Houston Seafood Restaurant in the Heights Lures Chef with Michelin-Star Pedigree
1751 Sea & Bar, the Heights-area seafood restaurant and gin haven in Houston, is welcoming a new executive chef. This follows J.D. Woodward’s post on his Facebook page announcing his departure in June, after three years heading the kitchen. Chef Matthew Young took over the reins in August, just in time to craft a new fall menu. Young has been in Houston since 2019, working first as the sous chef at Guard & Grace and most recently as executive chef at Sixty Vines.
Young attended the Culinary Institute of America. After graduating, he worked at Michelin-starred restaurants Michael Mina — Mina’s flagship that closed in 2021 in San Francisco — and Alinea in Chicago as sous chef and chef de partie, respectively. He considers Denver restaurateur Troy Guard as a mentor, and, when Guard opened Guard & Grace at Allen Center, Young moved to Houston to assist.
Young is a fan of fusion flavors and describes his signature style as “emotional cuisine.” He believes food should provoke excitement, conversation and curiosity. Young attributes his love of cooking and his inspiration for being a chef to his mother, who he says is a fantastic cook. He has memories of waking up to the aroma of fresh baked breads and other delicious treats. His travels have also influenced what he brings to his cooking, “As I traveled more, I found excitement dining in different regions and uncovering new flavors. As a chef, seeing new views, flavors and techniques feels like an amusement park.” Those sentiments are what he strives to evoke in his cuisine at 1751.
The menu will continue to feature the fresh seafood that guests have come to expect from 1751. There will be mainstay dishes including the Sake Zuke (soy-cured salmon belly, nori tempura flake and creamy wasabi), and the signature 1751 Calamari (calamari with Alabama white sauce, jalapeño glaze and cilantro). However, Young wants to add his spin of bold flavors and whimsical plays on traditional techniques and classic dishes. When asked if he could tell us a little more, he teased with, “I don’t want to spoil anything, but the dishes you will enjoy with us will truly be one of a kind!” Diners won’t have to wait long, as the new menu debuts next week.
Combining his experience at high-caliber, fine-dining establishments and the lessons he has learned in how to be a part of and lead a team, Young wants to provide every guest with a unique experience. “Our next chapter with 1751 will hold the same level of integrity and standards, while making your time with us intimate,” he said. “You will feel like the party is being thrown only for you. I’m thrilled to have our amazing team’s support of my vision through this change.”
Michael Sambrooks, owner of Sambrooks Management, the company that operates 1751 Sea & Bar along with The Pit Room, The Patio at the Pit Room, Candente and upcoming steakhouse, Andiron, is looking forward to things to come. “Matt is a great guy and a fantastic chef,” Sambrooks said via press release. “We couldn’t be more excited about giving him the opportunity to showcase his food at 1751. He’s got great energy and is the perfect person to lead this next chapter.”