“This is definitely the next chapter,” says chef Kent Rathbun inside his new Dallas restaurant Imoto a week before it opened.
The well-known Dallas chef has worked in restaurants all over Dallas and its suburbs, most notably at Abacus, the Uptown Dallas restaurant with which he’s no longer affiliated.
And while Tracy Rathbun, Kent’s wife, has been operating Shinsei and Lovers Seafood & Market over the years, Kent hasn’t had his own restaurant kitchen — one where diners can see him working the room and chatting in his friendly, chef-boss way — since his split with Abacus, Jasper’s, Hickory and Whitetail Bistro at DFW Airport. (The lawsuit involving Kent and parent company H2R Restaurant Holdings was settled in early 2018, Dallas County records show.)
“This is a longtime dream for me to have a restaurant like this,” Kent says. The Rathbuns eat Asian food more than any other cuisine, they say, and both have traveled to Asia. Fans of Shinsei might find a few similarities with Imoto, but the Rathbuns are quick to correct that this isn’t a copy of another restaurant.
Imoto opens Friday, June 15, in a neighborhood the Rathbuns think is an interesting new option for Dallas diners.