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   June 2004


Kevin Rathbun (Nava) will open his long-awaited restaurant, Rathbun’s, in The Stove Works building in Inman Park. Partners include general manager Cliff Bramble and pastry chef Kirk Parks, both of whom worked with Rathbun at Nava. The 110-seat eatery will serve dinner only, from a “seasonal and globally driven” menu | Uno, dos…The Martinez family will open Zocalo Two on the square in Decatur. The new location will also make guacamole tableside | Kelly Clark (Sydney’s Steakhouse) has taken over the former Hal’s Roswell restaurant on Old Dogwood Road with plans to turn it into second Sydney’s. Executive chef is Alvin Reed (Kudzu Café, Abbey) | In a renovated Main Street storefront in downtown College Park, not far from the famous Oscar’s, Kosmos has arrived. With a tin ceiling and bold art, Kosmos offers a chic setting for former private chef Connie Carriveau’s worldly modern bistro menu | Restaurant Eugene has opened in the Aramore building in south Buckhead with executive pastry chef Michael Rudiger (Bones, Bacchanalia, Mumbo Jumbo). Owners Linton and Gina Hopkins (he is chef de cuisine) preside over the rest of the kitchen | Café Nice in Buckhead has closed, as has Gringo’s in Inman Park.


Bagel with a schmear of glitz. After 55 years on Fairfax Avenue, quintessential Jewish deli Canter’s Restaurant has opened a branch in Treasure Island, Las Vegas | Joachim Splichal’s Patina Group has opened Tortilla Jo’s (in the former Y Arriba, Y Arriba space) at downtown Disney in Anaheim. Torr Kelso (formerly Mark Miller’s Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe) is executive chef. The menu was created by Patina Group co-founder Octavio Becerra | The founders of Tengu in Westwood and Paladar in Hollywood have opened Lincoln in Santa Monica, an upscale American steakhouse that also serves a little surf. James Grey (ex-Union) oversees the grill | Raphael Solorzano, opening chef for Andre Guerrero’s Senor Fred’s, has gone out on his own with Lou e Luey’s Baja Seafood Grill on the boardwalk in the Redondo Beach Marina. The specialty of the casa is fresh seafood from Mexico | Nearby on Pacific Coast Highway, Ken Kittivech, one of the founders of the Chan Dara Thai restaurants, has launched Chaba Thai Bay Grill. Chef Art Karnsomprot prepares Thai dishes with a healthy seafood slant | Uma Singh (ex-Nizam) has her first solo venture with Tamarin Restaurant and Tea Lounge in Beverly Hills. The menu reflects her interpretation of light Indian fare | Roy’s in Newport Beach has added a sushi bar under Hawaiian-born sushi chef Lorin Watada | Hans and Patti Rockenwagner (Rockenwagner Restaurant & Brasserie) have sold their casual Marina del Rey Ballona Fish Market restaurant to Sushi Land Restaurant Group, operators of a pair of sushi restaurants in Long Beach and Cypress. Few significant changes are anticipated, and the staff will remain intact. Wolfgang Gussmack moves over to Rockenwagner as chef de cuisine | Berty Siegels seemed to disappear with the closing of his namesake Brentwood restaurant a few years ago. Now Siegels has reemerged in the kitchen of the classic Pacific Dining Car, opened in 1921, on the fringe of downtown | Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken’s Border Grill in Pasadena has closed after two years. The original Border Grill continues in Santa Monica, as well as the branch in Las Vegas.


Mimi goes to Madrid. Mimi’s in the Marigny has opened a late-night tapas bar. Running the kitchen is Mike Hampton (ex-RioMar). Although some of the wines are from Spain, there is also a selection from Argentina and Chile | New on the restaurant scene is the long-awaited La Petite Grocery. The brainchild of local caterer Joel Dondis and billed as a French bistro, this 90-seat restaurant exudes turn-of-the-century New Orleans charm.


Alain Ducasse remix. His (relatively) midpriced eatery, Mix in New York, has a new formula and a new mix master. Chef Damon Gordon has replaced Doug Psaltis. Gordon cooked at Ducasse’s Spoon in London and Blue Door in Miami. Gone are the creatively constructed menu and the petri-dish presentations. | Time to get that car. A behemoth 65,000-square-foot Fairway gourmet market is expected to open early next year in Paramus—the company’s first Jersey location | Much to our chagrin, co-chefs Suvir Saran and Hemant Mathur have left Amma. The team behind the Indian-inspired eatery in Midtown have parted ways with the owner and are looking for new digs to call their own. Stay tuned | Jeffrey Chodorow—currently embroiled in a lawsuit over Rocco’s on 22nd—adds a new restaurant project to his already full plate. He has paired with Matthew Kenney, the talented culinary star behind former hot spots Matthew’s, Commune, and Commissary, who’s been MIA of late. The two plan to take over the shuttered Verbena space in Gramercy Park. The restaurant, tentatively called Pure Food and Wine, will focus on raw vegan cuisine | Chodorow isn’t the only restaurateur jumping on the vegetarian bandwagon. Chef Scott Barton galloped around the culinary globe at Voyage. His new eatery in the East Village, Counter, is a vegetarian wine bar | Peasant digs deeper. Owner and chef Frank DeCarlo has added a subterranean bar below his much-loved Peasant. Cantina 194 (the street address) is DeCarlo’s hand-constructed labor of love, swathed in stone and brick. The communal tables provide a perfect vantage point to meet like-minded foodies, nibble on a selection of cheeses and salumi, and sip great wines | 66 has a new chef. Josh Eden, who traveled the world working for Jean-Georges Vongerichten, has left to pursue his own restaurant project. His replacement is Alan Yu, a transplant from Washington, D.C.’s Citronelle | First press. Joey Fortunato has opened Extra Virgin, together with partner Michele Gaton. Located in Greenwich Village, this Mediterranean trattoria features a variety of luscious olive oils, naturally | New name, but the fish remains the same. At least that’s the party line for Citarella owner Joe Gurrera. He recently changed the name of Citarella The Restaurant to Josephs | McCormick & Schmick’s opened its first outpost in the Big Apple. The seafood-restaurant chain based in Portland, Oregon, is taking over the former Angelo & Maxie’s steakhouse in Midtown | The rather dramatically decorated Vela is a fusion of Japanese and Brazilian cuisines in Chelsea. Chefs Yasuhiro Inoue of Matsuri and Joojoo Kim of SushiSamba have lots of creative freedom when it comes to the food, although traditional sushi is available as well. Beware the witching hour: the tables, set on a hydraulic mechanism, sink into the floor, turning Vela into a lounge | Coming to a corner near you: Daisy May’s USA BBQ chili carts. Chef/owner Adam Perry Lang turns out authentic, stick-to-your-ribs, well…ribs and other fine barbecue fare at his Daisy May take-out shop. Now he’s sending out a fleet of chili carts to serve his signature “bowl of red” around town | Danny Meyer and his Union Square Hospitality Group of restaurants were recently awarded a contract to operate a high-end food kiosk in Madison Square Park. Meyer plans to offer upscale burgers, hot dogs, milkshakes, and alcohol from a 1950s-themed burger shack. His gourmet hot dog cart, which operated from that park for the past three summers, has been permanently shuttered | Beard would have loved them. Beard Papa’s Sweets Café is a quirky Osaka-based chain specializing in just one thing: cream puffs! The large, chewy, still-warm cream puffs are filled with a luscious Madagascar vanilla custard. The company’s first U.S. store is located on the Upper West Side | Nearby Il Fiore has been transformed into Zeytin Turkish Restaurant & Bar. Zeytin, meaning “olive”, is the vision of Greek chef/owner Kemal Binici, who satisfies with classic meze and kebabs | Will oysters Rockefeller be on the menu? One of the most intriguing newcomers to the local dining scene is Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Westchester, a collaboration between Blue Hill co-chefs Dan Barber and Michael Anthony and Barber’s brother and sister-in-law, David and Laureen Barber. The project comprises an elegant restaurant, a private dining room, a café, and a catering facility. In the works is also a year-round greenhouse and garden, soon to provide many of the menu components. The restaurant is part of a larger complex—the Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture—funded by David Rockefeller. That’s our kind of destination restaurant.


Another three-Michelin-star chef comes to Paris. Michel Troisgros, whose name is almost synonymous with Roanne, opened La Table du Lancaster in the Hotel Lancaster, just steps off the Champs-Elysées. The room is elegant, the crowd international, and the food very lively. Frogs’ legs are topped with tamarind, rouget is served with grapefruit and mint, pristine scallop carpaccio is laced with wasabi, wakame, and a dab of sea urchin roe, shrimp are paired with kumquats, gnocchi with Granny Smith apples, and sweetbreads with anchovies. Troisgros calls it cuisine acidulée, which loosely translates to acidified food. Others just call it delicious | Yves Camdeborde, the first haute-cuisine runaway to open a bistro, sold La Régalade to pursue other projects. For those who miss La Régalade, two of Camdeborde’s chefs have opened their own places: L’Ami Jean, on rue Malar, close to the Eiffel Tower; and L’Ourcine, in the not-very-touristique 13th arrondissement | The city’s propensity for specialization has led to two new single-subject restaurants. Pomze, not far from the big department stores, is dedicated to the apple, while in the Marché Saint-Honoré, tomatoes take center stage at Tomate.


Where’s the Square? After 15 years, restaurateur Jamie Petrolias moved his Market Square restaurant, Jamie’s on the Square, to suburban Dormont | Executive chef Jeannine Manint left Tonic Bar & Grill to open a coffee shop in almost-hip Lawrenceville. Single-named chefs Jarrod and Andy stay on in Tonic’s kitchen | Moscow-born Arthur Alkasyan has opened Gambrinus, an authentic Russian restaurant in Uptown. Also on the growing ethnic restaurant scene is Abay, serving Ethiopian dishes | Food from A to Zao. Portuguese native Toni Pais finally opened Café Zao in the downtown cultural district, with Carl Lashley as executive chef and Shane McCombs (ex-Original Fish Market) as chef de cuisine. The Euro-Portuguese menu also features dishes from Goa, Macao, Mozambique, and Timor | Jamie Achmoody, formerly executive chef at Soba in Shadyside, is moving west | Chef/owner Michael Crawford is closing Southwest Bistro downtown | Sad parting. Executive chef Nicholas J. Colletti, employed for 48 years by The Duquesne Club, died in March, just one day shy of his 85th birthday. Trained under Abel Bomberault (who, in turn, trained under Auguste Escoffier), Colletti was one of the most colorful and beloved members of the Pittsburgh dining community.


Cafe Cerise is open on Sixth Avenue in the Gaslamp District. The chef/owner is Jason Seibert, formerly of San Francisco’s China Moon and New York City’s Park Avenue Cafe | Tommy DiMella is the new executive chef at Dobson’s downtown. He comes to the restaurant from Pamplemousse in Del Mar | Pearl is the sister restaurant of downtown’s Emerald Seafood. Located in Rancho Bernardo, the restaurant specializes in dim sum | Sharmlyn and Garo Minassian of Scalini in Del Mar have opened Grappa in San Marcos | Brian Johnston (ex-Star of the Sea, Champagne Bakery) has landed at the new Omni Hotel. The hotel is part of the new Petco Park complex downtown, home to the San Diego Padres | Farewell. Harold Meyberg, founder and director of the San Diego Culinary Institute, died March 21 of lung cancer. Born in South Africa, Meyberg founded landmark restaurant Meybergs in Santa Clara County in the sixties, then later opened the cooking school. His son, David, will run the school.


Mike Davis (Salish Lodge and Spa) has opened 26 brix in one of the fastest-growing wine regions in the country, the Walla Walla valley. The name comes from the unit used to measure the sugar content of grapes | Chef/owner Laurent Gabrel has chosen Madison Valley district for Voila!, a French bistro in the space that was previously Gitano, Jimmy’s Table, and Gypsy. He sold Figaro Bistro in Queen Anne | Dual duties are in store for executive chef Tom Black (Barking Frog at Willows Lodge in Woodinville) as he now also serves as executive chef of the newly opened luxury property Alderbrook, on the Hood Canal (see page 20 for Black’s June dinner at the Beard House) | Tova Cubert sold the famed Madrona neighborhood restaurant Supreme to her former manager Gordon Kushnick (Wasabi Bistro, Hiram’s at the Locks). It has the same friendly staff but a new menu that continues to focus on sustainable organic meat and produce | Kevin Rohr has been named chef of Chandler’s Crabhouse. He previously worked as executive chef of McCormick & Schmick’s Harborside Restaurant and Six Seven at The Edgewater | Tim Ferguson began as a pantry cook at Tulio after reading a restaurant review in 1993. He has just been promoted to executive chef and plans to add more signature Italian dishes to the already very Italian menu.


Marc Thuet has departed downtown supper club The Fifth. Fellow Frenchman J.P. Challet (Bouchon) replaces him as executive chef on a six-month contract. Thuet landed at the Rosewater Supper Club, replacing Richard Andido, who moved to Flow in Yorkville, the new project by Centro owner Tony Longo that replaces the touristy Movenpick | Bloom has sprung up in Bloor West Village. Owner Bill Luele has moved talented Sam Gassira over from sister restaurant Focaccia downtown. Focaccia's new chef is Pedro Quintanilla (ex-Xango, Latitude) | Twenty-five may seem young for a facelift, but not if you're a restaurant. Provence in Cabbagetown has gone downscale as bistro Provence Délices | Jean-Jacques Texier (ex-Sassafraz) has gone out on his own with Batifole in Riverdale | Fran's, the 24-hour diner, is opening soon in the new Pantages Hotel on Victoria St.


Palette at The Madison Hotel has a new chef in James Clark, from Vidalia’s in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The menu will continue to feature 21st-century American cuisine | Andrea Pace (ex-Il Cigno) is the chef at Fiore Di Luna, a new Northern Italian restaurant in Great Falls where Le Relais used to be | Santi Zabaleta is the new executive chef at Taberna del Alabardero downtown | Bryan Bernstein has been named corporate chef at Saval Foods | Eric Ziebold, former chef de cuisine at The French Laundry, was named executive chef of the yet-to-be-named restaurant to open at the new Mandarin Oriental Hotel.


Austin, TX
Shawn Cirkiel has closed his Jean Luc’s Bistro on Colorado Street, but plans to continue catering.

Las Vegas
Get guidance on your ganache and tutoring for your torte at the World Pastry Forum Recreational Program! The 2004 World Pastry Forum Recreational Program will be held in Las Vegas on July 5 and 6, 2004. It is a series of six, two-hour classes taught by successful luminaries of the pastry world, including Biagio Settepani, of Bruno Bakery and Pasticceria Bruno in New York City and Jenifer Witte, Executive Pastry Chef at the AAA Five Diamond Award-winning Renoir, at the Mirage Hotel, Las Vegas. Participants will receive tickets to the 2004 Inniskillin Icewine World Pastry Team Championship on July 7 and 8. For more information and enrollment go to

San Francisco
Exeunt. A number of San Francisco chefs have packed up their knives and left their restaurants. Dennis Leary of Rubicon has decided to pursue other projects and is being replaced by Stuart Brioza, who’s coming from Tapawingo in Michigan. Other defectors include Richard Reddington, who is moving on from L’Auberge du Soleil in the Napa Valley, and Jean Alberti, who has departed Kokkari Estiatorio.

Whistler, BC
Araxi has a new executive chef in James Walt, who returns from sister restaurant Blue Water Café, and a new restaurant director in Martin Repicky, who replaces Andre Thomas.

TV Land
For all those cooking shows that don’t make it onto Food Network, there’s the new Indie Food Channel, really just 60 to 90 minutes of diverse programming.