Tuesday, Feb. 13, was a big day for downtown Dallas bar The Mitchell. It received a glowing review from the Observer for the quality of its French bistro food, prepared under the supervision of executive chef Nick Amoriello.
But it was also Amoriello’s last day with the restaurant. The departure had been in the works for weeks behind the scenes; its timing on the same day as a review was a bizarre coincidence.
“Due to irreconcilable differences in business practices, I am no longer the executive chef/culinary director of the Buffalo and Hare Development Group," Amoriello said in a statement sent to the Observer and posted on his Facebook page Tuesday evening. "I wish the best for the kitchen team I developed, but can no longer guarantee the food will be held to my standards and expectations.”
Amoriello told the Observer that the day of the review was also the day his departure was finalized.
“This has been an ongoing and stressful past three weeks concerning the way the business was run, from financials to service expectations and everything in between," he said.
The Mitchell owner Adam Salazar confirmed the chef change. “[Amoriello] hasn’t been with us for about three or four weeks now,” he said.
The Observer review visits took place Jan. 24 and Feb. 1; we spotted Amoriello on the first visit but not on the second.
“We just kind of finalized it with him today,” Salazar said. “I don’t want to get into any matters or anything like that. We stand by the guys that are in there that are doing the day-to-day stuff.
“We’ve always had a French bistro-style menu; Nick put his thought into it and added to it," Salazar said.
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Under Amoriello, The Mitchell’s food became some of the most exciting — yet affordable — French cuisine in Dallas. Steak frites come topped with a pat of bone marrow butter, and a generous portion of mussels is served in the Dutch oven with a broth of cava, butter and garlic.
Amoriello isn’t sure what he plans to cook next. “I would like to continue my passion of bringing French cuisine to Dallas, from my roots of training at Le Bec-Fin in Philadelphia," he told the Observer.
As for The Mitchell, it has plans for a modest makeover with new furnishings and fresh paint. But don’t expect the food to change. Marshall Cole, longtime chef de cuisine under Amoriello, is taking over the top job.
“It’s the same menu,” Salazar said. “We hope to keep doing what we’re doing.”