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    September 2003


Pétrus has moved to the Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge. The restaurant's new setting provides the perfect stage for Marcus Wareing's theatrical cuisine. Rich with vivid colours, the interior is ther work of designer David Collins who takes full advantage of the claret textures associated with Pétrus. Stunning French blinds have a bold circle motif that is echoed as a detail throughout the restaurant. The dramatic decor is more than matched by the menu. | Ex-Ivy owners Jeremy King and Chris Corbin have taken over China House and plan to relaunch it as a European cafe | Visiting the new Museum in Docklands and feeling peckish? Searcy’s caterers have opened 1802 in an old tea-sorting house. The food is modern British | Mint Leaf is a new Indian restaurant near Trafalgar Square with chef KK Anand (ex-Cinnamon Club). The decor is very Hakkassan-ish, dark and sexy | Meanwhile, Cinnamon Club has taken over the Maxim’s site in New York City with plans to open a clone in 2004 | Well-known St. John restaurant has a sibling, St. John Bread & Wine, in Shoreditch. It offers traditional British food all day with wonderful and unusual breads | Terence Conran has opened another restaurant in a historic 16th-century building. Royal Exchange Grand Café & Bar is an exquisite space that resembles a Viennese coffeehouse. The all-day modern European menu, including breakfast, offers only cold food, as there are no ovens | Anton Edelmann is leaving the Savoy River Room after 21 years. He will be replaced by Georg Fuchs | Geoffrey Moore and Jamie Barber, co-owners of Hush, have taken over the site formerly occupied by Che and plan to launch an as-yet unnamed restaurant next month | Villandry has added a small charcuterie and cheese bar offering food and drinks through the day | Cedar Lounge has opened in the former Zaika Bazaar space in Chelsea. The owners are Lebanese, the menu is Italian, and the wines are mostly French | Recent closures include Chinon, The Chiswick, Deumela, Ibla, Parade, Purple Sage, Sabbia, Teatro, and Tuscan Steak.


Seasoned veterans Rodolfo Costella (Ca’ Del Sole) and Franco Simplicio (Allegria Café-Restaurant in Malibu) have joined forces to open Frascati Ristorante & Bar in Redondo Beach. Expect a few Venetian touches on the extensive menu from Soerke Peters, who revamped the menu at Ca’del Sole two years ago to great acclaim. Peters will also continue as executive chef at Ca’ Del Sole in North Hollywood | Pioneering Southern California fine-dining restaurateur Piero Selvaggio has moved Stephan Samson, his executive chef at Posto, into the top spot at Valentino, Selvaggio’s flagship restaurant in Santa Monica. Samson just returned from an intensive six-month cooking odyssey in southern Italy. Meanwhile, Angelo Auriana, chef at Valentino for 16 years, has relocated to Sacramento to open his own establishment | McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant in Beverly Hills is now McCormick & Schmick’s Pacific Seafood Grill with new chef David Iino (ex-Café Del Rey, Napa Valley Grille) on the line. Try his pancetta-wrapped scallops with warm potato and leek salad | Ann Gentry has opened Real Food Daily in Beverly Hills, her third branch of the organic vegetarian restaurant. Gentry and executive chef David Anderson (ex-Inn of The Seventh Ray) collaborate on all the recipes | Now that Claude Beltran has signed on as chef, Restaurant Halie has a new lease on life. Beltran had been chef/owner of the now defunct Cayo in the Pasadena Playhouse complex. At Halie, in the historic Cheesewright Building in Pasadena, he is cooking New American cuisine | Chateau Marmont Hotel in West Hollywood has a fresh look and a new chef in Mohammad Islam (ex-Mercer Kitchen, NYC). Islam serves international comfort food. The hotel’s secluded courtyard garden is one of LA’s undiscovered dining gems | Liza and Tim Goodell (Aubergine, Red Pearl Kitchen, Whist at the Viceroy Hotel) have installed David Man (ex-St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort) as chef de cuisine at Troquet in South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa | We’re sorry to report that talented opening toque Jean-Pierre Giron has quietly exited Brasserie des Artistes in Beverly Hills. Proprietor George Etesse has not yet announced a replacement | Among the ten people who died when an elderly man lost control of his car at the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market this past July was Gloria Gonzalez, a valued pantry cook at El Cholo, Santa Monica since its opening in 1997. Gonzalez, who was just 32, is survived by her husband, Gil Martinez, also a cook, her ten-year-old son, and three-year-old daughter. El Cholo, Santa Monica, has set up a memorial fund to benefit the family. To contribute, send a check to Gloria Gonzalez Fund, c/o El Cholo, Santa Monica, 1025 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401.


Scott Fredel (ex-Rumi) has opened Pilar in Aventura, inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s famous fishing boat. Florida seafood is on the menu, such as sautéed yellowtail snapper with potato-leek croquette and warm tomato vinaigrette.


Vive la France! From our perspective, looks like the French are back in favor: La Nouvelle is opening on Magazine Street and another branch of La Boulangerie is opening downtown | Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar and Restaurant now has an outpost uptown for casual California and Louisiana cuisine. Larkin Selman is chef | Keegan Gerhard is the new pastry chef of The Grill Room. A native of Mississippi, Gerhard was most recently at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago | Jason Doyle (The Wine Loft) is betting on the late-night crowd with Huey’s 24-7, an all-night diner in the former Metro Bistro site downtown | By day, Arvinder Vikhu is manager of the swanky Pickwick Club. By night, the New Delhi native runs Saffron Caterers.


Harvest in the Square, presented by the Union Square Local Development Corporation, showcases the best tasting restaurants in the Union Square neighborhood on Thursday, September 18, 2003. For the eighth year in a row, Harvest in the Square will erect a tent in Union Square Park, at the corner of 17th Street and Union Square West on the North Plaza, where chefs from more than 45 top-rated restaurants will provide “tastes” of their signature dishes | Restaurant closeout! Last month we reported Patricia Yeo had left AZ and Pazo. This month’s news is that Pazo has closed. AZ continues under chef Pino Maffeo | Butterfield 81 has also closed. The Upper East Side restaurant that showcased the cooking of Tom Valenti and later Patricia Williams is to become a barbecue joint this fall. Owner Ken Artesky (Patroon) is teaming up with Robert Pearson, of Pearson’s Texas Barbecue in Queens | Mamma mia, it has been a tough summer for the Italians! Castellano, in its heyday the Midtown Italian celebrity magnet; Ernie’s, the Upper West Side see-and-be-seen restaurant for twentysomethings; Two Two Two, another Italian restaurant on the Upper West Side; and Mark Strausman’s countrified Italian Campagna in the Flatiron District have all closed | Lundy’s fish house in Midtown Manhattan has closed up shop, too. You can still trek to the original Lundy’s in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn | Chicama in the ABC Carpet & Home store has served its last ceviche. Douglas Rodriguez created the vivid Latino spot, but he hasn’t been associated with it since he left to open OLA. Phil Suarez, who owns nearby Patria, will take over the space with Patria’s chef, Andrew DiCataldo, overseeing a Mexican menu. A fall opening is predicted | In other Mexican food news, Sue Torres, who earned her reputation for complex, skillful cooking at Rocking Horse Café in Chelsea and later at Hell’s Kitchen, has taken over Alley’s End, back in her old neighborhood, where she has opened Sueños | Which direction now? Neil Annis has departed Upper West Side’s Compass Restaurant to pursue other projects. His replacement is Mark Andelbradt, who was chef de cuisine at Tru in Chicago | Another notable departure is Alex Lee, who was Daniel Boulud’s right-hand chef at Daniel for more than a decade. Lee is trading in the rigors of a four-star kitchen for greener pastures...the exclusive Glen Oaks Country Club in Old Westbury, Long Island | Django has a new chef and slightly modified decor. Cedric Tovar, who had a brief stay at Theo in Soho, and before that was chef de cuisine at Geoffrey Zakarian’s Town, is putting a Mediterranean spin on the gypsy-spirited Midtown eatery | The cameras may have gone home, but Nicolina DiSpirito (Rocco DiSpirito’s mamma) continues to make her signature meatballs at Rocco’s on 22nd Street. Rocco’s stars in the new reality show, The Restaurant, which was airing Sunday nights on NBC this summer | Speaking of Italian chef exposure, John Villa (who appeared in his birthday suit in Playgirl earlier this year) has transformed his elegant but sleepy Portuguese-influenced Pico into Dominic Restaurant/Social Club, with a moderately priced Italian/American menu | Sweet Village. Jack and Grace Lamb, who own the exquisite Jewel Bako in the East Village, have opened the pastry cafe Blue Goose in the same neighborhood. If hoity-toity plated desserts are your thing, head straight to Chikalicious, also in the East Village. It’s a dessert bar modeled after a sushi counter, with three-course dessert menus, such as apricot cobbler with vanilla sorbet, and chocolate tart with bayleaf sauce and blackberry sorbet | A shore bet. Eric Terrow, owner of the seafoodery Fresh in TriBeCa have recently opened the casual Shore nearby | Not to be confused with Shore, Shore House has opened in Stamford, Connecticut, replacing the Beacon outpost. The team behind Windows on the World, Noche, and Beacon, David Emil and partners, and consulting chef Michael Lomonaco, are overseeing the operation. The chef in charge is Tim Armstrong, formerly of Blue Fin in Times Square | Brooklyn bound. A second Paradou has opened in Park Slope. Like its Meatpacking District sister, it features a garden, French bistro food, and a full line of Provençal chocolatier Joel Durand’s truffles | In a pickle. Pickles, Olives, etc. is a new sliver of a storefront on the Upper East Side featuring 20 kinds of pickled cucumbers and vegetables, two dozen varieties of olives, and a few Turkish delights like stuffed grape leaves | Roll up your sleeves and dig into the tasty American victuals at Chick-Inn in the West Village. The space used to be home to Anglers & Writers. Temptations include Black Angus sliders, Milwaukee Kosher hot dogs, and Amish farm roasted chicken, all washed down with Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap. Soda fountain treats come from the owner’s Bespeckled Trout candy shop next door | Hamptons’ hotspots. Notable newcomers to the Hamptons’ dining scene this past summer. Oasis, a hip waterfront restaurant with a beach-club atmosphere, opened in Sag Harbor on the site of the former Inn at Mill Creek. Chef John Donnelly’s modern American menu emphasizes seafood. In Southampton, Belles East is the upscale offshoot of Belles Café at the Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach. While Belles Café is a casual pit stop for Caribbean snacks, its big sister focuses on Cajun cooking, thanks to consulting chef Tom Rutyna. Jean-Luc, the owner of the Upper West Side bistro Jean-Luc, opened the splashier Jean-Luc East in East Hampton. The decor is decidedly St. Tropez. The food is bistro fare with an Asian twist.


Easy come, easy go. Lots of changes in The Gaslamp district. William Sussman has opened Kalahari Cafe, where he is serving southern African food. Tango Mango Latin Grill, which features Argentine steaks, has opened on 4th Avenue in the space that used to be Rubio’s. And after 13 years, the fine-dining Fio’s has succumbed to a new, younger crowd on a beer budget. Local restaurateurs David and Leslie Cohn have taken over the property and promise only that it will not be Italian | Jeff Burt, formerly of Prego and Scalini, has landed as executive chef at La Jolla’s Sante | Aquarella Mexican Grille in the Aventine in La Jolla is closing after only six months. The restaurant will reopen as Sofia’s Italian Table | Riko Bartolome has left the executive chef position at downtown’s W Hotel to consult. No replacement has been named.


Polynesian reprise. Trader Vic’s, which occupied the current Le Colonial space for decades before closing in 1994, may be coming to the former Stars location on Golden Gate Avenue. Hans Richter, president of Trader Vic’s, says the company is looking to open again in San Francisco. The restaurant has many other locations around the world | Come early next year, Charles Phan will open his white-tablecloth Slanted Door in the northeast corner of the San Francisco Ferry Building. At the south corner of the building, Joe Mastrelli, whose family has owned Molinari Delicatessen since 1962, will open a deli in a small space. The original Slanted Door on Valencia Street is undergoing a million-dollar remodeling and will reopen next summer | Il Fornaio founder Larry Mindel has snagged chef Chris Fernandez for his new restaurant, Poggio, in the hillside Casa Madrona Hotel in Sausalito. To prepare for Poggio, which means “promontory” in Italian, Mindel sent Fernandez to cook at Da Delfina in Artimino, Italy | Charming Michael Judge is now running the restaurant at Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford in the Napa Valley. Judge was formerly the general manager at Roxanne’s in Larkspur and, before that, major domo at Masa’s in San Francisco | Forget about Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. Jeremiah Tower’s California Dish: What I Saw (and Cooked) at the American Culinary Revolution (Free Press) will have tongues wagging from Monterey to Manhattan. In this frankly written tell-all, Tower attempts to write the history of California cuisine from a perspective at odds with much of what has appeared in the food press. To say he settles a few old scores with people like Chez Panisse’s Alice Waters and ex-Stars partner Doyle Moon would be an understatement.


The National Science Museum in Ueno Park has a new cafeteria, Musee Basara Ueno, affiliated with the traditional Japanese restaurant Aoyagi. The food, such as sea bream with roasted young vegetables, is decidedly un-cafeteria-like | Tokyo Park Hyatt in Shinjuku, site of our first Friends of James Beard Benefit in Japan coming up this November, has unveiled a new first-floor deli and shop. Among other items, it carries Tom Colicchio’s Craft fruit jam and what may be the only bowl of baba ghanoush in Tokyo.


The Nose has left Yonge Street. Restaurateur Gio Rana removed the giant schnozz that hung over the doorway of his Gio’s restaurant when he sold the restaurant this summer. The new owner is longtime cook Piera Draga, an utterly irresistible Sicilian who renamed the space Zia Piera (“zia” means “aunt” in Italian). The nose now hangs in the entrance of Gio Rana’s Really, Really Nice Restaurant in Leslieville | The latest addition to the College Strip is Bruyea Brothers, where chef Aldo Lanzillotta (ex-Teatro) does a menu featuring curried lobster tart, sugarcane beef, and Duck Two Ways | In the Hope Springs Eternal category: There’s a new restaurant in the high-turnover Rosedale space that most recently housed Tabla. Brian Vallipuram of the now-closed Axcess is cooking at 1055 (the restaurant’s Yonge Street address). “I like a challenge,” Vallipuram says. “I’ll take it one customer at a time” | Accolade in the Crowne Plaza Hotel downtown is gone, along with executive chef David Chrystian. The fine-dining room—where Michael Potters once served only tasting menus—is being demolished to create meeting rooms. Chrystian once made upscale poutine (a French Canadian French-fry specialty made with gravy and cheese curds) in the Canadian bistro Patriot in the Colonnade. Patriot went bankrupt in June | Also suffering from Toronto’s sluggish economy is Sean Traynor, let go as executive chef of Hemispheres in the Metropolitan Hotel. Meanwhile, the newest branch of the SoHo Metropolitan hotel has opened near SkyDome after numerous delays. That means a welcome return for showcase restaurant Senses under chef Claudio Aprile.


Taste the future of DC food with the StarChefs Rising Stars Revue on Tuesday, September 16, 2003.


Aventura, FL
Scott Fredel (Rumi in South Beach) has ventured out on his own to open Pilar, named for Ernest Hemingway’s fishing boat. Fredel, a licensed fishing captain, will feature local Florida seafood on the contemporary American menu.

Richard Sandoval (Tamayo, Maya in NYC) will open Zengo, a Latin-Asian fusion restaurant, later this year | Campagna Cucina Toscana has closed in Telluride.

Monterey, CA
Josh Thomsen is executive sous-chef for The Lodge at Pebble Beach. Most recently, he was chef de cuisine at Simon Kitchen and Bar at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.