Just a few short days ago chef Michael Ehlert was named as the new executive chef at CampO Modern Country Bistro in Oak Cliff. Ehlert was formerly at The Chesterfield where he was met with rave reviews across all lines of Dallas media including the Dallas Morning News.
Prior experience includes professional training at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and as the prestigious executive sous-chef at Daniel Boulud’s DBGB Kitchen and Bar in New York.
Dallas has only witnessed a short side of Ehlert’s capabilities and should soon see a truer vision of what the chef is capable of executing.
We spoke with both Ehlert and CampO partner John Paul Valverde this weekend. When asked about the decision of adding Ehlert Valverde said, “ we are excited about the vision that Michael has. His style fits more in with what we had planned for the restaurant.”
Ehlert stated that the new post made sense because of the commonality with owners Valverde and Miguel Vicéns, they all hold the same sensibilities with approach to the cuisine. “The places I have been happiest has been because of the understanding of ideas from the top all the way down. These guys are really excited.”
Valverde stated that there would not necessarily be any immediate changes to the menu but Ehlert would be integrating some of his own cuisine as daily specials.
Ehlert was vehement about keeping much of the elements found today in the menu when changes are made. However stated that, “One thing we will be doing immediately is bringing new desserts to the menu. We have already started that this weekend. I saw a lot of strawberries in the market lately, so we’ve got strawberry short cake on tonight. Strawberries macerated in a little sugar, lime juice and Prosecco with a Chantilly cream served on a cream scone. We just want to keep it fresh and seasonal.”
Ehlert was excited about working with local farmers and ranchers with many of the relationships that have already been in place. One such farmer showed up at CampO’s back door with a load of fresh baby squash that were still warm from the field, some still sporting blossoms.
“We have some early white corn that we will be turning into a soup this week.”
On the style of cuisine served at CampO Ehlert said, “I like the country aspect of the cuisine, but I also like the fact that it is refined.”
When asked about the staff Ehlert said that he was happy that they knew how to have fun, but also could bust it out when needed. Ehlert was pleased with his new kitchen and that it was well thought out by a working chef and how the food would be cooked and plated.
There will be a few special dishes this week that you can watch out for including a whole fish that will be prepared with a salt crust and served for two.
Look for a 7-course dinner on Wednesday, May 9th by Cedars Social Chef Kyle McClelland and paired with cocktails by Cedar’s bar staff in a whole restaurant take-over. The menu for the evening will be spirited and includes Oysters, Foie Torchon, Live Diver Scallops, Pan Roasted Alaskan Halibut, Beef Two Ways, Artisan Cheese and Strawberry Cremeux. Cost is $65 per person, exclusive of beverages, tax and gratuity. Jules Pagan of the Cedars Social joins the Campo team behind the bar to showcase hand-crafted cocktails to complement each course for $30 per person. The bar will open at 6pm with dinner being served at 7pm.