Salt & Pepper is set to reopen with a new face in the kitchen. (Astrid Riecken/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

“Basically,” says co-owner Robert Golfman, “we weren’t making our numbers.” He adds, “The neighbors were telling us something.” Such as? “They weren’t comfortable with what it was.”

Nate and Lindsey Auchter, the husband-and-wife team that oversaw the kitchen and dining room, respectively, did not respond to repeated inquiries about their plans. Posts on Lindsey Auchter’s Facebook page suggest that the couple may have moved to California this month.

Aside from some minor touchups, Salt & Pepper will keep the gray-and-black look it launched with, says Golfman, who also co-owns the Asian-themed Bambu nearby.

Braitsch, 37, who last cooked at Iron Bridge Wine Company in Warrenton and counts time at Salt in Baltimore, will not be frying chicken or making meatloaf, as his predecessor did.

The incoming chef’s menu — scallop sashimi with a ginger-lime emulsion, poutine rethought with duck confit, star-anise beef short ribs with Yukon Gold roesti — reads more worldly, albeit priced to please: “Nothing over $25,” pledges the chef, who also plans to serve a cheesesteak, upgraded from the standard issue with blue cheese and bordelaise.