Tasting notes

Posted on 21 Oct 2016 at 8:05am

Kitchen LTO returns, and The Mansion on Turtle Creek has a new exec chef

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AHI? A-HA! | An assortment of poke bowls — a popular street food in Hawaii but unusual for North Texas — makes at appearance on the new menu at Oak Lawn’s TJ’s Seafood.

Kitchen LTO is officially back. After closing at its Trinity Groves location earlier this summer, owner Casie Caldwell launched a crowdfunding campaign to have the culinary laboratory return. She’s raised the necessary money, and so the new Deep Ellum version of Kitchen LTO opens Tuesday. The executive chef — who will serve a six month stint — will be Josh Harmon, who has worked at Fort Worth’s Grace and Dallas’ Savor. The restaurant, as before, will also highlight a featured artist, this time contemporary oil painter Melissa Ellis, who will curate Gallery LTO. Among the plates will be a crispy poached egg, Korean sticky duck leg and fried garlic chicken.

It’s been a number of months since The Mansion on Turtle Creek lost Bruno Davillon as its exec chef. Now, Tom Parlo has taken over the famed kitchen where John Tesar and Dean Fearing have also reigned. He will begin reviewing and revising the menus starting in November. Parlo was most recently at the Hotel Granduca in Austin.

Owner Jon Alexis describes his two TJ’s Seafood locations — one on Oak Lawn, one in Preston Hollow — as, respectively, “a seafood market that also has a dining room” and “a seafood restaurant that also sells fish.” But both locales are featuring something you don’t often find in North Texas: Poke (pronounced po-kay). A classic Hawaiian dish, poke is not the same as sushi or ceviche, but it’s own creation — raw seafood (traditionally ahi tuna, but also salmon and shrimp) mixed together with sauces and other items to create a hearty fish bowl that works well as an appetizer and as an entree. The versions offered by TJ’s, Alexis hopes, will introduce Texas palates to a respected culinary tradition usually found only on the Islands and the West Coast. Here’s to being at the cutting edge of a foodie trend!

Candace Nelson, founder and pastry chef of the iconic 10-year-old cupcake brand Sprinkles, will be in Dallas Nov. 3 signing copies of The Sprinkles Baking Book, at the Preston Road/ Northwest Highway location. The public is welcome to get a personalized copy of the book ($26) between 4 and 6 p.m.

Street’s Fine Chicken in the gayborhood has introduced new items to its menu, effective this week. I sampled the meatloaf in sweet glaze with a hint of Srirachia, but there’s also a chicken pot pie, shrimp and grits and new signature burger, in addition to already-favorite fried pimento cheese balls.

The Grape is one of the longest-standing restaurants in Dallas history — it’s been in operation, no lie, since 1972. Owners Brian and Courtney Luscher will celebrate the iconic French-inspired bistro’s 44th anniversary from Oct. 24–29 with a week of events, including burger night (Oct. 24), a Whistle Pig Whiskey Dinner (Oct. 25) and one-third off all bottles of wine on the official b-day, Oct. 26, then chef’s tasting menus on the 28th and 29th.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

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