news &

Find your city here:

    August 2003


Balanced diet. From the Yeremyan brothers (Gilbert’s Mediterranean Café) comes Balance Innovative Dining on Piedmont Avenue in Midtown, formerly the Big Red Tomato. Diners create their own dishes by combining proteins, carbohydrates, and veggies. Edgar Cruz (ex-Spice, Gramercy Tavern, NYC) does the cooking, with help from nutritionist Suzanne Dixon | Jeff Vosburgh (ex-Ritz-Carlton, Swissôtel) is executive chef at The Savoy Bar and Grille in the Georgian Terrace Hotel on Peachtree Street. Vosburgh’s new menu includes hickory-smoked pulled pork and buttermilk pan-fried brook trout with horseradish cheddar grits | Shaun Doty’s Mumbo Jumbo is closed, but he’s opened Midcity Cuisine on Peachtree Street. The setting, by Johnson Studio, is modern; the menu is American brasserie | More Midtown action. Owner Bob Amick has named Joseph Masi (ex–La Tavola Trattoria, Vini Vedi Vici) executive chef at ONE. midtown kitchen, a renovated warehouse on Dutch Valley Road | Guenter Seeger has named Mark Mendoza (ex-Redwood Park, San Francisco) sommelier of his renowned Atlanta restaurant in Buckhead | David Chen has opened a branch of Atlantic Seafood in Alpharetta. The chef is Jon Schwenk (ex-Brasserie Le Coze) | Renee and Steve Alterman have rebranded their North Fulton Horseradish Grill location as Real Food, with Tony Itzie offering Southern classics | Paul Luna (ex-Café Mystique) has surfaced at the Lunatique Café in the Wyndam Hotel downtown | Thomas Lee has left Buckhead Diner to open his own restaurant in the former Passport location on Peachtree Parkway. The menu is American with a European twist | Hal’s on Old Dogwood Road in Roswell has reopened after closing in 1999.


Pair Lydia Shire (Biba, Locke-Ober) with restaurateur Tim Lynch (Grill 23, Harvest), and what do you get? A restaurant that aspires ever upward. Excelsior takes over the Biba space beside the Public Garden. While you’re dining, you can watch the wine steward climb up the ladders to fetch one of 7,000 bottles housed in a three-level wine “cellar” designed by Adam Tihany. The kitchen is fully equipped with a wood-burning oven for house-made breads and gourmet pizzas, along with a vertical oven | Legal Sea Foods has opened a new location at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, replacing Giannino. Executive chef Tim Williams comes from the chain’s Framingham location | Peking Tom’s Chinese restaurant took over the Hibernia space on Kingston Street downtown. Consulting chef Marc Orfaly (Pigalle), designer Kristine Irving, and owner Michael Conlon (21st Amendment, Paramount, Blarney Stone) have created an ultra-swank lounge with gourmet Asian food | Koreana on Prospect Street in Cambridge is back after a yearlong closure following a fire | The Rattlesnake on Boylston Street has given its death rattle. In its place comes American eatery George, where chef Al Soto (ex–Beacon Hill Bistro) cooks stylish American comfort food | Andy Husbands has introduced a late-night bar and game menu at Rouge in the South End | Perdix owner Tim Partridge will reincarnate his popular eatery in the South End space soon to be vacated by Truc. Partridge will be cooking an American menu with sous-chef Bill Truite | Ursula Argyropoulos has been named executive pastry chef at Raphael Bar-Risto in Providence. She’s still keeping a hand in her Boston business, Art of the Cake.


Tony Vallone has sold Los Tonyos to the Austin restaurant group that also owns Ninfa’s. They turned it into Serranos Cafe and Cantina | Papillon Bistro has been rechristened Zin.


Chuckwagon chow. When Japanese chef Makoto Tanaka, a 16-year veteran of Austrian chef Wolfgang Puck’s organization and, more recently, proprietor of Asian fine-dining spot Mako in Beverly Hills, opens an Asian-brasserie-fusion restaurant in Gardena and names it Bistro Laramie, there must be a story. And there is. Once upon a time in Japan, Tanaka’s partners had a family restaurant named for the then-popular American western TV show Laramie | Time to Samba down to the Redondo Beach Marina, where South Bay restaurant experts George and Donna Moussalli (Aioli, Trio, Breadstix Bakery & Café) have a new Brazilian steakhouse by that name | Fresco Ristorante chef/owner Antonio Orlando has joined new partner Michele Cody to open Il Palino Trattoria in South Pasadena’s 1925 Rialto Theater. Chef Carlos Corvino is doing wonders with pastas, pizzas, and pesce in the tiny open kitchen | First-time restaurateur Pete McLaughlin has hired Mark Smith (ex–Café Stella, Moomba) as chef of Pete’s Café & Bar in the Old Bank District on Main Street downtown. Smith will change the cafe, which opened last year, from upscale pub food to comfort classics and seafood. The consulting chef is Tara Thomas of nearby Traxx in Union Station | What would be better to the Sunset Strip than a restaurant dedicated to the classic 1930s eateries on that boulevard of broken dreams? Tangerine’s Cafe chef Gil-Roy Bruce (Bonaventure Brewing Co., Odessa) offers The Players shrimp fettuccine and Scandia’s rib-eye steak | Pradeep’s has a second location in Marina del Rey, with the same healthy Indian food and Western fine-dining style as the original in Santa Monica | Silvio de Mori’s third-chef’s-the-charm new kitchen master at De Mori in Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Collection is Frenchman Stéphane Chevet (ex–Las Ventanas in Los Cabos) | Sabor, which pleased fans for 12 years in a tiny Santa Monica location, has closed. Owner Jose Chavez has opened a much larger wholesale prepared foods business for the Trader Joe’s gourmet market chain | King’s Hawaiian Bread founder Robert Taira has died at 79. He created the soft, round, and oh-so-sweet loaves in his native Hawaii based on a Portuguese recipe, but moved the bakery to Torrance in 1977 to handle the huge demand from supermarkets on the mainland.


Black magic. There’s a new kind of magic working at Voo Doo BBQ with Derrick A. Todd as the new CEO. Todd used to own New City Diner and catering service. He’ll open a Voo Doo restaurant on Airline Drive, next to the new Ramada Inn Suites | Savvy Susan Spicer has left the Cobalt Restaurant she opened with chef Brack May in 2001. Now that her consulting agreement has ended, she plans to write a cookbook | A lofty experience is in store for wine lovers at The Wine Loft. Opened by Jason Doyle next door to Emeril’s on Tchoupitoulas Street, The Wine Loft serves tapas and 70 wines by the glass | Tommy Andrade and Irene DiPietro, founders of Irene’s Cuisine, have parted company. Andrade is going his own way with Tommy’s Cuisine in the former Red Bike location; unlike at Irene’s Cuisine, reservations will be accepted for half the tables | Vietnamese chain Pho Tau Bay is opening a fourth location in the former French-Asian restaurant Café Indo on Carrollton Avenue.


A to Z minus Y. Patricia Yeo, who provided delicious, inspired cooking at AZ and Pazo, has left for a much-needed break. Her former co-chef, Pino Maffeo, will continue to oversee both restaurants | The desserts at both Dos Caminos locations are getting a celebrity makeover from sugarmeister Wayne Harley Brachman, most recently at Pershing Square. Brachman was the noted pastry chef at Mesa Grill and Bolo, and later for the Glazier Group, which owned the now-defunct Tapika, as well as the very much thriving Michael Jordan’s The Steak House, N.Y.C., Strip House, and The Steakhouse at Monkey Bar | Chocolate has arrived at the American Museum of Natural History; the exhibit is on display until September 7. Chocolate samples are given out on the weekends, but to indulge a more serious craving, head straight to the Chocolate Café, open in conjunction with the exhibit | Comfort comes to Chelsea. Ira Freehof’s Comfort Diner has moved downtown from the Upper East Side. The new space has more seating and a full liquor license. Tasty renditions of retro favorites remain | Celebrate summer and Central Park’s 150th anniversary at the newly opened Sheep Meadow Café near the West 67th Street entrance to the park. Peter Aschkenasy, who previously owned Gage & Tollner, has set up in an old snack bar, serving a simple menu of grilled items | Summertime and the livin’ is easy. Eli’s on the Upper East Side is dishing out homemade ice creams and sorbets from a window that opens onto Third Avenue. Flavors include pecan pie, brownies and cream, and green apple. Adventurous downtown foodies will appreciate the distinctive flavors from the Lunchbox Food Company, an upscale coffee shop and bakery that runs an ice cream cart in Hudson River Park. Look for buckwheat honey, Mexican chocolate, and grapefruit–bay leaf. Need to exercise creative control over your ice cream cone? Try the new Cold Stone Creamery near Port Authority. The dairy sells 32 flavors, and clerks will manually mix in any combination of nuts, fruits, and candies that your sweet tooth desires | A kinder, gentler Lotus? The Meatpacking District watering hole/nightclub and occasional restaurant is dispensing with the attitude and the bouncer. The new menu is Southeast Asian, courtesy of chef Tyson Ophaso from Nong. Ophaso’s brother-in-law, Junnajet Hurapan, has stepped in to replace him at Nong | Tadashi Ono (ex–La Caravelle and the late, lamented Sono) sails on with new partner Mikio Shinagawa, who owns Omen, to open an as yet unnamed Japanese restaurant in the funky new Maritime Hotel. The white 1966 landmark building in Chelsea, with distinctive porthole windows, has served as a home for underprivileged teens and as a Chinese graduate student center. Now it’s taking a trendy turn with the help of the same people who brought us The Park lounge, also in Chelsea, and Soho’s Mercer Hotel | Chef Jayson Brown has left behind the beautiful people of Condé Nast’s cafeteria for an even more glorious setting, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His new domain, located under the Medieval Sculpture Hall, is run by Restaurant Associates | Independent in Tribeca has been taken over by chef Marc Murphy and his wife and partner, Pamela. Murphy garnered raves at La Fourchette on the Upper East Side and later at Chinoiserie in the Flatiron district. At his new bistro, Landmarc (pun intended), he’ll be cooking from the hearth | The new Hacienda de Argentina, on the Upper East Side, celebrates the flavors of Argentina with delectable empanadas, charcuterie platters, and more meat choices than at a carnivore convention. Steak is sold by the ounce. The setting features heavy wood and cowhide accents | Also on the Upper East Side, Zebu Grill is a new Brazilian restaurant | The kitsch factor is high in the colorful, cluttered decor of the new Kitsch, once the elegant Destinée space. Les Halles alum Franck Maucort delivers a lively Mediterranean menu for owner Jean Goutal (Le Colonial, Le Bilboquet) | Where the deer and the antelope play. Owner Brad Tobin has transformed the Upper East Side’s Hurricane Island into Pioneer, and roped former Union Square Cafe chef de cuisine Brad Gates to light the campfire, er, stoves. The Western menu spotlights wild game and Idaho trout. See you there, pardner! | Meanwhile, John Tesar, who once cook at 13 Barrow and Vine, has hit the Pioneer Trail. He’s now settling in at Wild Goose at Lake Tahoe | Erica Miller’s short-lived Kloe in the West Village has closed. No word yet on the future plans of the chef/cookbook author/Food Network host | Meet new chef Patrick Landberg at Meet Restaurant and Café in the Meatpacking District. Although he’s a native of Sweden, the menu remains Mediterranean | Christophe Lachavanne is the new chef at Café Deville in the East Village, not far from his former kitchens, Le Père Pinard and Monk | Chef/owner Kenneth Collins pays tribute to his great-grandmother at her stylish namesake eatery, Ida Mae Kitchen-n-Lounge, in the Fashion District. Collins’s Southern roots and French training are apparent in dishes such as lobster ravioli with spicy pumpkin jus, and grilled grits and crayfish foam with poached lobster | Brooklyn global cuisine is the driving philosophy behind chef Zakary Pelaccio’s Chickenbone Café in Williamsburg, which opened last April. Pelaccio scours the local area for products that he uses in big, flavorful, eclectic combinations, such as kielbasa bruschetta with pickles and spicy mustard; the house “bone stew,” made with chicken in a Thai-inspired curry; and various dessert panini | P.J. Clarke’s, the century-old saloon in midtown, got a makeover from new owners recently. Now they’ve tackled the upstairs. The result: Sidecar, a semi-private joint with a speakeasy feel, available to friends and guests with reservations. The food is strictly chophouse fare, with big crabcakes and even bigger Jamison Farm lamb chops | And yes I said yes I will Yes. Ulysses’ Folk House, an Irish pub that opened on Bloomsday (June 16th for you nonliterary types) is within a stone’s throw of owner Peter Poulakakos’ other businesses: Bayard, Harry’s of Hanover Square, and Financier Patisserie in Lower Manhattan. Ulysses’ partner Danny McDonald knows a thing or two about pubs. He’s the owner of two other downtown Irish watering holes: Swift Hibernian Lounge and Puck Fair. Eric Lind, chef de cuisine from Bayard’s, prepares light pub fare | Summit Restaurant and Lounge in Turtle Bay takes a swanky design cue from the Rat Pack. Owner Vincent Sgarlato and chef Bill Seleno (ex-Moomba, Guastavino’s, and Moda) have created a seductive spot Ol’ Blue Eyes surely would have liked. The lamb chops and dry-aged sirloin sound like Frank, but what would he make of foie gras with bitter-chocolate biscotti? | Ethos, a Greek fish house, has opened in Murray Hill, offering a broad selection of classic meze, salads, and clay-pot baked dishes. But the main event is the impressive list of charcoal-grilled fish. Opah! | Mediterranean is also the buzz word at the new Soho eatery, Alma Blu. You’ll find Italian pastas, Greek-style whole grilled fish, and African couscous, and there’s more Spanish serrano ham, yogurt tsatsiki, and queso blanco than at an international deli | Big sister. ‘ino, a sliver of a restaurant tucked away in the West Village, is beloved for its inventive, delicious panini. Now owners Jason Denton (also a partner in Lupa and Otto), Joe Denton, and Eric Kleinman have bigger sandwiches to grill with ‘inoteca in the food-friendly Lower East Side. In addition to ‘ino’s signature truffled-egg toast, expect an assortment of antipasti, salumi, cheeses, pastas, and entrées | Snack attacks. A wave of new eateries is focusing on snack-sized dishes. Westville in the West Village has an easy summer vibe. Order the Niman Ranch Fearless Frank on a homemade bun. At Snackbar, a new Chelsea eatery, chef Nick Tischler and owner Krim Boughalem (formerly of Boughalem) take a cerebral approach to snacking. Gold leaf dots a beet and goat cheese salad, foie gras is paired with rutabaga, watermelon, and lemon-thyme johnnycakes, and a signature canapé marries apricots, Parmesan, rosemary, and white chocolate. And then there’s Schnäck in Brooklyn, where Alan Harding sticks to basics like hot dogs, sandwiches, and shakes.


Isabelle and Philippe Cazaudehore have brought young chef Grégory Balland to their beautiful restaurant in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Cazaudehore La Forestière | Patrick Derdérian has named well-known restaurateur Jean-Paul Arabian (Pierre au Palais Royal, Ledoyen, Lille) as the general manager of his stylish restaurant Zebra Square in the 16th arrondissement | Le King Ludwig’s Castle, the newest addition to the Flo empire, opened in Disney Village in May with fairy tale decor and a Bavarian menu. Flo’s franchise plans for the year include three new restaurants in France and five abroad | The Pont-Neuf building in the 1st arrondissement has been completely renovated and now houses two Laurent Taïeb (Lô Sushi, Bon, Bon 2) restaurants: Kong, a Franco-Japanese restaurant with Philippe Starck decor (fifth and sixth floors), and a second branch of Lô Sushi (ground floor).


Destination spot. James Roberts has opened The Cove on serene Whidbey Island, in the historic Captain Whidbey Inn. Roberts was previously chef de cuisine at Thierry Rautureau’s Rovers in Madison Valley | Union has opened in the space vacated by Marcha Tapas & Drinks on First Avenue. Owner/chef Ethan Stowell (Nell’s, Lampreia) is featuring French-inspired American cuisine | Owner/chef Renee Erickson is heartsick after her labor-of-love restaurant, the Boat Street Café, was demolished to make way for a mixed-use complex | Don Curtiss (ex-Prego, Andaluca, Assiago) is now a chef/partner in Il Fornio, overseeing the Seattle kitchen and bakery. Curtiss replaces longtime chef/partner Carol Allessina, who relocated to Texas | Amtrak Cascades travelers between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, can now dine on Kathy Casey’s entrées.


Organic eats. Famed Kumamoto restaurant Dorobushi has opened in Hiroo. Chef Taisei Ogawa continues the commitment to organic foods. Spinach and lettuce salad is dressed with an egg from chickens raised on brown rice; the pork served is from pigs fed a diet of sweet potatoes. The dining room is decidedly grown-up | Vietnamese restaurant Saigon is moving to dressy new quarters in Marunouchi after 50 years in Hibiya. The new location is downstairs from Dean & Deluca, which opened in June, the first store outside the United States | Franco Canzonielle, owner of Nakano restaurant Trattoria Il Fornaio and onetime Iron Chef contender, is owner/chef of Ristorante da Franco in Omotesando. The Roman cuisine makes no concession to Japanese tastes | Harajuku fixture Aux Bacchanales has closed due to building redevelopment. The Akasaka branch lives on | Meanwhile, former Aux Bacchanales chef/baker Hiroyuki Ikeda has opened his own cafe in Kasuga, Moomin Bakery and Café. Inspired by a series of Finnish children’s books, the cafe offers rye bread and Finnish home cooking such as salmon and potato pudding.


Greg Couillard (Sarkis, Nekah), the Asian fusion genius with the peripatetic career, has landed at Sassafraz in Yorkville. Also new to the kitchen is executive chef Wade Watson, an Australian import | David Adjey has left the Windsor Arms hotel to open Nectar on Wellington Street West, serving global cuisine.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Robert Feenie, chef/owner of Lumière, plans to open a new restaurant called Feenie’s this summer | Scott Baechler is the Metropolitan Hotel’s new executive chef. He replaces Chris Mills, now consulting chef for Joey Tomato Restaurant Group | On Vancouver Island, Stephen Frost (ex–Blue Water Café, Araxi in Whistler) has replaced Lisa Ahier as executive chef of Long Beach Lodge in Tofino. Ahier, meanwhile, has converted a nearby catering truck into SOBO, where she serves superlative fish tacos and other small dishes | In Victoria, The Temple Restaurant has opened, with Sam Benedetto (ex–Sooke Harbour House) as executive chef.


Capital Restaurant Concepts has opened fin, a seafood restaurant and bar on 19th Street near Dupont Circle, where their Georgetown Seafood Grill used to be. Cocktails are served in fishbowls | Jamie Blankenship (ex-Tahoga) is the chef at the new Nectar, which replaced Zuni Moon in Foggy Bottom.


Hilo, HI
Mike Fennelly, of Mecca (San Francisco), Mike’s on the Avenue (New Orleans), and Santacafé (Santa Fe), is executive chef of newly opened Kaikodo, serving Big Island cuisine.