Openings and Closings

The New Kitchen LTO Is Coming, with a California Chef, a New Look and Lots of Smoke

After Chef Eric Shelton cooks his last meal at Kitchen LTO on June 1, a new chef chosen by the people will start fresh with a brand new concept. Last week, owner Casie Caldwell held a tasting and voting party where diners could choose a winner from the five semi-finalists who were vying to take over the ever-changing spot.

The votes have been tallied, and California-based chef Brooke Egger will be packing her knives and moving to Dallas to bring her brand of "Pacific Northwest meets California cuisine with a hint of world flair" to Trinity Groves. Most recently, Egger has been operating her own catering company in California, but had previously cheffed at Sol-Food Kitchen and Village Modern Foods in Santa Barbara.

Egger's menus look like a pretty even mix of crowd-pleasers and creative dishes. At brunch, you'll find beignets served with creme Anglaise, cherimoya and honeycomb, or a Key lime lobster dish served with white chocolate vinaigrette. Egger's love of wild game is evident on both the lunch and dinner menus, with dishes like a rabbit pâté with black currant gelee and bull's blood and venison served with an emulsion of violets.

There are a surprising number of smoked elements on Egger's menu, including smoked vanilla, smoked macaroons and smoked sage cream. It will be interesting to see how Egger combines rustic ingredients with modern preparations. Egger is clearly not afraid of modernist technique, as evidenced by dishes such as her interpretation of the caprese salad -- a roasted tomato aspic, burrata ice cream and basil caviar.

You'll also find that Kitchen LTO will have an entirely different look when Egger takes over. As the chef changes, so does the interior designer. In this incarnation of Kitchen LTO, artist Patrick Antognelli will choose the artwork and other "transformable elements" to help create a look that "best matches the culinary vision of the next chef at LTO." Antognelli will be curating the space's decor from his own Bianca Antognelli Art Gallery.

Egger and Antonelli will begin their transformation of Kitchen LTO on June 2, when the restaurant will be closed for the big change-up. Egger will become the third chef to open a pop-up spot at Kitchen LTO since the concept opened just over eight months ago, and will serve up her first lunch on June 3.

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Amy McCarthy

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