First Look

A First Look at Kitchen LTO, the New (and Temporary) Restaurant in Trinity Groves (Photos)

You all have seen me write a lot about Kitchen LTO and the upcoming exciting stuff going on in the Trinity Groves area. I think there's a lot of opportunity there for refreshing restaurant concepts, great shops and an entirely new area to explore in our city.

But a lot of the concepts thus far are just that. Until they're built in, fired up and churning out plates of dishes to paying customers on the regular, they're just smoke and mirrors. It's putting fork to plate that matters. That's why I was excited to see Kitchen LTO last night, the first of many highly anticipated restaurants to open in Trinity Groves.

Kitchen LTO (which stands for Limited Time Offer) was created by Casie Caldwell, owner of the Greenz Salads chain, wherein the chef, menu and decor of the place changes thrice per year. So it's always a hot new spot for something different. It's a really cool concept with tons of built-in challenges.

This first iteration of Kitchen LTO opened officially on September 11, and seems to be scooting along pretty well thus far. During dinner we witnessed a few waiter slip-ups, from our server not knowing exactly what came stuffed in the arrancini (hint: it's pork and beef, though it doesn't say anything about meat on the menu), to being presented with a delicious pair of entrees ... meant for a different couple. Typical stuff for being open less than a week. Luckily, the plate mistake was caught in time.

We started off with a chilled potato and leek vichyssoise, and for our mains ordered the chicken ($19) and the lamb ($28). The crispy skin Vital Farms chicken was served with tabbouleh, eggplant "caviar" (which was less caviar than tasty, stewed eggplant and tomato - let's not get too fancy) and Moroccan jus. I was impressed with the braised lamb with meaty chanterelle mushrooms, fava beans, asparagus and a natural jus. I was told the lamb isn't always braised, that they get different parts of the animal and prepare it accordingly, so apparently this was my lucky day.

We finished with the LTOMG Chocolate Dome with seasonal filling from the "treats" menu section ($10). Because how could you not order one of the Chocolate-Dishes-of-Dallas-that-has-OMG-in-the-name? It delivered, and thus was gone in roughly 32 seconds.

Since half the fun of Kitchen LTO is the design team (this round it's John Paul Valverde and Miguel Vicens), I expected to find some solid eye candy walking in. What you cannot miss is the bent wood, modern tree-like installation in the middle of the dining room. Otherwise, simple decor included bold colors on walls and canvasses, and a row of handsome white drum light fixtures with gold interiors hanging over the bar. Also of note is the beautiful outdoor space that I'm certain will be used more and more as the temperature eases down out of the "hot-as-hell" range.

But remember, in a few months the chef and design team at Kitchen LTO will change. So if you want to check out this version, I'd get on that. According to the website there are only 105 days left ...

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