4

Hash Over

Bistro bluster
Ouch. Last week's review of The Bistro singed some nerves, and it wasn't my impressions of the food or service that inflamed temperaments, either. It was naming the names of those responsible for The Bistro's largely marginal fare.

A March 15 Bistro press release ballyhoos the restaurant's new kitchen staff. Bistro chief chef Ken Howell, former executive chef of the now-shuttered Doolittle's, is leading "a culinary team of newly hired talent." The team includes former Yellow sous chef Kerry Kelly and onetime Cafe Pacific sous chef Adam Keith, the press statement said. This brought Kelly's blood to a boil. "I don't know what's going on over there, but I don't even work there," he says. Kelly, who is now chef at the Thomas Avenue Beverage Company, says he bailed from The Bistro in early March. "They really kind of screwed me over there," he snaps. "They shorted me some money. They bounced my paycheck. All kinds of crap."

Not only that, but he says Howell was never executive chef at Doolittle's. Kelly was. A check with former Doolittle's management confirms this: Howell was indeed a chef there, but never executive chef. Plus, Kelly says, Keith hasn't been at The Bistro since early February. So what the hell is going on here? Bistro manager Zenon Oprysk, onetime operator of the Tiburon Bar on Greenville Avenue, insists Howell was Doolittle's executive chef. He says Kelly's tirade is the bluster of a disgruntled former employee.

Yet strangely, Oprysk doesn't dispute that the touted culinary team was largely disassembled by the time the press release was issued. Oprysk adds he isn't sure why the release was sent out as is, though his records show that Kelly resigned March 17 and that he was immediately issued a replacement for the alleged bounced check. Kelly claims that Oprysk is simply dropping names and embellishing resumes in an attempt to give his struggling kitchen credibility. That may be. It appears this isn't the first Bistro fib. Back in January, Dallas Morning News reviewer Teresa Gubbins pegged Bram Browder, onetime managing partner of the kaput Cedar Street bar, as The Bistro's headwaiter, a reported career change that steamed Browder. "There is still some mystery as to how that one came up," Oprysk says. "As near as I can figure, perhaps at some point in the conversation [with Gubbins]...it could be that something was said that came across as, yes, Bram was the headwaiter."

As near as I can figure, The Bistro has a new signature dish: smoke.

--Mark Stuertz

E-mail Dish at markstz@flash.net.

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