Perry's Restaurants, which just opened its newest location in River Oaks, has named Rick Moonen as master development chef. Moonen, who is a key name in sustainable fishing and opened the well-received rm in New York and RM Seafood in Las Vegas, will oversee menu development, innovation, quality control, and efficiencies for Perry's. And he's already added some items to Perry's catalog: barbecue octopus, red snapper crudo, and whole Bandera branzino are off-menu options for a limited time.
In somewhat related news, The Union Kitchen has a new executive chef and menu in Bellaire. Welcome Jesse Esquivel, who was formerly at Perry's Steakhouse and the Grand Lux Cafe. Esquivel has brought back old favorites like prosciutto arugula pizza, Paul's BBQ sandwich, and Mama P's baked brie. And there are plenty of new offerings, like Maine lobster-stuffed ravioli, a reuben, short rib grilled cheese, and salmon and basil pesto risotto. Brunch also got an overhaul, with chicken fried steak, new crepes, and much more on the menu.
Speaking of overhauls, neighborhood market Borgo Food Station at 3641 W. Alabama in River Oaks is being transformed to Mina Ristorante. Owners Monica Fallone and Luis Mancera have decided to open an intimate Italian restaurant, which is tentatively making its debut in April.
Get ready for the seventh annual Houston Barbecue Festival. Scheduled for 1-4 p.m. April 14 at the Humble Civic Center, the event will include hot spots like Killen's Barbecue, Pinkerton's BBQ, and The Pit Room, plus a ton more (including Louie Mueller Barbecue and Southside Market & BBQ). Tickets are $50 (pre-sale), $60 (regular), $100 (VIP pre-sale), and $120 (VIP regular) and are on sale here.
Parents and guardians: Have a talented young cook in your house? MasterChef Junior is hosting a casting call in Houston for children ages 8 to 13 (child must be at least 8 by April 1, 2019). The call is Saturday; apply at masterchefjuniorcasting.com.
Have a food product you think can make it on the shelves of H-E-B? The grocer is launching its 2019 Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best contest; $70,000 in cash prizes will be awarded among finalists, and the winner will have the opportunity to have her or his product get into H-E-B stores across the state. Submissions will be accepted from Feb. 27 to April 5 at heb.com/quest.
Crawfish season is here! There are many places to visit, and some newcomers are getting in on the fun. La Lucha, the Ford Fry concept helmed by Bobby Matos, is one of them: It's hosting crawfish boils starting at noon on Saturdays and Sundays until the crawfish isn't so good anymore.
To celebrate Mardi Gras, B&B Butchers is hosting on Saturday a themed brunch in its upstairs dining room and rooftop patio. With live music that includes dueling pianos, plus face painting, the brunch will include crawfish étouffée omelet; cajun boudin with poached eggs; duck and andouille gumbo, and much more—plus, of course, king cake. Regular bill here, no special tickets; reserve ahead, however.