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April 2003

>> BOSTON

Lights, Camera, Action! Boston's culinary rising stars will be showcasing their talent at the Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge on May 8, where guests will sample their signature dishes paired with specially selected wines. The StarChefs Rising Stars Revue will hit other culinary destinations, including Washington DC, New Orleans and Seattle, in 2003. | Blowing in. After establishing Mistral as a South End fine-dining destination, Paul Roif and chef/owner Jamie Mammano have opened sister restaurant Teatro on Tremont Street in the theater district. Robert Jean prepares a Northern Italian menu | Barbara Haber, curator at Radcliffe's Schlesinger Library and author of From Hardtack to Home Fries (Free Press), is retiring after 34 years. She built the library's collection of more than 16,000 cookbooks | Epiphany, an Asian-fusion restaurant in the former South Street location of Oskar's, has opened in the Leather District. Executive chef Cardin Lau grew up in Hong Kong but was most recently a sushi chef in Rhode Island. The East-West concept translates into escargot spring rolls, marinated sirloin with special mustard sauce, and green tea duck in a fig reduction. Owner Sierra Towers previously managed Big City and The Sunset Bar & Grill | Le Gamin, a French café and crêperie on Tremont Street in the South End, has closed. Also vacant is the former Rave 552 across the street | Appetito on Appleton Street has made way for Flux restaurant, a casual, inexpensive dinner spot. The Newton location of Appetito remains open for lunch and dinner | Baja Fresh Mexican Grill, a California-based chain that advertises fast Mexican food with "no freezers, no microwaves, no can openers," has arrived in Massachusetts. The first franchise opened on Main Street in Stoneham.

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>> HOUSTON

Christina Arroyo (ex-The Houstonian) has purchased Dante's Restaurant on the Gulf Freeway. She's keeping the Italian menu, adding a few new dishes, but has changed the name to Anita's Italian Grill in honor of her daughter | Francis Walters has closed Dominic's restaurant in the Radisson Suites. The hotel continues to operate the restaurant as Radisson Bar & Grill | Tony Mandola and Tim Taylor plan to open comfort-food palace Blue Plate Bistro in the location that once housed Guggenheim's Deli. Charles Clark (Ibiza) is the consulting chef | Terry Flores (Bocados) and Lily Hernandez are readying Boca Chica, a Latin-fusion eatery at 2100 Waugh | Jose Martinez, sous-chef at Papillon Bistro Française, has been promoted to executive chef | After nearly six years at Ouisie's Table, Kecia Worley has returned to the legal profession.

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>> LONDON

Marcus Wareing and his team at Petrus will move into the space vacated by La Tante Claire in The Berkeley hotel this summer. The space is to be redesigned by David Collins | Suntory has closed, and Marco Pierre White has taken it over for a redo by, yes, David Collins. White is restoring the space to its previous incarnation as Maison Prunier, a fish restaurant that closed in the 1970s. This should reopen in July | There is a new branch of the popular Thai restaurant Busaba Eathai on Store Street. The food is similar to the original, but the decor has been taken up a few notches | Helena Puolakka (ex-head chef at La Tante Claire) is the new chef at Sonny's | Chintamani is a "Turkish delight" with low tables and a tented ceiling. The food is a fusion of Turkish, Lebanese, and Greek | Osia is opening this month on Haymarket. It is co-owned by Australian chef Scott Webster and U.K. restaurateur Raymond de Fazio, proprietor of the Café Med group. The cuisine will be modern Australian | Atul Kochhar (ex-Tamarind) opens Benares this month, his first restaurant, in Berkeley Square | Also in Berkeley Square, Marlon Abela Restaurant Corp. is set to reopen Morton's as a private club. The new owners have also purchased 25-year-old Greenhouse restaurant, where current chef Paul Merrett remains | I-Thai restaurant in the Hempel Hotel will become Hanami. The new, French-influenced Japanese menu is being developed by recently installed chef Robert Shipman (ex-Nobu) | Closures: Bice, John Burton-Race, Zaika Bazaar, and Zen Chelsea.

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>> LOS ANGELES

Hail Fraser, full of Grace. Peripatetic chef Neal Fraser (Deep, Jimmys Two, Rix, etc.) has opened Grace on Beverly Boulevard. It's a neighborhood hangout with fine-dining American food and early Modern decor. His partners are Richard Drapkin (Brentwood Restaurant & Lounge, Capo), and general manager Amy Knoll (Rix). Former Campanile pastry chef Elizabeth Belkind rounds out the culinary team | The pan-Asian wonders of Buddha's Belly are also busting belts on Beverly Boulevard as partners Jonathan Chu and Evan Silver present the cuisine of L.A. favorite Hisashi Yoshiara (Jozu) | For the second time in a year, chef Andre Guerrero has opened a Sherman Oaks restaurant and named it after one of his sons. His Max, with partner Michael Lamb, offers Cal-Asian, while the new Señor Fred does authentic Guadalajaran cuisine, courtesy of chef de cuisine Raphael Solorzano. Creating tasty finales for both restaurants is company pastry chef Jan Purdey | Longtime Beverly Hills greeter Jimmy Murphy is back in business with Jimmy's Tavern in partnership with his son Sean and with a serious chef in the kitchen. David Fouts (Granita, Josie Restaurant, The Beach House) offers both original Jimmy's fare, such as French onion soup, and his own innovative dishes, such as Japanese shiso leaves stuffed with spicy tuna and fried tempura-style. The locale is the former Primi, just down West Pico Boulevard from 20th Century Fox | Multimedia foodies can enjoy the wonders of CineSpace, the new Hollywood Boulevard digital cinema/restaurant/ lounge. Chef Monica May (North, CáBrea) serves lobster with latkes,classic Cobb salad, and Parmesan-and-spiced house popcorn | Partners Alan Nathan, Anton Posniak, and Rich Calamaro (Tengu) bring Havana to Hollywood with Paladar, patterned after the private restaurants in Cuba. Executive chef/partner Joe Herreros creates traditional fare plus accents from his family's native Chile | Marilyn and Harry Lewis, who gave the world Hamburger Hamlets (which they later sold) and restaurant Kate Mantilini's in Beverly Hills, have decided to open a second Kate's in the San Fernando Valley's Woodland Hills. The couple's sons, Adam (operations) and David Lewis (executive chef), will duplicate the frogs' legs, all-day power breakfasts, and what are quite simply the best (and most expensive) pork chops in town. San Francisco architect Fu-Tung Cheng will revamp the former Houston chain's locale | Isabelle Alexandre, who worked with Michel Richard in D.C. before decamping for a sojourn as executive sous-chef at the five-star Le Meridien in Lisbon, Portugal, has become chef de cuisine at Richard's Citronelle in Santa Barbara | Dick Powell, the general manager of Lawry's The Prime Rib who retired last year after 27 years, has decided to go back to work. He moves from turf to surf as the new president of California Beach Restaurants, Inc., which owns the original Gladstone's 4 Fish in Malibu and which licenses the concept to Universal Studios Hollywood CityWalk.

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>> NEW ORLEANS

Shooting Starr. Bingo Starr, executive chef at Cuvée since it opened in 2000, is moving to the new Renaissance Hotel on Tchoupitoulas Street in the heart of the business district. Robert Iacovone, Starr's sous-chef and roommate at the CIA, will take over the helm of the popular restaurant. Enticing Starr away was René Bajeux, formerly of the Grill Room of the Windsor Court Hotel and now proprietor of René Bistrot in the Renaissance Père Marquette Hotel. The menu will focus on French and New Orleans seafood | Panee Benjaray (Bangkok Cuisine, La Thai Cuisine) has opened Pan-Asia in the space previously occupied by Gerard's Downtown | Ye Old College Inn is changing hands after 70 years. One of the waitstaff has been there 53 years. Somewhat of a relic from the '50s, it caters to the neighborhood | When Georges Rico opened Rico's Bucktown, his constituents flocked to see him. After all, he was at Commander's Palace for 40 years. After the first year, his chef married and moved to the West Coast, and Rico had to rethink his menu. He has hooked up with Victoria Grulich, who attended Cordon Bleu in Paris, to run Rico's Muses | Oceanaire is now open on Conti Street in the French Quarter. Executive chef Vincent Barrere prepares a seafood menu.

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>> NEW YORK

More foodie credentials for the Upper West Side: with Ouest, Aix, Celeste, and the latest-Nice Matin-the neighborhood is fast becoming a dining-out destination. Who'd of thunk it? Though Nice Martin is casual and the prices for the French food gentle, chef Andrew D'Amico has impressive credentials. He used to man the stoves at the high-flying Sign of the Dove. The restaurant is designed by Nancy Mah, who also designed Lotus | New name. New concept. Gerry Hayden-ex-Aureole-has rechristened The Tonic and reconceived its menu. It's called Amuse, and dishes are now organized by price ($5, $10, $15, and $20), and are meant for mixing and matching | Nuevo Latino star Douglas Rodriguez has taken over the Midtown space that used to be Alamo. He is chef and partner at Chispa, which will feature his signature ceviches and tapas | John Villa of Pico in Tribeca is moonlighting as a partner in Midtown's manly Patroon (among other extracurricular projects). He is to revamp the menu | A landmark building in Chelsea has become the Carriage House. Owner Adam Newton is also responsible for Cafeteria around the corner, and chef German Caceres has created a Latin bistro menu | Cuisine auteur. The fourth branch of Cinema Café has opened, this one on the Upper East Side. While dining on the food of Fotis Katz, who began his career cooking for the Prime Minister of Greece, guests can enjoy classic and rare films from directors like Cecil B. DeMille. Menu items include a steak martini in a Roquefort-vodka-vermouth cream sauce and seared ahi tuna with sesame-sautéed spinach | Frank Dini is a veteran of New York's Italian scene, having been the chef at Acapella in Tribeca for nine years. Look for him these days in Murray Hill at his solo venture, Torino. Traditional dishes like branzino livornese, linguini with clams, and veal con fungi are served in the intimate dining room, as are housemade grappa infusions in flavors like apricot and raisin. Dini's brother, Adrian Gjonbalaj, formerly manager at Gotham Bar and Grill, works the room | Fans of Rebecca Charles' lobster roll are rejoicing because her tiny Pearl Oyster Bar is doubling in size; she's taken over the storefront next door and is adding 25 seats | Sweet Side. Upper East Side locals will soon have a new spot to nibble on the pastries and confections of French gourmet chain Fauchon. The company has taken over the spot that used to be William Greenberg, Jr. Desserts and plans to open a retail shop, its third in the city | Homecoming. Chris Gesualdi, who was the chef at Tribeca's Montrachet for the better part of the nineties, has returned to the perennial Tribeca favorite | Matthew Kenney's scene-y restaurant, Commune, in the Flatiron district, has closed. Jeffrey Chodorow (Asia de Cuba, China, and Tuscan) is the new owner of the space; Jeffrey Beers is in charge of design. When the new, as-yet-unnamed restaurant opens this spring, it will offer modern Japanese cuisine | If you thought we truncated the name of the aforementioned Tuscan that's because it was, until recently, called Tuscan Steak. Chodorow dropped the "Steak," and hired Union Pacific's Rocco DiSpirito to de-emphasize steak, add an antipasto bar, and give the menu an overall shot in the prosciutto | Thalassa, a new Greek eatery in Tribeca, is housed in a space that was once the warehouse for a Greek importing company. Chef and co-owner Gregory Zapantis will feature artisanal Greek cheeses supplied by the Makris family, as well as an upscale menu emphasizing seafood.

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>> PARIS

Robuchon is back, almost. The much-anticipated opening of master chef Joël Robuchon's new-concept restaurant in the Hôtel Pont Royal was originally slated to open in January, 2003, but that date was pushed back to mid-March. The latest update, as of press time, is that the restaurant may not open until early summer. L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon will feature Robuchon live (from time to time) and other chefs preparing high-quality ingredients in simple ways. The food is French, but the concept is drawn from sushi bars | During the second half of 2003, Laurent Taïeb (Lô Sushi, Bon, Bon 2) is set to open two new spots in the old Samaritaine Sport building: a second Lô Sushi and Kong, a Franco-Japanese restaurant | Alain Ducasse and Thierry De La Brosse (L'Ami Louis) have relaunched the landmark Paris bouchon Aux Lyonnais and have entrusted young chef Christophe Saintagne with offering an updated, more accessible cuisine | Ducasse also joined forces with partners Éric Kayser and Laurent Plantier to open the eat-in or take-away concept BE, which is short for "boulangépicier," or bakery/grocery | Michel del Burgo has left the kitchens of Taillevent for the Bastide de Gordes in Provence. He is succeeded by Alain Solivérés of Les Elysées, where Eric Briffard (Jamin, Le Régence) has taken over | London restaurateur Sir Terence Conran (Alcazar in Paris, Quaglino's in London, Guastavino's in New York) have opened Senso in the Trémoile Hotel in the trendy 8th arrondissement. Chef Philippe Assuncao offers such contemporary French dishes as pumpkin and Parmesan soup and red mullet with zucchini spaghetti | Soon after Ghislaine Arabian's departure from her namesake restaurant in the 16th, owner Théodore Margellos replaced her with young chef Frédéric Simonin (Le Meurice, Le Cinq, Taillevent) and rechristened the space Seize au Seize | With the help of designer Christophe Pillet, Mathieu Grinberg and Cyril Thomas have taken over the old Morot-Gaudry space in the 15th and turned it into the hip new restaurant R. The intimate, modern space is on the top floor of a nine-story building and offers excellent views of the Eiffel Tower | In the Place de l'Alma, Christian Valette (La Maison de l'Aubrac) has opened DeVèz, another restaurant serving Aubrac beef from the Auvergne. More than just a steakhouse, the restaurant prepares beef 12 different ways: only the breakfast menu includes non-beef options | Le Pergolèse in the 16th has spawned Le Petit Pergolèse bistro next door | Chez Catherine, formerly on Rue de Provence in the 9th, has moved to a more modern space on Rue Berryer in the 8th | Just a few steps from the Madeleine is the wine shop Lavinia, with a selection of more than 6,000 bottles and 15 sommeliers. The namesake restaurant on the first floor serves lunch only, but the wine list covers every bottle in the store, with no corkage fee | The new MK2 Bibliothèque 14-screen theater offers three restaurants and a bar: Café Bibliothèque, Chez Jules et Jim, M Café, and Limelight | Bernard Loiseau died on February 24, 2003, in his home in Saulieu, France, an apparent suicide. He was 52. The celebrated chef started his culinary career with the Troisgros brothers in 1968 and went on to make a name for himself with his multi-award winning establishment La Côte d'Or, also in Saulieu, a small town in Burgundy. He developed into a true entrepreneur, with a hotel, a boutique, a line of frozen foods, several books, and three restaurants in Paris-Tante Louise, Tante Marguerite, and Tante Jeanne. Immediately after his death, speculation that he killed himself because Côte d'Or had lost two points in the GaultMillau guide fueled debate over the power of restaurant critics.

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>> PHILADELPHIA

Fred Ortega, former executive pastry chef at Le Bec-Fin, is now at Jean Marie LaCroix at the Rittenhouse. He replaces opening pastry chef Michael Vandergeest. Le Bec-Fin chef/owner Georges Perrier elevated Ortega's sidekick Antoine Armani to his top spot | Meanwhile, pastry chef Joseph Furguile left Neil Stein's Avenue B with his entourage of six, leaving Stein's restaurants (Striped Bass, Rouge, Bleu, Avenue B) without a replacement.

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>> PITTSBURGH

By request. Pacific Rim restaurant Ya Fei has hired former Nobu Las Vegas chef Jimmy Watanabe for special-event dinners. Watanabe, who was born in Tokyo, draws on organic ingredients for dishes such as seafood spring rolls with strawberry-red onion salsa and grilled lamb chops with coriander-mint vinaigrette. Watanabe also trained in Japan as a sushi chef | Deborah Goydich (ex-Wright's Seafood) takes over the Mediterranean kitchen at La Recette on the River's Edge | Catherine Olteanu has resigned as sommelier of La Strada, the new downtown Italian restaurant, to become manager of Isabella on Grandview, in Mount Washington | After 30 years, Nick Veltri, Sr., and his wife, Minnie, have closed their popular restaurant, Veltri's. Perched on a hill with a view of the Allegheny River, the restaurant served Italian-American dinners | The lights are out and the doors padlocked at long-running Carmassi's Tuscany Grill downtown.

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>> SAN DIEGO

Spa food. La Jolla restaurateur Sami Ladeki has opened Roppongi "2" in Palm Springs. The restaurant, modeled after the successful Roppongi in La Jolla, is part of the new spa and casino project operated by the Agua Caliente Indian tribe. Ladeki will also operate an Asian noodle bar for casual dining | King's Seafood Co. has repositioned its Brasserie Royale restaurant in downtown's Gaslamp quarter. It is now Lou and Mickey's Steakhouse, which adds another steakhouse to a crowded field in downtown San Diego | Aquarella Mexican Grille at the Aventine in La Jolla has named brothers Damaso and Alfredo Lee as chefs. The restaurant features affordable, upscale Mexican cuisine.

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>> SEATTLE

RIP. Victor Rosellini (Rosellini's, Rosellini's Other Place), who worked his way up from busboy to become one of the city's most respected restaurateurs, has died at age 87. We are also mourning John Schwartz of Schwartz Brothers Restaurants, who died at 53 from multiple myeloma. John and his brother Bill built Daniel's Broiler, Chandler's Crabhouse and Fresh Fish Market, Atrium Cafe, Gretchen's Shoebox Express, and Spazzo Mediterranean Grill | Marco Rulfs and Donna Moodie have turned their romantic Italian Belltown spot, Lush Life, into Marjorie, with Moodie taking sole ownership. Rulfs kept his namesake Marco's Supper Club in Belltown | The Queen Anne district heats up with the opening of upscale barbecue and Tex-Mex restaurant Barbacoa. It's the brainchild of chef/partners Bob Colegrove and John Calderon, who met at Cactus Restaurant in Madison Park and collaborated on an American regional comfort-food menu | Chris Matthew Hill has partnered with Matthew Stuckens and Matt Fleck to open Matt's Rotisserie and Oyster Lounge in the former Redmond Town Center space of Six Degrees.

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>> TORONTO

Good morning, Vietnam. Siblings Albert and Sydni Banh have opened Lalot, a modern Vietnamese restaurant, in the former Bathurst Street space of Aunties and Uncles. Lalot means "wild betel leaf" in Vietnamese, and grilled beef is wrapped in betel leaves for a signature dish. The Banhs' siblings run Monsoon restaurant in Seattle | Another modern Vietnamese restaurant in the works is Saigon Sister on Yonge Street's Noodle Row below Bloor. It's a collaboration between designer Marianne Nguyen and spouses Russell Huynh and Hieu Tran, former owners of Ginger Restaurant across the street. Nguyen turned a former clothing store into a sleek, two-story interior. Chef Tran is developing an upscale Vietnamese menu | Cuisine of India, the North York restaurant that's been wowing diners with its tandoor delights for 12 years, has opened a second location on Highway 7 in Markham. Chef/co-owner Suman Sandillya transformed a former Greek restaurant into a 170-seat dining room | It's a revolving door at Hemispheres Restaurant, the Metropolitan Hotel flagship. Emmanuel Martin has left as executive chef after three months. Martin follows Patrick Lin, who left last November. Lending sous-chef Marco Ormonde a hand is corporate chef Neal Noble | Gone to a watery grave is The Fish House location on Front Street, after its lease expired; the Sheppard Avenue location remains open. Oyster bar Conchy Joe's and its downstairs pub Growlers on Victoria Street have also closed.

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>> WASHINGTON D.C.

David Hagedorn and Greggory Hill's new restaurant, David Greggory, is slated to open in April. The restaurant will feature contemporary American cuisine, which includes "appas," their American version of tapas | A branch of New York City's famed Latin restaurant Rosa Mexicano will open in Tyrell Place | Robert Price is executive chef for Mie N Yu restaurant in Georgetown | Enrique "Quike" Sanchez has been named executive chef of Taberna del Alabardero downtown. A protégé of former executive chef Josu Zubicarai, Quike also worked as executive sous-chef of Taberna del Alabardero in Marbella, Spain | Michel Greenstein is executive chef of Red Sage downtown. Greenstein comes from Vail, Colorado, where he worked at Sweet Basil Restaurant and Splendido at the Chateau | The new Ritz-Carlton in Georgetown is calling its restaurant Fahrenheit; the adjoining bar is Degrees | New Orleans Mediterranean Bistro, a restaurant group out of New Orleans, will take over Nomad's Kitchen in Tenley Circle and turn it into a pizza place called Angelico's | The folks who brought you Dante's in Great Falls will open Sorisco in Cleveland Park, in the 3500 block of Connecticut Avenue, NW | Bill Thomas (The Blue Room) has taken over the Mon Cherie space in Glover Park and named it Bourbons. This restaurant and bar offers modern American classics and the best selection of bourbons this side of the Mississippi.

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