Throughout the 15 years Cesar Alvarado has spent working at restaurants in the Greater Houston area, the focus has been on fine dining. His goal, he said, is to always be a better chef than he was the previous day.
"Every restaurant I've worked at before now has been a school," Alvarado said. "I apply everything I have learned to the food I cook today."
Dario's American Cuisine, which opened in May 2009 in Cypress, has been operating with Alvarado as the head chef for about two years. Since he came on board, the restaurant has seen its customer base grow significantly.
Alvarado said his life revolves around his culinary pursuits, and he is thankful for his kitchen team and a boss who lets him explore new cooking styles.
"The teamwork here is like no other restaurant I have ever worked at," he said. "Cooking is something we're all passionate about, and it shows in our success and what our customers tell us."
Chilean Sea Bass
"The fish comes straight from Chile and is really tender and tasty."
Bone-in rib-eye steak
"This is a good dish if you're looking for something to sink your teeth into."
The bone-in rib-eye steak comes in at 20 ounces and is served with Lyonnaise potatoes and asparagus.
The braised lamb shank is served with parmesan risotto and a creamy sherry wine sauce with wild mushrooms.
The pecan crusted red snapper is served on a bed of spinach with jumbo shrimp, burre blanc sauce, mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables.
Fedelini is a pasta dish served with jumbo lump crab meat, chives and bianco sauce.
Alvarado first became interested in the culinary arts around age 7, with motivation from his mother. He initially cooked simpler dishes such as eggs, salsa and hash browns, but through years of work as a chef in Houston—including at Tony's Mexican Restaurant and Corda—Alvarado has expanded his repertoire.
In the kitchen
Alvarado said one of his favorite things about working at Dario's is owner David Herrera gives him the ability to explore new techniques, which he said is different from restaurants he's worked at in the past. He takes feedback from customers seriously and is ready to challenge himself, he said.
Dario's American Cuisine
14315 Cypress Rosehill Road, Ste. 162, Cypress 281-304-1825 www.dariosamericancuisine.com Hours: Mon.–Thu. 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–9 p.m.