Kitchen LTO's Device

Pop-up dining may be a fine enough pull, but only great food will keep the diners returning

Entrees are as mixed as the appetizers, with some delivering an interesting twist on a classic and others presenting problems that are difficult to forgive. A crisp-skinned branzino is easy to love, especially since the flesh of each fillet is still moist. They're sitting on a salad of tomatoes as crisp as apples, that somehow still sing. Too bad they didn't offer a note to that caprese.

A snapper fillet is cooked just as well, as is a juicy breast of chicken. They both wear crunchy skin that's powerfully salty but balanced by the rest of the dish. The potatoes served with the snapper were underdone, though. They were diced the size of sugar cubes, with almost as much crunch.

A filet mignon requested medium rare was delivered just past medium, and braised lamb served with fava beans and asparagus tasted like it hadn't been salted at all. These types of errors are often associated with newly opened restaurants and less in restaurants with entrees that approach $30, as they sometimes do here. But by the time chef Grimm works out all the kinks he may no longer be in the kitchen, and the next chef will be in charge, presumably ironing out his or her own wrinkles.

The snapper is wonderfully salty and balanced.
Catherine Downes
The snapper is wonderfully salty and balanced.
Wash it down with the Claret Sour.
Catherine Downes
Wash it down with the Claret Sour.


Kitchen LTO

3011 Gulden Lane, Suite 108, 214-377-0757, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5-10 p.m. Monday–Thursday, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5-11 p.m. Friday, 5-11 p.m. Saturday. $$$$

Pork belly $13

Tuna tartare $16

Crab salad $13

Chicken $19

Branzino $26

Until then you can soothe yourself with the LTOMG, but only if you're craving something tooth-achingly sweet. The dessert arrives like a chocolate softball that's unlocked when a waiter drizzles melted chocolate over the top. The heat melts the dome, revealing apples and nuts inside. You might picture a birthday party magician yelling out "tada!" and waving jazz hands after it unfolds. It tastes just as saccharine.

It's the sweet and showy nature that can leave you with a bad taste. Something is lost when underground dining goes mainstream, just like punk rock lyrics lose their punch when sung by a classically trained vocalist. Instead of recreating the grit and mystery of a true pop-up, the Twitter-covered chef competitions, dueling designers and flashing marquee of LTO taste like a bad spin on reality TV. My dining companion put it much more succinctly one evening with a whisper across the back of her hand: "This is such a gimmick." She's right — one with a never-ending curtain call.

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"...just like punk rock lyrics lose their punch when sung by a classically trained vocalist."

Classically trained vocalists are ruining all my favorite punk songs. I HATE it when that happens!!!