Houston Restaurant Poitin Names Dominick Lee Executive Chef
Poitín, a high energy, elegant new restaurant and bar concept by Irish-turned-Houston restaurateur Ian Tucker, will feature cross-cultural cuisine, vibrant cocktails, and a globally-curated wine list when it opens as the anchor tenant at Sawyer Yards in the heart of the Washington Avenue Arts District in spring/summer 2018. Chef Dominick Lee, formerly Executive Sous Chef at Kiran’s, will oversee the kitchen as Executive Chef alongside newly appointed General Manager Todd Leveritt, who has led front-of-house teams for chef-driven concepts for the entirety of his career.
Lee, who has dreamed of becoming a master chef since he was a child growing up New Orleans, will assume the role of Executive Chef for the first time in his promising culinary career. After moving from the Crescent City to attend The Art Institute of Houston, Chef Dominick serendipitously met James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Shepherd on a behind-the-scenes tour of Underbelly during his first quarter at cooking school. Shepherd quickly became an inspirational role model to the ambitious chef-in-the-making, who concurrently worked as sous chef at the Bay Oaks Country Club in Clear Lake while at chef school, and he was ultimately awarded the inaugural Chris Shepherd Underbelly Scholarship, which funded a significant portion of Lee’s education at The Art Institute.
Soon after, Chef Dominick met beloved Houston chef Kiran Verma and landed a job as Executive Sous Chef at Kiran’s, where he gained a firm understanding of the Houston culinary landscape training closely under Houston’s godmother of Indian cuisine.
“I am beyond thrilled to embark on my next chapter as a chef,” Lee says. “Poitín represents a place where I will have the opportunity to express my care and love for food and for flavor. I will have Houston as a culinary backdrop—along with the chefs working with me—and we are collectively looking forward to fully utilizing this vibrant city to create a diverse and innovative dining experience.”
Todd Leveritt, another New Orleans native, has nearly 15 years of experience in restaurant management under his belt after serving as a Non-Commissioned Officer in the Marine Corps Infantry. During his professional career in Houston, Leveritt has worked as Restaurant Manager, Sommelier and Director of Operations at the acclaimed Aries Restaurant and its casual cousin Gravitas American Bistro along with Hotel Icon / Voice Restaurant and El Big Bad. Additionally, he has served as concept consultant on multiple restaurant openings.
“As a professional who strives to challenge myself with new opportunities whenever possible, joining the team at Poitín will be an exciting new venture,” Leveritt says. “I am looking forward to working alongside Ian, who has proven to be a skilled restaurateur in Ireland and will no doubt be an excellent leader at Poitín.”
Poitín—whose 8,000-square-foot interior will be home to multiple private dining rooms, a show-stopping bar, and an elegant design aesthetic that will lend the main dining room a lively atmosphere—draws its name from a traditional distilled Irish spirit dating back to 584 A.D. known for its potency. The cocktail menu at Poitín will include a lower octane version of the infamous spirit artfully crafted into several signature cocktails. The restaurant will also boast one of the best downtown skyline views found anywhere in Houston from its expansive 1,600-square-foot outdoor patio.