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Houston Chef's Table: Mockingbird Bistro's John Sheely treasures homemade Mexican & cool Connie's Seafood

Houston Chef's Table: Mockingbird Bistro's John Sheely treasures homemade Mexican & cool Connie's Seafood

No one knows Houston restaurants better than the people who run them, own them, and work in the kitchens. In this continuing series, CultureMap is asking our favorite foodie personalities around town where they go for great eats when they're not working.

If the Texas way of doing things is big, loud and bombastic, John Sheely has been working from a decidedly different playbook since opening Mockingbird Bistro back in 2002. With classic, subtle flavors, a spectacular wine list and an overwhelming sense of quiet excellence, he's won the loyalty of his River Oaks-area neighbors.

Sheely tells CultureMap how a meal at home is often his special occasion, the casual spot he hits for fish and why he doesn't travel for desserts.

Restaurant for a special occasion: My wife cooks awesome Mexican food. After so many years in the business it's nice to stay in and eat, and we have a 2-year-old so we have a lot of meals at home.

Restaurant to take out-of-towners to: I would take them to Da Marco or Mark's American Cuisine. Da Marco has some of the best Italian food in the city and Mark's is always great food, great service, beautiful room and great atmosphere.

For something casual I'd go to Connie's Seafood on Airline. It's Mexican, the kind of place where you pick your fish and they cook it up for you, and they have Chinese items too, fried rice and everything — it's really cool.

Favorite meal: I like the smoked salmon at Houston's. They smoke it in-house and it's a nice half-piece of salmon and not traditional, they do it in the oven with a great little remoulade.

Breakfast/Brunch favorite: I like Daily Review, he's got a great brunch. And Hugo's and Backstreet Cafe are always good.

Dessert: I can't think of anything ... I'm kinda partial to my own desserts, actually.


Other articles in the Houston Chef's Table series:

Lee Ellis loves Les Givral

Sugar hooker Rebecca Masson can't get enough of Catalan's Cake

Beachy L.J. Wiley digs the special occasion simple flavors at Dos Brisas

David Grossman goes for Vic & Anthony's crab cake, Yelapa late nights & some Bootsie

Jeramie Robison appreciates Kata Robata's sushi, Beaver's bangin' meatloaf & foodie chicks

Tony Mandola finds breakfast magic at Sunrise Taquitos

Philippe Schmit craves a Picnic romance & Stella Sola's French toast

Benjy Levit is torn between Indika's salads and Hank's Ice Cream

Flora & Muse's David Luna likes to hang with his fishing buddy and hit the Blue Nile

Asian Bistro's Gigi Huang seeks out spicy fried chicken at a Dive

Hugo Ortega believes in a Goode tradition

Soma Sushi's Jason Hauck is anti-brunch, pro-Feast

Jenni Tran-Weaver can't get enough hot pot

Bistro Alex's Juan Carlos Gonzalez finds a great $1.50 meal & giant key lime pie

News_Mockingbird Bistro_John Sheely
Chef John Sheely of Mockingbird Bistro