Kitchen LTO — the Trinity Groves "permanent pop-up" that changes up twice a year with all new chefs, concepts and artists whose work will take over the space — has announced the next executive chef taking over the eatery on March 2: Nick Amoriello, the executive sous chef at super-hot Southern eatery (and Boulevardier sibling) Rapscallion. Amoriello was up against four other local chefs, including Dinner Lab's DJ Park and up-and-comer Jennifer Bajsel, but ultimately won this round with plans to cook up a menu of "modern regional" fare that involves "classical French technique and contemporary plating in a very approachable and comforting style," according to Kitchen LTO's announcement. That description feels a little vague, so let's look to a draft of Amoriello's proposed menu for some insight into what's coming:
Pear, Benton’s Ham, Honey, Blue Cheese
Lake Stripped Bass Crudo, Olive, Citrus, Baguette, Smoked Fingerlings
Beet Salad, Yogurt, Radish, Orange, Onion, Mustard Greens
Brandade Fritters, Cipollini Onions, Saffron, White Beans, Lemon
Venison Tartare, Quail Egg, Black Truffle Puree, Grilled Bread
Farm to Market Salad- Take a walk through my garden…
Buffalo Fried Quail, Blue Cheese Slaw, Pickled Celery, “My Ranch”
Smoked Antelope Ribs, Juniper BBQ, Parsnip, Garlic, Black Kale
Boar Belly, Sweet Potato Espelette, Brussels, Shrooms & South Carolina Broken BBQ Vinaigrette
Roasted Chicken, Pincage, Bourbon Chicken Jus
The Burger: 30 Day Dry Aged Beef, Short Rib, Sirloin, and Brisket with
Bacon Shallot Fresno Aioli, LTO, Brioche, Dirty American Cheese & Pickle
FOR THE TABLE:
Roasted Rabbit: Chestnut Puree, Roasted Root Veg, Late Winter Greens,
Smoked Carrot Rabbit Jus, Persillade
Wild Heirloom Rice and Shrooms
Smoked Sweet Potato Espelette Puree
Mac and Cheese: Cavatelli, Mimolette, Gruyere, Goat Cheese
Roasted Broccoli, Pecorino, Preserved Lemon, Purslane
”Johnny Apple Seed”: Hard Cider, Baked Apple, Sheep’s Milk Ice Cream
Brown Sugar Custard, Lime, Ginger Snap, Chantilly
Herb Saint Chocolate Brownie, Mint Ice Cream, Hemp Seed, Hot Chocolate Fudge
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If there's one thing I saw over and over (and over) last weekend at the Bonne Sante Food and Wine Showcase, it's the protein atop a purée sprinkled with microgreens, which we see on this menu in the form of roasted rabbit over a chestnut puree with late winter greens. The current trend of rustic, wild game-type proteins certainly influenced this menu of venison tartare, fried quail, smoked antelope ribs, boar belly and rabbit. If executed well, dishes like those should go over particularly well with Texans (proper Texans, anyway), but we'll see how it goes once Kitchen LTO 6.0 officially launches in March. Aside from his work at Rapscallion, Amoriello has worked at Nobu, Driftwood, Central 214 and So & So’s. Dinner service launches March 2, with lunch starting March 3 and Saturday/Sunday brunch starting March 5.
On the design side, winning artist Sarah Reiss, owner of R&R Designworks, creates "art installations and furniture pieces using salvaged and repurposed materials" like old bowling alley lanes and gym flooring. You can expect an appropriately rustic touch from her installed work at LTO.