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Dominick Lee to Helm the Kitchen at Poitín

Plus news on the latest avenue for the NOLA-born chef

Left to right: Todd Leveritt, Dominick Lee, and Ian Tucker.
Trevor Gerland

The cat’s out of the bag: Dominick Lee, who was up until now acting as the executive sous-chef at the Levy Park restaurant Kiran’s, has been announced to be taking on the position of executive chef at Poitín (pronounced “put-cheen”). The restaurant, set to open in the coming months between spring and summer, will be set among the creative commons of Sawyer Yards in the Washington Avenue Arts District.

Lee’s menu has yet to be fully drafted, though a press release sent to Eater goes so far as to say it’ll be “diverse... (with) classically prepared dishes incorporating bold flavors from locally sourced ingredients.” One can only hope and speculate at this stage in the game that the menu will benefit from Lee’s snowballing experience in the Houston food scene.

In need of a refresher? A New Orleans native, Lee is the one of the alumni from the Art Institute of Houston, where he was awarded the inaugural Chris Shepherd Underbelly Scholarship during his studies. Afterwards, he went on to work under Houston’s oft-titled ‘godmother of Indian cuisine’ Kiran Verma.

All told, Lee’s experience could yield a menu that pulls from any one of his formative experiences, whether it’s his international cuisine training; time spent in the home kitchens of the Big Easy; or the broad spice and culture palettes of North Indian cuisine. At the end of the day, this is a “cross-cultural” restaurant named after a distilled Irish spirit, so the direction of the food is anyone’s guess but Lee’s.

It’s been some time since we last caught word of this restaurant-cocktail bar from Irish-Houstonian restauranteur Ian Tucker. The only exception to this was news that his testicularly-named Balls Out Burger was rolling out a food truck earlier this month. Better late than never for this new restaurant.

Before this news of Lee came out, one clue for this incoming venture was that it would be concept-driven. That can only mean there needs to be strong presences at both the front and back of the house. So while Lee will be heading up the rear, Todd Leveritt (Aries Restaurant, Gravitas American Bistro, El Big Bad) will be at the front, acting as general manager at Poitín.

The space sounds daunting, if not ambitious: A 8,000-square-foot interior that’ll be home to multiple, lavishly-designed private dining rooms and bar, in addition to a 1,600-square-foot outdoor patio with views of the downtown skyline views. Let’s hope the team is up to the task.