Front Room Tavern (formerly The Front Room) at Hotel Lumen in Dallas, has a new name, chef, menu and design.
NL Group, in collaboration with Headington Companies, has transformed the space with warm colors and textures. Wood tabletops and chairs with industrial lighting and other elements make this an approachable and inviting neighborhood restaurant and bar. The dining room, bar and patio (seating 155 total) is comfortable and simple, yet chic. Executive Chef Michael Ehlert complements this with his whimsical take on classic dishes, but adds a few unanticipated ones as well.
For starters, there is a Chicken Liver Mousse with fig mostardo and wheat crackers and a salmon ceviche “michelada” with house-made chips. As an entrée, the Corned Beef Reuben Tartine with house russian, red cabbage and chips is a huge surprise with its artistic take grounded in the classic original dish. The Sea Scallops with grits and ham gravy is a decadent artful presentation yet still home grown and familiar with a comforting flavor that will not disappoint.
Menu items might surprise some guests. They are familiar dishes with a twist. Ehlert explains, “This is an elegant tavern concept that really showcases simple, familiar dishes but with a heart and soul as well as a story behind each and every rendition of the dish. With this menu, I wanted to make my guests happy while also having fun creating them. Even though you have seen the names of these dishes before, I want our guests to possibly come out of their comfort zone a bit and be ready for a taste and presentation that these familiar classics might not have provided them before. We are grateful and excited to deliver it in a new setting that also suits the food.”
The food menu is accompanied by a thoughtful and specialized bar program. Front Room Tavern is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.
Michael Ehlert’s passion for food began during his college career while working for well-known kitchens including Boulder Café and The Sink in Boulder, Colorado. Eventually he landed a job at the well-known Mediterranean Restaurant, working his way up from the bottom to Sous Chef. He then moved on to work at Jax Fish House, the restaurant of Top Chef Season 5 winner Hosea Rosenberg. Rosenberg influenced Ehlert to continue his training, so he attended The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, where he graduated head of his class.
After graduation, Ehlert began as poissonnier at Brasserie in New York City, working under Executive Chef Luc Dimnet where he rose to the position of Sous Chef after just one year.
Ehlert left Brasserie to become opening Sous Chef for world-renowned Chef Daniel Boulud’s DBGB Kitchen & Bar. In this position he worked closely with Executive Chef Jim Leiken to develop a well-received French brasserie meets American tavern menu. After one year, Ehlert was promoted to Executive Sous Chef.
In October 2011, Ehlert moved to Dallas and opened cocktail and food destination The Chesterfield with barman Eddie Campbell. Ehlert featured a new American menu of snacks and full dinners anchored in classical technique to compliment the hand-crafted cocktail program.
In the spring of 2012, Ehlert was hired on as Executive Chef at Campo, a charming bungalow bistro in the Oak Cliff neighborhood. Later in 2012, Ehlert was Chef de Cuisine at Hibiscus, before Tim Bevins brought him to The Front Room in 2013. The two collaborated on a new American menu. After Bevins’ departure to Austin in June 2014, Ehlert took over as Executive Chef and has continued to develop the neighborhood tavern concept.
Front Room Tavern | 6101 Hillcrest Avenue, Dallas | 214.219.8282Breakfast: Daily from 7am – 11am / Brunch: Saturday & Sunday, 11am – 3pm Lunch: Monday – Friday, 11am – 3pm Dinner: Daily from 3pm – 11pm