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.
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: