When I first saw the restaurant, on a bland block of Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard, it actually glowed in the winter gloom. The shoebox-shaped space is simple but uncommonly chic, and the subdued dining room directs all eyes to the brightly lit kitchen, framed by a proscenium-like filigree screen, where chef-owner Daniel Mondok stands center stage, in starched white, positioned to make sure everything in his little kingdom is exactly the way he wants it.
In a world where restaurants are “concepts” and super-chefs clone themselves from Las Vegas to Dubai, Sel Gris is something very different: one skilled, imaginative artist expressing himself in the medium of food at one moment in time. Mondok, who headed the kitchens at Carlyle and Olea locally before opening Sel Gris last September, works with the big stove on his right, a stainless steel table in front of him. With a quietly purposeful kitchen crew behind him, he cooks. And every dish that leaves the kitchen lands on Mondok’s work station first. He eyes every one, adds the finishing touches—a few meticulously selected sprigs of thyme, a squirt of sauce, a sprinkle of sea salt—and then, when he’s proud of it, he sends it to the table.
read the rest of the article here: WWeek.com.