By Patty Kane
Visit International Signature Bistro and see what “around the world” fine dining in the Bay Area is all about. Located at 1918 NASA Parkway in Seabrook, the quaint bistro has a new look, new owners, new menu and a spirit of international influence. You’ll be delighted at the changes and find the owners are hands on with every detail from the décor to the food preparation and presentation.
New owners Lewis Keim and his wife, Maritza have both traveled and lived all over the world. Lewis has traveled to some 40 countries as a mechanical engineer and over the years has sampled many great foods along the way. Maritza grew up in Venezuela and has also traveled the world after marrying Lewis 34 years ago. She earned a bachelor’s degree at South Western Medical School and went on to earn a Master’s in Gerontology at the University of Houston. Her Latin roots and Lewis’ love of international dining is the guiding light on the Bistro’s menu. Lewis and Maritza believe that variety is “the spice of life” and want to offer Bay Area diners something different from the usual steak and seafood places. They are constantly working to refine the menu and offer new and exciting cuisine.
When asked why they entered the restaurant business, Maritza and Lewis respond that there are a number of reasons but the most important is “the fun of sharing the food we have experienced with our customers.” As Lewis says, “Our food is an eclectic mix of international recipes but our menu also offers more traditional selections for those not in the mood for a culinary adventure. Our menu is not just about taste and quality ingredients but also about adding a dash of the unexpected to expand the dining experience. We want our customers to leave with a sense that they have treated themselves to a special event and will come back wanting more!”
The restaurant is so inviting and has the unusual mix of casual, cozy and elegant atmosphere, all at the same time. The expansive bar is perfect for a cocktail with friends.The indoor dining room is intimate and relaxing with white table cloths. For more casual dining the outdoor garden patio is surrounded by lovely plants and vines where you can enjoy of the Bistro’s famous martinis, a fine glass of wine or have something special to eat.
It’s called International Signature Bistro because you can travel through a world of taste with the menu as your guide. The use of the highest quality ingredients result in some of the best flavor experiences in the area. The Costa Rican Shrimp Cocktail is a visual as well as a flavorful delight. Guests have been known to cross the dining room just to take a photo of it because the presentation is so impressive. Want to try something new? Try the homemade Argentinean Sausage with fried yucca, served with a Venezuelan avocado sauce, accented with habanero, called Guasacaca. For lunch, try the Venezuelan Ab Arepa corn meal sandwich, or perhaps grandma’s Ukrainian Stuffed Cabbage. In the evening the Gibraltar Lamb Shank is a delight… Maritza’s Seafood Paella, featured on the party menu, is a dish you must try for your next special occasion.
Of course there are more traditional selections such as Crab Cakes, Whiskey Crab Soup, Eggplant Parmesan, lamb chops, a variety of seafood, steaks and so much more. There are some interesting stories behind so many of the dishes, so be sure and ask.
To complete your dining experience Lewis and Maritza have an extensive wine list to please any palate. The wines represent an international flair and can compete with any wine list in the area. New selections from around the world are always being added to the selection.
The bar is turned into the “worlds best family friendly pancake bar.” The omelets are huge and the French toast is magnificent. The chicken fried sirloin topped with two fried eggs will satisfy the hardiest eater. There are Bottomless Mimosas and Bloody Marys, making the International Signature Bistro Sunday Brunch the best in the area!
Great food is not the only attraction at the Bistro. Live entertainment is available most nights. Locally known singer David Schwope is a regular, as is Brittney Valdez of American Idol fame. Tuesday is open mic night and features locally talented artists. The performers vary, so call the Bistro or go online to see what’s happening.
New Things Coming
Be on the lookout for some new menu items such as Colossal Mussels in either a lemon butter sauce or a red wine tomato reduction. The Bistro’s own version of Chicken Parmesan will also be on the menu soon. A new bar item from Nigeria will make an appearance this summer. It’s called Suya, a beef or chicken sauté, coated with ground peanuts and a special spice rub. A Portuguese favorite, Carne de Pedra will also be available soon. Microbrewery tap beers will arrive this month.
“Cigar Sunday” featuring hand rolled cigars, provided by local cigar purveyors, and parings with some very exclusive liquors is a new feature for the patio beginning soon.
The difference between a good meal and a great meal is as easy as deciding to go on a dining adventure at International Signature Bistro. As they say in Latin America….. buen apetito!
Call the International Signature Bistro at 281-474-4455 for reservations. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday, brunch and dinner on Sundays.