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January 2003

Brazilian bombshell. Yet another Brazilian steakhouse has come to town at Perimeter in the former Canyon Café location. The Gilberston family has opened Fire of Brazil, with 15 kinds of meats and 200 seats | Sala Sabor de Mexico from Fifth Group Restaurants (Food Studio, South City Kitchen) is open in the space formerly occupied by the landmark Camille's in Virginia-Highlands. Niles Bolton & Associates revamped the space. Johnson & Wales graduate Nestor Gomez heads the kitchen, offering red and black moles. At Food Studio, Chip Ulbrich is now executive chef serving American regional cuisine in the King Plow Arts Center | Bombazo, a new Midtown eatery from chef/owner Lucero Martinez-Obregon (Orange, Scarlett's), is coming to Juniper Street | Further along Juniper Street, Cavu celebrates its first anniversary with a new chef, Michael Schorn (ex-Thymes II, American Bistro Brothers, Canoe) | Cino Grille on Roswell Road in Marietta has become Pacific & Vine, with a Napa Valley theme by owner Tim Ruys | Cajuns in Buckhead? The new Alexan Building at Grandview and Pharr Road is the location of Tib's Grill, a Louisiana restaurant from AFC Enterprises. The executive chef is R. L. Holmes, who has moved to Atlanta from New Orleans to head Tib's kitchen. Randy Brashier is general manager | Tom Tom in Lenox Square has closed.


'Round the clock. Jamie Giorgio, Frank DePasquale, and Lou Delpidio have transformed their Blue Diner into News 24/7, an urban answer to the 24-hour truck stop. Executive chef is Victor Paone (ex-Trattoria il Panino). There are dining areas and lounges with televisions tuned to CNN and other news channels. A retail area carries newspapers, aspirin, cigarettes, and lottery tickets | Upstairs on the Square has opened with Scott Olson as executive chef, Amanda Lydon as chef de cuisine, Dina Sonnenshein as pastry chef, and Lorenzo Savona as general manager and wine director | Andy and Gretchen Husbands (Tremont 647, Sister Sores) have joined forces with Peter White to open Rouge, a 60-seat bistro with Southern-inspired American food. Sal Fristensky (ex-Federalist, Commander's Palace) is chef | Finale dessert restaurant opens a second location in the Dunster Street space that was Ma Soba | Noir, a new bar at the Charles Hotel, is owned by Michela Larson, Gary Sullivan, Jody Adams, and Karen Haskell of the Sapphire Restaurant Group | Skipjack's has closed in Brookline Village but is opening a new location in Natick | The owners of Naked Fish have opened Red Sauce on Arsenal Street in Watertown. The name suggests the menu is family-friendly Italian food | Macondo restaurant in Somerville has closed. Chef/owner Paul Sussman (ex-Daddy's) built his menu around the Latin-American cooking he learned from his mother | Reversing the usual order, the wine is chosen before the food at the new Meritage restaurant in the Boston Harbor Hotel. Daniel Bruce's menu is organized by types of wine, with complementary menu items | Krista Kranyak is transforming Perdix restaurant on Centre Street in Jamaica Plain into Ten Tables. Chef Tim Weichmann trained in France and most recently worked at Lumière in West Newton | Samir Majmudar (Tanjore, Rangoli, Bombay Bistro) has opened Bhindi Bazaar on Massachusetts Avenue in Back Bay.


Sweet beginnings. Chicago has the second-largest population of Mexican immigrants of any U.S. city. Now it has Bombón, an upscale Mexican bakery in the Pilsen neighborhood. Partners Luis Perea and Laura Cid-Pfeiffer, both from Mexico City, had been co-workers at Frontera Grill and Topolobampo. "In Mexico, the bakeries are very European, with French and Austrian influences, and so we have European and Mexican specialties," says Cid-Pfeiffer, who said the pair also plan to open a Mexican candy shop | And if that story isn't sweet enough, Sugar, a dessert bar, has opened in River North, with one critic calling the place a "chocolate-covered gold mine." Pastry chef Christine McCabe Tentori (Charlie Trotter's) offers nearly two dozen desserts to go with such drinks as MacDeth by Chocolate, Marquis de Sucre, and Banana Karenina | The new executive chef at Marché is Mickael Blais. The Frenchman honed his skills in Paris at the Ritz and Hôtel de Crillon before moving to New York to become executive sous-chef at Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro and then Montrachet. Blais will feature such signature dishes as braised beef cheeks and mushroom tarte | Susannah Walker has been promoted from sous-chef to executive chef at MOD in Wicker Park. British-born Walker previously worked at Wildwood in Portland, Oregon, and at Star Canyon in Dallas. Also new to MOD is pastry chef Bryan Colvig (ex-Aqua in San Francisco) | World cuisine is the theme at the new Ohba on West Division Street. Gene Kato (ex-Upstream in Charleston, South Carolina) is offering a far-reaching menu, drawing from Asian, French, Southern, and contemporary American cuisines | New to the Rush Street nightclub scene is Domaine, a two-story "estate" with ornate interiors reminiscent of 18th-century France. International wines, fruit smoothies, and fresh-squeezed juices are served with hors d'oeuvre by Greg Lutes (ex-Courtwright's), including his Ménage à Foie, a threesome of foie gras preparations | John Coletta (ex-Caliterra) has joined the Carlucci restaurant group to open a restaurant in Downers Grove this spring, and possibly another near downtown. Coletta is currently working at the group's suburban Rosemont restaurant.





Out with the old, in with the new. La Tante Claire has terminated its relationship with the Berkeley Hotel and closed. No news yet whether the restaurant will reopen in another location | Vong, also in the Berkeley Hotel, is set to undergo a refurbishment and will reopen with a new food-centered concept, similar to Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Market restaurant in Paris | Marcus Wareing (Pétrus) will consult on Savoy Grill beginning this spring. The restaurant will close for refurbishment | Mon Plaisir restaurant is celebrating its 60th year and has appointed a new chef, Thierry Laborde, previously at Le Gavroche | San Frediano restaurant has closed, to be replaced by Gia, an Italian restaurant from the former owners of Formula Veneta | Marco Pierre White's Parisienne Chophouse has closed, to be replaced by Max Renzland's Chez Max | Quirinale is a new, modern Italian restaurant in Westminster near the Houses of Parliament | Fish! restaurant group has been bought back by founder Tony Allan. The restaurants will slowly be rebranded with more upscale decor and upmarket menus.



Bastide child. After three years of planning (including three months of menu tastings alone!), Alain Giraud (Citrus, Lavande) has opened Bastide (weekdays only) on Melrose Place. Donato Poto (Primi, Water Grill) is general manager, and TV commercial producer/ director Joe Pytka is backing the estimated $3.5 million project. Dinner is prix fixe only, and the wine list is exclusively French | Husband-and-wife team David and Michelle Myers have opened Sona on La Cienega Boulevard. David, formerly chef at Jaan in the Raffles L'Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills, takes care of the savory stuff, such as arctic char confit with truffled potato gnocchi, while Michelle (ex-Patina, Spago) creates such desserts as a crème catalan mille-feuille, with Mineola tangerine sorbet | Hugo Molina (ex-Parkway Grill, Hugo Molina, Crocodile Cafes) is now chef and partner at The Spanish Kitchen in La Cienega | A mainstay of the see-and-be-seen fine-dining crowd since 1978 and home to the hottest celebrity-watching in town, Le Dôme on Sunset Strip has shuttered for good | Lawry's The Prime Rib began as a roadside potato chip stand that added carved-meat sandwiches at its original Tam O'Shanter Los Feliz location. The company has gone back to those roots for its newest enterprise, Lawry's Carvery in Orange County's South Coast Plaza, offering hand-carved-to-order sandwiches | Opening chef Brooke Williamson has left Zax in Brentwood to form Company for Dinner, a catering business specializing in small dinner parties. Her partner in the venture is Nick Roberts, her former sous-chef at Zax. | After six months in the kitchen, Katsuo "Naga" Nagasawa has left Legacy in the South Bay, which owner Paul Guillemin is converting into a Northern Italian restaurant | Beard House "Recipe Showcase" illustrator Suzanne Dunaway, who's been a seven-year Southern California success story with her Buona Forchetta Italian artisan bread bakery, has sold the company to Mrs. Beasley's, supplier of gourmet muffin gift baskets to Hollywood and maker of Miss Grace Lemon Cake desserts | Jack Sprat's Grille is an informal local hangout in westside Rancho Park, but owners Bud and Donna Goldshine have moved up to open Top of the Glen in the Beverly Glen Shopping Center, featuring Southwestern-themed cuisine.



A destination weekend event, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, presented by Food & Wine Magazine, will take place in the heart of South Beach Friday, February 28, through Sunday, March 2, 2003, with three full days of spectacular tastings, a star-studded dinner series and wine, culinary and lifestyle seminars that will feature prominent figures in the international wine, spirits and culinary industries. All events are open to the public, and net proceeds will benefit the FIU School of Hospitality Management Teaching Restaurant and the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center, located at FIU-Biscayne Bay (N.E. 151 St. and Biscayne Boulevard, North Miami). Programs and Events at a glance | Ticket Information





Could it be? Rumors of Gray Kunz opening his own place have been tossed around for years, and now, five years after he left Lespinasse, one of those rumors has turned out to be true. Next fall, Kunz, alongside fellow celeb chefs such as Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Thomas Keller, is to open a place in the AOL Time Warner Center overlooking Columbus Circle. David Rockwell is designing the spot, which will serve Kunz's signature Asian-inspired fare | Hitting a high "sea". Richard Sandoval of Maya has teamed up with Plácido Domingo to open Pampano in the space that once held Domingo's. Pampano's menu will highlight the coastal cuisine of Veracruz | Alex Garcia, who made a name for himself with his Latino cooking at Erizo Latino, Calle Ocho, and Babalu, has turned his sights toward another continent entirely. Garcia has created a tapas-like menu at Midtown's Zanzibar with "tiny plates," such as spicy lamb brochettes; "small plates," such as almond-crusted chicken drummettes; and "sharing plates," like grilled steak with harissa potatoes | Rebecca Charles's popular Village seafoodery, Pearl, is finally expanding. This March the diminutive spot, which has only one table in addition to bar seating, will double in size | DeLuca without the Dean. Giorgio DeLuca, who is a partner in Dean & DeLuca, has opened a trattoria just blocks from his flagship store. Giorgione serves a casual menu of pizza and antipasti prepared by Aldo Monosi | If Greek seafood is your fancy, head to Tribeca for a meal at Thalassa, a swank new spot complete with mosaic tiles in ocean hues. The chef, Gregory Zapanti, worked at Avra and Trata. Diners can either select their own fish, which are displayed on a bed of ice and charged by the pound, or order off a menu of creative Greek specialties | Beard Maître d'Hôtel Dino Redzic has added a wine vault with more than 4,000 bottles to Amici Amore I, his restaurant in Astoria, New York | Metro Café, a wine bar featuring 100 wines by the glass, is set to open this March in the Flatiron district. The owner, Daniel Ko, was the general manager of the defunct Wall Street Kitchen & Bar and SoHo Kitchen & Bar, which both had a similar theme | Branching out from brunch. For several years the Upper West Side market Fairway has served casual breakfasts and lunches from its upstairs cafe. Now, chef Mitchel London is offering more sophisticated—and pricier—American fare for dinner | The spot that was most recently home to Sandro's has become Magnifico. The owner, Adolfo Magnifico, has enlisted the services of chef Francesco Da Lavagna | A Star is born. Smith, an East Village spot beleaguered by disputes among the owners, has been transformed into Starfoods, which serves an unusual mix of French and Texan fare—follow your frisée aux lardons with fried catfish—prepared by Shawn Knight, formerly of Duane Park Café | Shopping around. Brit expat Christopher Sell, who owns the fish-'n'-chips joint ChipShop in Park Slope, has brought another bit of home to the Brooklyn nabe. CurryShop serves the types of Pakistani curries that are ubiquitous in Sell's Birmingham hometown | Eritrean restaurant Caffe Adulis has been renamed Lamu. The new menu at this Flatiron spot will concentrate more on the flavors of the Mediterranean, a region due north of Eritrea.



New look. Georges Perrier has returned to the kitchen of Le Bec-Fin, and he spiffed up the place in preparation for his return. Gone are the Louis XVI touches. The new look is more toward late 19th century | Lacroix at the Rittenhouse, under the stewardship of Jean-Marie Lacroix (ex-Four Seasons Fountain Room), has opened in the old Treetops space | David Boyle has taken over as executive chef at Davio's, the popular Northern Italian steakhouse | David Cunningham breezed into Yardley from Petrossian in New York City to debut a new menu of contemporary American cuisine at the Yardley Inn | Belgian chef Michel Notredame has shuttered his Cuvée Notredame on Green Street and departed for parts unknown | The Happy Rooster has picked up Steve LaTona as executive chef. LaTona skipped in from Avenue B, Striped Bass, and BLT's Cobblefish | Bijou is the appropriately named new "little jewel" of a restaurant that opened in a tiny space next door to Pizzicato. The owner of both, John Duva, opened Bijou to set a new tone for Old City which, he said, was "not sufficiently upscale." Bijou specializes in luxuries such as caviar, foie gras, and fine spirits | Twenty 21 is soaring in the space that was formerly Cutters, under owners Martin Doyle, Sue Mahoney, and Mick Houston, all former Cutters employees | La Tierra Colombiana, the Colombian staple on Fifth Street, has opened an offshoot with identical food in a handsomely redesigned space at 12th and Pine | Wilson Encarnacion (Manila) has opened World Fusion in the former Rococo space. It features Polynesian, French, Mediterranean, and Spanish food prepared by Encarnacion and Ronnie Gesmundo (ex-Tio Pepe) | Francesco Martorella is gone from Neil Stein and Gabe Marabella's Avenue B. Lance Holton, who used to hang out in the open kitchen at Striped Bass, is now in charge of the kitchen.







Chocoholics, take note. Chuao Chocolatier has opened in Encinitas. The chocolatiers are Michael Antonorsi and Brian Vandenbroucke, who met while studying at Lenôtre in Paris. All the chocolate used in the shop is made from cacao beans from the Chuao region of central Venezuela | G5 has opened in the Gaslamp in the former Roger's on Fifth location. The chef is Jose Kelly, who favors center-cut prime Angus beef | There is more beef in the Gaslamp with the opening of steak-and-seafood restaurant Seven 17 under chef Ron Barkston. Looks like steakhouses will soon outnumber the Italian eateries in this section of downtown | Landmark Hotel Del Coronado has introduced an entire new culinary team. Michael Quigley has left the Prince of Wales Room, to be replaced by Jesse Frost, formerly of El Bizcocho at the Rancho Bernardo Inn. Vincent Russo is the new chef at Sheerwater, the hotel's casual dining venue.



Lotsa looks. Beaucoup has opened on California Street. It's a gem, with its ultra-sexy Moulin Rouge look. Bruno Davaillon (ex-St. Regis in Los Angeles) is executive chef | Over in Marin, Steve Lande, who was general manager and sommelier at The Ritz-Carlton, replaces Michael Judge as GM at Roxanne's, the revolutionary raw-food restaurant in Larkspur | Legendary North Beach restaurateur and Caffe Sport chef/owner Antonio Latona has died of complications from diabetes. More than any other Italian restaurant, the veteran Caffe Sport was renowned for its kitschy decor, garlic-laden food, and huge platters of seafood. The restaurant remains open | Television chef Joey Altman has closed Wild Hare restaurant in Menlo Park | Postrio chefs Steven and Mitchell Rosenthal and front-of-the-house dynamo Doug Washington are looking to open Town Hall, a 120-seat American comfort food restaurant on Howard Street. With the blessing but not the backing of Postrio's Wolfgang Puck, the trio are starting construction in a space that once housed a Chinese restaurant. Town Hall should be ready in May | Transposed! Last month we misstated the following transition: Belinda Chang, the new sommelier at the Kimpton Group's Fifth Floor restaurant, has migrated here from Charlie Trotter's in Chicago (not vice versa). She replaces Rajat Parr.









Thai times two. The owners of Thai of Shirlington plan to open their second restaurant in the space vacated by Riggs Bank on K Street in Georgetown. They'll call it Bangkok Joe's | Dante's in Great Falls plans to open its second restaurant in March. It will be located in Cleveland Park | Nearby, Chong Yi (Park Bench Pub) plans to open Bricks Tavern in the old Vigorelli's space | Katsuya Fukushima is running the kitchen at Café Atlantico, taking over from Christy Velie. Jose Ramon Andres has been named culinary director | Michelle Giroux is executive chef at the new Clyde's in Rockville, officially called Clyde's Tower Oaks Lodge. She hails from sister operation 1789, where she was Ris Lacoste's sous-chef | Jorge Chicas is now head chef of Zaytina, which recently opened on 9th Street in Penn Quarter | Ricky Stokes is chef at Local 16 on the über-trendy U Street corridor. Stokes was most recently at Market St. Bar & Grill in Reston, and before that, Nineteen Ten restaurant in Adams Morgan | Stafford Mather has been named chef de cuisine for Topaz Bar at the Topaz Hotel, and Bar Rouge at the Hotel Rouge, both owned by Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants.



Lennox, MAJ. Bryce Whittlesey has been named new executive chef of Wheatleigh, an elegant, 19th-century Italianate hotel in the Berkshires. Whittlesey was educated at the CIA and has trained in kitchens from Boston to Paris, including L'Espalier in Boston, Le Chanticleer in Nantucket, and Hotel Meurice and Michel Rostang in Paris. He is serving an eclectic menu of French-American food.

Special Announcement
Goodwill and Great Pots You may think you have every piece of kitchen equipment and gadget you will ever need, but one thing you can never get enough of is the feeling of giving to a good cause. The James Beard Foundation scholarship program will be one of the beneficiaries of this year's Housewares Charity Foundation Dinner, to be held on January 13 in Chicago. Other recipients of their generosity will be the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the Culinary Institute of America. The event will also honor the humanitarian efforts of longtime Beard Foundation supporters Peter Cameron, C.E.O. of All-Clad Metalcrafters and Chuck Williams, Founder of Williams-Sonoma, as well as Leslie Mann, Senior V.P. of Sears, Roebuck and Co.