Anthony Dispensa is no longer executive chef of The French Room. Dispensa, a former reality TV host and line cook at two-Michelin-starred London restaurant Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, arrived at The French Room in August and debuted his redesigned menu in October.
The Adolphus Hotel confirmed the departure in a written statement:
“Chef Anthony Dispensa is no longer with The French Room. We are grateful for the contributions Anthony has made and we wish him the best in his future endeavors. The French Room has been the pinnacle of fine dining for the past several decades and we look forward to the continued success.”
An icon of downtown Dallas fine dining for decades, The French Room has undergone rapid change in recent years. Late in 2017, the restaurant re-opened after an extensive renovation and redecoration, with a new chef, Michael Ehlert, who served surprisingly stylish twists on recipes that dated all the way back to the 1800s. Ehlert departed after just 10 months and now works a few blocks away at Mirador. As his successor, Dispensa promised a more approachable experience, including, according to an interview with the Dallas Morning News, the first a la carte menu offerings in the restaurant's history.
The Morning News critic returned a few months later to discover some promising plates, but also seasonal menus that were slow to adapt and a surprising number of risottos and gels. On March 18, Dispensa and his French Room team cooked dinner at the James Beard House in New York. Dispensa's tenure ended before the Observer was able to visit.
There's currently no word on interim leadership at The French Room. The Adolphus Hotel promises updates soon.
The French Room at The Adolphus, 1321 Commerce St. (downtown Dallas)
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.