Chef Avner Samuel is somewhat of a Dallas icon, having cooked at the legendary Mansion on Turtle Creek and his fondly remembered temple of fine dining, Aurora, but the chef had somewhat fallen off the radar after abruptly shuttering Nosh on Oak Lawn back in May. Now, he's resurfaced as a menu consultant for Alberto Lombardi's restaurant group, Lombardi Family Concepts (Toulouse, Taverna, Bistro 31, et al).
Lombardi's swanky Shops at Highland Park restaurant Bistro 31 has just debuted a new menu created by Samuel — think lobster fritters, Wagyu meatball crostini and steak frites. (Bistro 31's former general manager Victor Hugo and chef Eric Brandt have gone off to open VH in Oak Cliff.)
In other Lombardi news, the restaurant group is working on some serious expansion plans: Over the next few years they plan to open Toulouse and Taverna locations in Fort Worth's University Park Village, The Domain in Austin, and Plano's upcoming Legacy West development (located at where the Dallas North and Sam Rayburn Tollways meet), plus a Toulouse and an "as yet unannounced new Italian concept" in Houston's River Oaks district.