Kaitlin Steets.

For Kaitlin Steets, a major star on the rise in the Houston culinary world, the spotlight is about to shine more brightly.

The current chef de cuisine at Justin Yu's Theodore Rex, and 2020 James Beard semifinalist for Rising Star Chef, will launch a tasting-menu restaurant called Littlefoot at the very space she cooks today, 1302 Nance St, running from February 13 to April. Theodore Rex will take a three-month sabbatical as Steets shows off her skills in her first solo enterprise.

"It’s always been a dream of mine to run my own restaurant," says Steets in a press release. “I'm lucky that I get to do my first solo work in a kitchen and a restaurant that I feel so comfortable in."

Littlefoot promises to be a very modern restaurant in that it'll tell the story of a female chef coming of age during a fraught period of world history. Steets, whose experience also includes two years as chef de partie at Yu's Oxheart, aims to present two menus—omnivore and vegetable—influenced by French Nouveau cuisine, but still wholly in her voice.

Roast quail with green chartreuse, plus charred and braised fennel.

Buyer and sommelier Justin Vann will lead in pairing wines to match the items.

Brittany Turcotte of Larder Lover, whose design work includes Nancy's Hustle and Tiny Champions, will oversee a small alteration of the Theodore Rex dining room to create Littlefoot. Steets's Littlefoot will be open from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday–Monday starting February 13. It'll turn back over to Theodore Rex in May with an updated menu and dining room.

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