Spotlight: Executive Chef Daniel Bell

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Soho Kitchen and Lounge Executive Chef Daniel Bell started in food service when he was just 16 years old.  Two years later he was cooking. He was also a promising tennis player, until a devastating shoulder, then a hip injuries changed all that.

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Soho Kitchen Exec. Chef Daniel Bell

Had he gone on toward Wimbledon, foodies would have missed out on Chef Bell’s culinary creations. Bell has been Chef for three of Madeleine Griffin’s restaurants to date — first at Madeleine’s Wine Bistro & Piano Lounge in Kemah, then at Cock & Bull in Nassau Bay. He is now turning out fabulous cuisine in Seabrook.

I asked if I could take a peek at the kitchen during off hours. Let me tell you after having seen it, I can tell you what Chef is doing with the spartan set-up is truly amazing. I imagine even the mise en place salutes him. Before Madeleine took over, the venue was a local Coffee House where the crowd was more often accessing free Wi-Fi than drinking java. You can probably imagine the kitchen in its nascent state when she and Chef Daniel arrived.

Some of the old coffee shop regulars still come in for a Cup o’ Joe. But the biggest crowds are on Saturday night, when live music entertains the local patrons with nearby yacht club crowd among them.

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“Last Saturday we were packed, ” Chef tells me. His ease in keeping up with orders for a house that full is a wonder in itself.

Kitchen renovations are in the works, as well as throughout dining room. Every week we visit there are changes afoot. First it was the iconic Leg Lamp… “a Major Award,”  featured in the quirky movie, “A Christmas Story,” about a boy in the 1940s hoping Santa would bring him a Red Rider B.B. gun. It is a gift that his mother is sure will cause him to Shoot His Eye Out.

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Next came Matilda and the oversized paintings (Cigar Man and Evening Lounge) by Brent Lynch.  This week the Piano has arrived.

mardigrasMore art lines the crimson walls at the main entrance.  From framed Larry Harris New Orleans Mardi Gras prints from the 1990s to new water colors by local Kemah artist Helen Bernard Little, the decor is eclectic, yet harmoniously tasteful.

Seating includes traditional table and chairs for two and four. Long tables complete with long wooden benches, and a single table with an old model Bell Telephone and British-flag upholstered chair are also available. Grand plans are on-going.

tablefortwoLunch and dinner menus are posted on a gilded frame chalk board. Meat and produce comes from local farms and markets. Coffee is served all day, and I can personally vouch for the Cappuccino.

Valentine’s Day Menu

Friday and Saturday this weekend is all hearts and flowers. Friday, February 14 and Saturday, February 15 feature a four-course Prix Fixe menu for $55 per couple, plus corkage, if you bring your own wine.  Menu for the evening will include Texas Goat Cheese Crostini, Pea, Bacon & Pecorino Salad in a Parmesan Cage, a choice of Roast Quail in Rose Petal Cream Sauce or Mediterranean Mussels in Red Wine Sauce with a Lavender Brioche Ice Cream Torta for dessert. We shall be there on Saturday, because, as you know, Joe does not go out to dinner on Valentine’s Day.

For more information or Valentine’s dinner reservations, call (281) 871-0170.

Soho Kitchen and Lounge is located about 30 minutes south of Downtown Houston on East NASA Road 1 in Seabrook, Texas. They currently serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Coffee is served all day and they are presently BYOB until they obtain their wine and beer certificate. The space is under renovations and we will continue to give you updates as it develops.

Cheers!

The WineWonkette