Seco Moran, owner of and chef of Seco's Latin Cuisine (2546 Nottingham, 713-942-0001), has definitely worked his way up in the business. After moving to Houston from El Salvador in 1980, he worked as a busboy, waiter, line cook, chef and, finally, head chef at Jalapeños. When Jalapeños closed in 2006, Moran bought Cafe Europa near the Village, and for a while, he didn't alter anything. But he recently changed the name to Seco's, created a new Latin menu and livened up the decor. Owning his own business has presented its challenges. "It's much harder owning your own place, because you're the only one there and everything is your responsibility," says Seco. "At Jalapeño's, I was there when it opened until it closed 18 years later, but there was always someone else in charge."
Seco's new menu is interesting and eclectic: There's dishes like seafood tacos; fish soup; fresh fish topped with chimichurri sauce; chicken with capers, prunes and brown sugar; fajitas; and a pasta of the day. And the Sunday brunch is already famous. "It's the best deal in town; at least that's what the other paper says," says Seco (what other paper?). "We have 20 items from our menu in an all-u-can-eat style for $12.99. Maybe I should raise the price." All we can say is, hurry up and get over there.