Poached Prime

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Hard to see what dry-aged prime steak and hand-thrown pizzas have in common, but there must be something. Maybe pizzerias are customizing steak house iceberg lettuce wedges with bone-in pepperoni. No matter. Tristan Simon has poached former Dallas Pappas Bros. Steakhouse GM Judd Fruia to shepherd the expansion of Consilient Restaurant's Fireside Pies, which is spreading from Henderson Avenue to Oak Lawn Avenue, the Shops at Legacy in Plano and somewhere in Grapevine. Simon says he expects to open up to five Pies locations in Dallas-Fort Worth over the next 24 months before he turns his gaze to Austin and Houston. This move follows the poaching of chef Michael Morabito from the Hotel Crescent Court to head the kitchen at Consilient's Porch, which will serve Southern twisted-tavern cuisine when it opens in April.

Fusion--Asian, global, Latin--was once a chic culinary expression. But like "synergy," fusion has been bled of its punch, bludgeoned into grogginess from too much word-buzzing. Now it's derided: confusion, collision and disorder are among the mockeries. Kitchen 1924 may herald new culinary expression. "It's a true generic kitchen concept," says Shawn Horne, "just straightforward food done in its truest form." That means fresh vegetables in a little butter and garlic, whole roasted fish, roasted and fried chicken and grilled meats with uncomplicated seasonings (hasn't Luby's already done this?). Horne, whose record includes roles at Star Canyon, Green Room, Abacus, Ferré and York Street, is utilizing a $250,000 investment to transform the former La Dolce Vita space in Lakewood into a community dining hall with four long tables seating 80. Diners can eat lunch, dinner and a hangover brunch between noon and 6 p.m. on Sunday plus a happy hour at a moniker-relevant 19:24 hours, or 7:24 p.m. Edward Mendoza, formerly of Hotel St. Germain and Lola, will be the generic chef...Is it us, or is Joe Palladino a Tristan Simon Mini-Me? Simon opens the private club Sense fed from Cuba Libre and Hibiscus guests. Palladino opens Medici fed from Nick & Sam's and Il Mulino guests. Simon opens Fireside Pies; Palladino is opening a pizzeria/wine bar next month in the former Margaux space below Medici. Fine. But is there any truth to the rumor that Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon might acquire Nick & Sam's? "That's what I hear," Palladino says. "I know they've been lookin' at our place a lot, because we're doing $9 million out of there, you know?" Still, he says it's only a rumor, just like the one we heard that Palladino plans to open a tavern called Front Stoop.

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