sour” beer soup

pacific sea urchin

tapioca, cranberry, scorched milk

golden tilefish

candied fennel, parsnip “milk”

muscovy duck breast (sous-vide)

edible tube of squash and juniper juice

confit of florida grapefruit

basil syrup, grapefruit sorbet, lemon powder

$65

$ 95 with a progression of wine

laidback manor

fall 2005

kitchen table menu

“the treatment”

charred pineapple

piquillo pepper, white anchovy emulsion

fish and chips

brandade fritter, malted vinegar

hand-grated smoked salmon

cauliflower parfait, asparagus

yukon gold potato “risotto”

garlic chips, parmesan froth

twice-cooked egg

caviar

rillettes of duck and root vegetables

"after-dinner mint" and olive oil emulsion

yellowfin tuna

puree of h20 chestnut, purple mustard

crispy gulf oysters

tomato-cider jam, horseradish foam

contempory corn chowder

smoked le belle farms foie gras

expresso, vanilla

hand-harvested sea scallop

puree of white bean, hibiscus-juniper vapor

salad of “ham and cheese”

pacific sea urchin

tapioca, scorched milk

beef tenderloin

spiced carrot flan, cured olive infusion

humbolt-fog goat cheese

caramel powder, reduction of heirloom beets, fried bread

confit of florida grapefruit

basil syrup, grapefruit sorbet, lemon powder

cotton candy for the road

“the treatment” is available by reservation only

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The whole talking in third person thing exemplifies what being pretentious is.

H2o chestnut are you serious?

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The menu at laidback manor sound great! The menu does not seem pretentious to me at all but then I loved Cafe Annie's and Tony's when I lived in Houston. I live in LA now but I will be sure to try it when I am back in Houston at Christmas. I'll try to get my sister and some friends to check it out before my next visit.

Best wishes on your success.

PS. Does anyone know the name of Claire Smith's new restaurant? I heard she was back in Houston.

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The whole talking in third person thing exemplifies what being pretentious is.

H2o chestnut are you serious?

Yes, Im serious - what is your concern there?

How would you like me to write these items? In first person? I will from now on.

My only objective was to simply get information to out there about us @ the laidback manor. I wanted to post the opening menus and recieve any comments or questions. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and I repspect that - that's why Im posting these items.

Cheers

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Sorry about that - Im still getting used to it!

Thanks for the supprt TexasGal - I will happily hold a table for ya during Christmas - and thanks for the extra "word of mouth" advertising to your family here in Houston!

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claire smith is in the heights now - she openned Shade a few years ago and has had great press and reviews! shadeheights.com

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"Rucker attended Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI and graduated from the culinary program at the top of his class."

"Rucker wants to provide Houston with a restaurant..."

"Rucker wants to expose the people of Houston to..."

"Rucker believes that restaurants such as..."

Its not how the menu items were posted that sounds pretentious, it was you talking about yourself that sounded pretentious.

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Pretentious?  No

The objective is to remove that from the dining expeirence.  Food and dining should not be limited.  Food is Food.  Would you visit?  What sounds pretentious, to you?

providing a dining experience that exhausts all the human senses. His food styling is modern and very creative and he joins a group of young chefs that are pushing the envolope of gastronomy. Please!

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Pretentious?  No

The objective is to remove that from the dining expeirence.  Food and dining should not be limited.  Food is Food.  Would you visit?  What sounds pretentious, to you?

providing a dining experience that exhausts all the human senses. His food styling is modern and very creative and he joins a group of young chefs that are pushing the envolope of gastronomy. Please!

Goodness,

I simply posted what was written for a press release. I do believe we acting a bit extreme. Im really sorry that I used this as a medium. Good luck to all -

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Moderator's Note: It is helpful to remember that the eG Forums are not designed to be primarily used as a means of self-promotion. A press release is by definition promotion. This is a community of people who are here to discuss all aspects of food, with restaurants owned or concepts planned being only one of those. One who posts only about themselves and their restaurant, while contributing nothing to other discussions, is likely to be viewed by others as here only to promote themselves. The only way I know of to correct that impression, if it is an incorrect one, is to share knowledge in a variety of threads already existing in other forums, such as Cooking, Pastry and Baking, Wine, etc.

At this point let's focus the discussion on the restaurant and the food, rather than personal characteristics.

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Nice mention about Laidback Manor in the Wall Street Journal today. It was in the "Chefs Gone Wild" cover article. (no free link for the WSJ online version).

foie gras rolled in almond cookies....yum

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Nice mention about Laidback Manor in the Wall Street Journal today.  It was in the "Chefs Gone Wild" cover article.  (no free link for the WSJ online version).

foie gras rolled in almond cookies....yum

Thanks for the "nod" - I didn't know it was issued yet!

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Chef-

Do you have any other updates about the venture? Opening date? Is everything on shcedule? How is the construction going, in the kitchen and otherwise? Any major obstacles?

what about sourcing ingredients? Will you try and go mainly with local stuff?

Congrats on the WSJ article, I will try and check a copy out at the book store.

Elie


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Chef-

Do you have any other updates about the venture? Opening date? Is everything on shcedule? How is the construction going, in the kitchen and otherwise? Any major obstacles?

what about sourcing ingredients? Will you try and go mainly with local stuff?

Congrats on the WSJ article, I will try and check a copy out at the book store.

Elie

Well, we should get recieving our final permits this week (hopefully today) and begin construction that minute. The project is mearly a 4-5 week build out and we should be open the first of November, as planned. The kitchen is already built and hoods and grease trap are present. It is the old kitchen from Logans and we are combining a new dining area which is almost the exact size of the kitchen (total space about 3,000 sq/ft). I have made all the kitchen purchases and all the tables and chairs, but there is still a lot to do. Right now Im trying to get the "key players" in order (dining room manager, wine director, sous-chefs, and chef de parties) and that is a bit challanging because it is difficult to explain the operation if people do not know what the food represents. I don't think that anybody in Houston is trying to accomplish what we will! I have been very fortunate to find a couple of great culinarians to join the team (they can expose themselves on egullet if they please :wink: ) which makes me very excited. The kitchen will be ran on a very democratic level - everyone must contribute new ideas and applications, everyone! This keeps the kitchen on our toes and allows everyone to learn new stuff everyday, including the waitstaff. When it comes to sourcing I will use the same fish companies that I have used at Mark's and Quattro (foley, brown trading, steve connolly, and of course I will support out local "cats" as well). I will use local farmers for organics and specialty items, and i have always used Wood Duck Farms here in Houston for micros and other items. Of course, I will splurge when the time is right, on Chef's Garden, Fresh & Wild, Earthy Delights, and Sid Weiner & Sons for produce and mushrooms. For protein I will use martin here in town as well as Summerfeild Lamb, Niman Ranch, Swan Creek Farms, and Jamison Farms ect. for specialty items - and of course their is D' Artagnan for all my duck and foie needs. I have beem trying to rounf up a few local chefs to purchase a order of Manni "the live" olive oil - who only supplies about 16 restaurants around the world (mannibiz.com). I first was exposed to it at TFL and recently we used it at Quattro, it really is a wonderfull product - The best oil in the world! For appliances in the kitchen we will have a few immersion circulators to help with all the sous-vide cooking we will do, paco-jet, thermo-mix, distillers, tumblers (if I can find one that is at a good price), isi foamers, ect...

... thank god for ebay! :biggrin:

Thanks for your time -

Randy

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Randy:

When are you expecting the soft open and the grand opening? Based on your comments, looks like Mid-November to early December.

What about wines? Will you be acting as sommelier?

Who were your greatest influences in developing your style?

Look forward to your opening. My wife and I are more likely to support a venue where we have some interaction or relationship with the proprietor or kitchen.


"As far as I'm concerned, bacon comes from a magical, happy place" Frank, John Doe

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Your menu is very ambitious and sounds great. I cant wait to see how well it is executed though. I am an ex-houstonian and i am now working in the restaurant industry in New York City. Im glad to finally see more chefs in houston experimenting with food and lifting the food scene in houston to a higher level.

I was wondering how many seats will there be and will you also focus on the bar scene at all?

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Your menu is very ambitious and sounds great.  I cant wait to see how well it is executed though. I am an ex-houstonian and i am now working in the restaurant industry in New York City. Im glad to finally see more chefs in houston experimenting with food and lifting the food scene in houston to a higher level.

I was wondering how many seats will there be and will you also focus on the bar scene at all?

Kent - I will hold a special table for ya, come on down and taste!

LDLee - Im pushing for a early november opening! As for the wine : I want to offer a something for everybody, of course it being my first store money is tight, but the menu and the wine list will not suffer - it may not be as big as some of the others around town, but that kind of thing takes time to build. Im still interviewing for the wine director postions, but I want the entire staff (front and back) to be apart of it, this includes tasting and comments from everyone! Variety will allow us to be experimental yet conservative. It will be a small list at first but it will grow as the restaurant does. Great question!

My biggest cooking style influences don't really come from the chefs that I have worked with here in Houston but I have learned a lot about the buisness from them - Mark Cox is a genius when it comes to running a kitchen for a buisness, and Chef Keating did teach me things but he mostly taught me to get to know your audience and surprise them! I have always said to people that you learn from everyone in the restaurant : bus-boys, dishwashers, runners, commis, ect ... I once staged at Tru and it was a career changing visit! I have always been a huge fan of Thomas Keller, who's book really changed my philosphy in the kitchen, I also pay tribute to the kitchen in Big Sur, CA where I learned the value of freshness and respect for raw product. I think it is only natural to be influenced all chefs because of the progression in technology - Everyone is influenced by everyone! I think that it fair to say we share ideas with each other and make them our own! Wylie and Sam at wd-50 are so impressive, Shea at Cru is also a guy that stands out, Mr. Heston of course, Bras, Adria, and all the European chefs who have paved the way for exploration of food and wine! Richard Blais of Atlanta is a gentlemen that I hold in high regard because of his strong belief in what he does, no matter if the city is ready or not - Everything happens for a reason! The list goes on forever!

I think that it is important for all diners to have an open line of communication with the kitchen, if they don't extend that to you, well they are probally are hiding something! I will offer guest tours thru the kithen and there is always the "kitchen table" which is a room that is seperated by a glass wall for the enjoyment of the guest.

Cheers

Randy

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