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A ½-star? Grim Dallas review of a new Fort Worth pizza-Italian restaurant irks chef

Scenes From An Italian Pop-up Restaurant (Tim Love’s Ufficio)

Fort Worth chef Tim Love launched Ufficio, a four-night Italian pop-up restaurant, at his Test Kitchen near downtown Fort Worth. We had a front-row seat to watch Love and his crew cooking. (Star-Telegram video by Robert Philpot)
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Fort Worth chef Tim Love launched Ufficio, a four-night Italian pop-up restaurant, at his Test Kitchen near downtown Fort Worth. We had a front-row seat to watch Love and his crew cooking. (Star-Telegram video by Robert Philpot)

Fort Worth celebrity chef Tim Love wasted no time Friday defending his new Italian restaurant, Gemelle, after a Dallas restaurant reviewer gave it a searing review and a half-star.

“I know how good Gemelle is and so do the 180 people who come in there every day,” Love wrote in a text message after The Dallas Morning News described it as an “Insta-worthy set piece” with bland penne, runny desserts and a venison-porchetta pizza described as a “crime against nature.”

Love has taken past searings on social media over hectic openings at his other restaurants. Gemelle drew immediate crowds when it opened May 29.

Texas Monthly described the restaurant as a “softer, lighter groove” for Love, praising the salads and the asparagus-onion-goat-cheese pizza.

When Dallas reviewer Michalene Busico came, there was an hour and a half wait for a table, she wrote.

She visited three more times and labeled her wrapup #NoLove.

On Twitter, Love posted President Theodore Roosevelt’s 1910 quote: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming ... who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Since Gemelle opened May 29, the restaurant has added a pasta of the day from the garden, breadsticks with jalapeno pesto or marinara and new crudo, he said. Ten weddings are booked in the garden-patio.

He said he has missed some time in his restuarants lately while his wife, Emilie, was having a series of surgeries. She was seriously injured when she was struck by a van Feb. 24 at the Nashville airport.

Gemelle is open for dinner nightly and lunch Friday through Sunday; 4400 White Settlement Road, 817-732-9535, gemelleftw.com.

Love also operates four other Fort Worth-area restaurants: Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Love Shack Burgers, Queenie’s Steakhouse in Denton and the Woodshed Smokehouse..

He will open a new restaurant and bar atop a new SpringHill Suites hotel in the Stockyards this fall.

In July, Love discussed his restaurants, his career and his persistent critics as a guest on the Star-Telegram Eats Beat podcast.

Fort Worth chef Tim Love launched Ufficio, a four-night Italian pop-up restaurant, at his Test Kitchen near downtown Fort Worth. We had a front-row seat to watch Love and his crew cooking. (Star-Telegram video by Robert Philpot)

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Columnist Bud Kennedy is a Fort Worth guy who covered high school football at 16 and has moved on to two Super Bowls, seven political conventions and 15 Texas Legislature sessions. Since 1985, he has also written more than 2,000 “Eats Beat” columns about Texas dining, restaurants and food.
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