1751 Sea and Bar has taken over the old Starfish spot.
Tom Yum hot pot (Photo by Shannon O’Hara)
Absinthe service (Photo by Shannon O’Hara)
1751 Sea and Bar executive chef J.D. Woodward. (Shannon O'Hara Photography)
Seafood display (Photo by Shannon O’Hara)
Simply grilled fish (Photo by Shannon O’Hara)
Storm's End (Photo by Shannon O’Hara)
1751 Bar (Photo by Shannon O’Hara)
Charcuterie (Photo by Shannon O’Hara)
Hot chicken karrage (Photo by Shannon O’Hara)
Rohan duck (Photo by Shannon O’Hara)
Iced tower (Photo by Shannon O’Hara)
What’s in a name? In the case of 1751 Sea and Bar, it’s an homage to the Gin Act of 1751 imposed by Great Britain on the colonies to curb the sale and consumption of alcohol — with an emphasis on the word gin.
Sambrooks Management Company owner and operator Michael Sambrooks (The Pit Room) runs 1751 Sea and Bar in the former Star Fish space on Heights Boulevard, which he purchased along with nearby Lee’s (now Sam’s) Fried Chicken & Donuts and Pi Pizza from defunct Cherry Pie Hospitality. He brought along executive chef J.D. Woodward (Stella Sola, Underbelly) to oversee the menu, as well as Iron Horse Builders and designers Stacy Andell and Matthew Mitchell Architecture to remodel the space.
They had good bones to work with. The clapboard pitched ceiling in the main dining room has been refashioned in a palette of black and white, while a massive marble-topped, black-and-brass backlit bar displays more than 140 varieties of gin. The herbaceous elixir is a mainstay on the cocktail menu, from martinis to classic G&Ts — but that’s only the half of it.
Whether you settle down at the communal table or reserve a seat for dinner in the main dining room, start with oysters on ice, or splurge on a tower of oysters, lobster salad, king crab, shrimp cocktail, and more ($95). Don’t miss the unctuous Ultra yellowfin tuna — only 2 to 3 percent of all tuna caught can claim the name — crudo, four slices bathed in a light emulsion of soy, citrus juices and sliced jalapeño (limited availability; $18).
Dining with a crowd? The smoked, cured, and preserved 1751 charcuterie board puts a seafood-centered spin on the perfect sharing concept ($60).
GM Adrian Cuneo is the writer of the wine list, which is competitively priced at retail or just below and features both old- and new-world bottles, from Alsatian white varietals to California reds. Ask Cueno to recommend a flight that pairs well with such disparate small plates as rich-as-butter A-5 Miyazaki Wagyu beef slices ($36) or blue-crab hoe cakes, a decadent savory pancake dressed with brown butter Béarnaise sauce, jalapeño, and a copious quantity of blue crab ($18).
The hot chicken karaage — essentially Japanese fried chicken — is made with moist, dark meat and packs a lot of heat care of house-made pepper oil tamed by the miso butter rice beneath ($13). Move on to entrees and try the colossal shrimp curry, a green Thai version with Texmati rice ($26), the Cajun-spiced redfish half shell ($32), or lobster and corn ravioli with corn crème anglaise, pea shoots, and a bacon sherry vinaigrette ($32).
But save room for pastry chef Allison Theissen’s desserts, such as the Fior d’Arancio and muscadine plate with slices of rose olive-oil cake, candied walnuts and thyme ($10). It serves both a savory cheese course and a sweet, satisfying ending.
1751 Sea and Bar, 191 Heights Boulevard, Houston, 832.831.9820.