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   August 2004


“Where would we be without salt?” James Beard once asked. Chef/owner Jason Dauble answers that question with his new SALT in midtown. Offerings include old-time favorites such as fried catfish and meatloaf, as well as new twists such as fried chicken burritos, blueberry cornbread muffins, and upside-down apple pie | The Cabin Room off Buford Highway near Lenox Road has reopened, featuring Southern cuisine by Sam Buchanan, a shift from the wild game menu in place for many years | In midtown, the former Ami has reopened as Toast, a creative American restaurant | The Sun Dial restaurant in the downtown hotel district has a new executive chef, Borellos Trattatoris, who has big plans for a rejuvenation of this established venue | Atlanta bids adieu to the innovative cooking at Buckhead’s Blaise, Virginia-Highlands’ Tiburon Grille, and Piedmont Road’s short-lived health concept Balance.


After nearly 25 years of pioneering American cuisine at Printer’s Row, Michael Foley has closed his restaurant to “redesign my life.” Ditto for Jennifer Newbury, chef/owner of the acclaimed Fortunato, who recently shuttered her eatery. And after creating a Mediterranean-influenced splash at the hit Pili Pili, chef François de Melogue has quit to hike the Appalachian Trail in the eastern United States. Former Printer’s Row chef Fred Ramos has stepped into his clogs. But what made these chefs leave at their peak? A recent Chicago Sun-Times article, ventured this explanation: “(They’ve) chosen to step out of the industry on their own terms, in order to feed their souls by spending quality time with family and friends. With nature. With themselves. And probably for one of the first times in their adult lives, they’re not consumed with feeding anyone else” | Grant Achatz has amicably walked away from his stupendous three-year run at Trio and is looking forward to opening his own restaurant, to be called Alinea | Another Trio alum, Sean McClain, has opened his second restaurant, Green Zebra, just west of downtown. The restaurant is named after a type of heirloom tomato. While McClain’s other restaurant, Spring, emphasizes seafood, Green Zebra features a vegetable-focused New American menu, including avocado panna cotta with tomato gelée; spicy scallion pancakes with kimchee; and curried eggplant potstickers with pickled cucumber and ginger-carrot emulsion. McClain will split his time between both restaurants, with chef de cuisine Michael Bulkowski helping oversee Green Zebra’s kitchen | After 10 years working in financial services for a large corporation, Lisa Santos decided to follow her passion for cooking. She chucked her career, enrolled in the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, and is now chef/owner of Southport Grocery & Café. Entrées include pan-seared halibut with lemongrass-coconut broth on a bed of sugar-snap peas.


Joe Mannke has closed his Rotisserie for Beef & Bird, a country inn, to write a cookbook. Mannke continues to operate his more casual Bistro Le Cep, which is nearby | Kathy and Patrick Marky have sold their Empire Cafe in Montrose to 59 Diner Inc. | A banquet hall is opening in the old La Tour d’Argent site, to be called The Silver Tower | Hotel Derek has closed its Maverick restaurant and leased the space to the owners of Le Colonial in San Francisco | Felix Aguirre resigned from Mark’s American Cuisine to join The Four Seasons Hotel downtown.


Alain Giraud has been forced out of Bastide, one of Los Angeles’s most expensive and exclusive restaurants, by proprietor Joe Pytka. He has been replaced by the much younger Ludovic Lefebvre (ex-L’Orangerie). Giraud was employed at Bastide for two years before the restaurant actually opened, and has been its respected chef/director for its 18 months of operation | Venice to Venice. Antonio Mure has returned to Los Angeles from Las Vegas, where he was executive sous-chef for Luciano Pellegrini at Valentino at The Venetian, to open the intimate Piccolo Cipriani in Venice. The general manager/partner is Stefano De Lorenzo (ex-il Moro). Look for some unusual pastas from historic recipes, including potato and fig tortelli. The restaurant replaces 5 Dudley (also the address) | Montage Resort & Spa in Laguna Beach has purchased the nearby Aliso Creek Inn on 80 scenic acres from the Brown family. Chef Chris Grodach (ex-Mélisse) has moved over from Montage Resort’s The Loft restaurant to Aliso Creek’s Canyon Lodge American Grill | Brothers Ivan and Marco Calderon (Taco Mesa) have teamed with restaurateur Rene Fuentes to launch the full-service Taco Rosa Restaurant & Bar in Newport Beach. The restaurant’s churro dessert station has a flowing chocolate fountain | After opening Zeke’s Smokehouse in the suburbs 18 months ago, former fine-dining chefs Leonard Schwartz (ex-Maple Drive) and Michael Rosen (ex-Reign) have opened a second, larger barbecue smokehouse in Hollywood in the West Hollywood Gateway | Pastry chef Christophe Grilo now oversees the sweet endings at the venerable L’Orangerie on La Cienega. Grilo arrives from the Michelin three-star restaurant Le Jardin des Sens in Montpellier, France | SensAsian Restaurant, fronted by celebrity chef Martin Yan, has closed its Southern California restaurants in the Irvine/Tustin Marketplace and in Costa Mesa after a year. This follows the death of Hong Kong financier Arthur Ho, the financial backer of the venture.


Anne Kearney Sand, chef/owner of Peristyle, is removing her toque and apron for now. Having had serious health problems, Kearney Sand, with her husband, Tom, who runs the front of the house, have sold the restaurant to Tom Wolfe (Wolfe’s). Both Kearney Sand and Wolfe worked together at Mr. B’s Bistro and then again at Emeril’s | To herald the return of the Canal Street streetcar, the Palace Café is opening its Streetcar Cocktail and Sidewalk Café. Inspired by European counterparts, the café is a gathering place for a cocktail or a wedge of crabmeat cheesecake, perhaps followed by chef Toby Dobson’s white chocolate bread pudding | Indigo, the much talked-about restaurant on Bayou Road, has returned after a two-month hiatus. Chef Jared Katz and general manager Mark Petitfils have revamped the menu and created a less formal atmosphere than before | Gil Birman’s Hookah Café is the latest restaurant to join the happening Marigny Triangle scene. Located in the former Belle Forche space, Hookah Café offers a menu of traditional Indian food, with the dishes served as small plates.


With little fanfare and even less warning, owner Jerry Kretchmer and his partners decided to close JUdson Grill, where chef Bill Telepan built a reputation for his seasonal American cooking with a French accent. No plans for the space have been announced. (Note: As a result Telepan’s Beard House dinner on August 25 has been cancelled.) | Shalom. Solo, a Kosher restaurant that has replaced Saffron in Midtown’s Sony Building, aims to raise the bar on upscale Kosher dining. It’s the latest ambitious project from Syrian restaurateur Joey Allaham, who also owns the popular Prime Grill. Chef Hok Chin has worked at La Caravelle and, most recently, Della Femina. The pastry chef is Morgan Larsson (Aquavit, The Russian Tea Room, Windows on the World.) The menu is Modern American with such dishes as duck prosciutto, tamari-and-miso-glazed Chilean sea bass with truffle essence, and, for dessert, apricot beignets with chocolate. Kosher Kiosk, a takeout shop, is in the atrium lobby | Buon Italia. A New York branch of the venerable wine bar Bottega Del Vino, in Verona, Italy, is set to open this fall. Owner Severino Barzan is teaming with Paolo Della Puppa, who also owns Via Quadronno on the Upper East Side. The Midtown space will feature Bar Quadronno in the front and a replica of the famed Veronese wine bar as well | A few months ago, upscale Indian eatery Amma lost its chefs. Now Suvir Saran and Hemant Mathur have plans for their own place, Devi, in Gramercy Park, is scheduled to open at the end of this month | After a brief engagement, Katy Sparks has left Compass on the Upper West Side. She plans to pursue her own project, while the owners of Compass will re-evaluate their concept | Ilo in the Bryant Park Hotel has ended a three-year run. Chef Rick Laakkonen promises to move the restaurant downtown. In the meantime, David Rockwell will transform the hotel restaurant by November into a Chinese-inspired eatery. The chef will be Yuji Wakiya, who owns restaurants in Japan. Investors include the actor Robert De Niro and famed chef Nobu Matsuhisa | Flatiron’s Metronome restaurant is now Strata, an upscale cafeteria serving classic American dishes. The new chef is Michael Kaphan, fresh from a stint at Zoë in Soho. He’s bringing macaroni and cheese to a new level with black truffles and porcini mushrooms, and has reconfigured Caesar salad by wrapping the Romaine lettuce with pancetta | Medina is a new Moroccan restaurant in Northern Chelsea. Co-chefs Aziz Khrouch and Aziz Nouira, formerly of La Mamounia in Marrakesh, have developed the menu of authentic dishes. A tented garden and fabric-ensconced seating nooks add to the exotic atmosphere | Trading cassoulet for croque monsieur. Jean-Jacques Rachou has opened Brasserie Rachou LCB in the space that used to house his venerable La Côte Basque. The new place is a classic French brasserie, with dark wood, old mirrors, tile, and a laid-back feel | The multi-level Highline is the newest eatery to open in the über-trendy Meatpacking District. The three-story restaurant has a mesmerizing waterfall, which doesn’t detract from chef Peter Pitakwong’s terrific Thai-flavored cooking. Pitakwong is splitting his time between Highline and Peep in SoHo | The San Francisco-based Kimpton Group opened its first New York boutique hotel last month: 70 Park Avenue. Kevin Reilly, an alumnus of Zoë and China Grill, is running the stoves at Silverleaf, the restaurant within the hotel | Sir Terence Conran has hired the company of restaurateur David Emil to overhaul and manage his striking Guastavino’s, the restaurant under the 59th Street Bridge. The changes should be in place by early next year. Emil is responsible for Noche, Beacon, and the late Windows on the World | Lost its spots. The Leopard, a Midtown eatery that has been serving French-Continental fare for nearly 40 years has closed. Proprietor Madeline Lagreco, who owned The Leopard for the past decade, lost her lease | Mini-me. Jewel Bako in the East Village has a baby sibling, located just around the corner. Owners Jack and Grace Lamb have turned their Blue Goose café (which they had opened last summer) into a tiny, less pricey spinoff of the acclaimed Jewel Bako. Like the original, Jewel Bako Makimono is tiny—it has less than two dozen seats; the menu features small Japanese plates and sushi | Co-owner Antonio Bellomo and partner/chef Patrick Nuti have opened the more casual, moderately priced Canapa on the Lower East Side. They also own Petrosino in the same neighborhood | For a stellar takeout sandwich, head straight to Carve Unique Sandwiches in the Theater District. Chef/owner Eban Ross is a French Culinary Institute alumnus who previously worked at Citrus in Los Angeles and Nick & Toni’s in East Hampton, Long Island. The name refers to carved-to-order rotisserie meats that make up the bulk of the sandwich menu; they are served on excellent breads. Lettuce wraps are available for the carb-phobic | For another excellent sandwich, or panini as it were, try the latest Bar Veloce outpost, this one in Chelsea. The same modern wine decor and lab coat uniforms are in place, but with more leg room than in its East Village and Soho counterparts. The all-Italian wine list will have you cheering, “Salute” | Supersize, schmupersize. Kip’s Bay is home to a prototype fast food burger concept called New York Burger Co., which strives to make a delicious fast-food burger from the best ingredients. Hence Coleman natural beef (which gets Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s approval), sturdy brioche buns, and a slew of house-made condiments. Chicken and vegetable sandwiches are also available. New York Burger Co. is the brainchild of partners Madeline Poley, who owned the celebrated Soho Charcuterie in the 1980s, and Spiros Zisimatos, who owns several other fast dining options in Manhattan—Speedy’s, Diner on the Square, and American Burger & Co.


Stephen Starr (Buddakan, Tangerine, Continental) is opening a new restaurant, bar and lush garden in the burgeoning Washington Square area. To create a menu based on global street food, Starr is partnering with Marcus Samuelsson (Aquavit, Riingo). This is in addition to reopening Striped Bass on Restaurant Row, Starr having rescued it from bankruptcy. Alfred Portale (Gotham Bar and Grill) is consulting chef, Christopher Lee (Oceana, Molyvos, Jean Georges) is chef de cuisine | Bruce Cooper, chef/owner of Jakes in Manayunk, has closed Novelty, his Center City restaurant | Stephen Vassalluzzo’s Caffe Costa Diva is the latest Italian-oriented BYOB in the city, joining Bronzino and Mellograno | Thomas Woltjen (ex-Plough and the Stars) is now chef at Port Richmond’s Mercer Café | Ron del Mundo has disembarked from Moshulu, the restaurant in a four-masted sailing ship anchored on the Delaware River, to become executive chef of La Terrasse, now owned by Marc Marlon (Pattaya Grill).


Gregory Schrett and Jude Wargo have taken over the kitchens of Penn Brewery, Pittsburgh’s long-time premier microbrewery | Restaurateur Bikki Kochar and chef Christian Frangiadis (who recently opened Euro-Indian Bikki in Shadyside) have moved into the former Southwest Bistro downtown and revived the bistro concept of long-gone Simply French | Michael Johnson has partnered with Watcharee Tongdee to open the sleek Typhoon in Shadyside. The restaurant serves “New Thai” cuisine, which translates to classic dishes alongside innovative offerings such as linguini and clams in basil oyster sauce | Ram Kondur has opened Indica in Oakland, serving South Indian cuisine | Former attorney Jamie Wallace, with two Ethiopian-born partners, has opened Ethiopian restaurant Abay in East Liberty | Paul Johnson (ex-Alla Famiglia) has opened Per Mie Figlie in Squirrel Hill | Edgar Alvarez (ex-Mallorca) has opened Taco Loco on South Side’s Carson Street. His sister, Gladi Sanchez, cooks | James A. Blandi II, the scion of the Blandi restaurant dynasty (Pittsburgh Playhouse, Park Schenley, and LeMont), has opened the casual Mediterranean eatery Siba in the far North Hills | David “Chef Dato” Kadagishvili has joined The Mansion at Walnut Hill in Connellsville.


Jean-Marie Josselin of Hawaii fame (A Pacific Café on Kauai) has closed his 808 Restaurant in La Jolla and returned to Hawaii to be with his children. Unfortunately, the restaurant never caught on in San Diego | Serving San Diego magazine has made its premier appearance with its May issue. Catt Fields is the publisher and editor. The magazine has a sister publication in Arizona.


Tom Douglas (Dahlia Lounge, Etta’s Seafood, Palace Kitchen) and his wife and business partner, Jackie Cross, have opened Lola in the new Hotel Ändra (formerly the Claremont). Executive chef Mark Van Mulken and chef de cuisine Daniel Braun (Carmelita) fuse Greek cuisine with Northwest products | Christine Keff has closed Fandango, her Latin restaurant in Belltown, to spend more time at Flying Fish | Hippie hangout Still Life Cafe is now the 35th Street Bistro. Owner Bob Day, consulting with Renee Erickson (Boat Street Café), revamped the Fremont restaurant. It’s now offering southern European cuisine by Rene Likitprachacomb (ex-Dahlia Lounge) and Brandon Wicks (ex-Earth & Ocean).


Basically French, but ultimately defying categorization, Bobo’s by Queen Alice is the latest addition to chef Hiro Ishinabe’s ever-expanding Queen Alice kingdom. The menu is “organic.” Bobo’s is one of 11 restaurants in the newly opened Atre building in Shinagawa | Koichi Chatani, 27, is the chef/owner of Ristorante Tanicha, a 20-seat, Japanese-Italian fusion restaurant in Nishi-Azabu. The menu includes such items as saltimbocca of sea bass with sea urchin sauce, and grappa parfait with biwa crêpes | Shigeji Arayama, formerly of the Chinese restaurant Turandot, has opened his own Chinese restaurant facing Shinjuku Gyoen Park. The food ranges from orthodox, such as shark’s fin, to un-, such as foie gras with hibiscus sauce | L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon has a new outpost, a tiny sleek cafe on the second floor of the Nihonbashi Takashimaya department store.


Robert Weland is now chef at Poste at Hotel Monaco. He hails from Guastavino’s on New York’s East Side | Janis McLean is preparing the dishes at Red Dog Café in Silver Spring | Joseph S. Canlas (ex-The Occidental Restaurant) is the new executive chef at Oakville Grille and Wine Bar in Bethesda, Maryland | Jeff Black (Addie’s, Black’s Bar & Kitchen) plans to open Black Salt, a seafood market and restaurant, in the Palisades area of MacArthur Boulevard. Joseph Zumpano will run the kitchen.


Charleston, South Carolina

Ken Vedrinski (ex-Dining Room at Woodland’s Resort and Inn) and Andy Selent (Trio Club, Henry’s) have opened Sienna, a contemporary Italian restaurant in downtown Daniel Island. Carolyn Nugent (ex-NAHA) is pastry chef.

Las Vegas

Wolfgang Puck has opened the Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill at the MGM Grand. Sherry Yard created the dessert menu. The restaurant is managed by The Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group and is owned by MGM Grand.

Sonoma County, CA

The 9th Annual Grape to Glass Weekend in Sonoma County's Russian River Valley. August 20-22, 2004. Canoe down the scenic Russian River, bike ride through the rolling vineyards, taste wine with the winemakers and growers as you learn about life in the Russian River area. Delight in delicious brunches and a down-home barbecue featuring some of the area's best chefs. Visit or call 707-521-2535 for ticket information and additional details. | Sonoma County’s culinary experts will share their favorite apple recipes at the Chef’s Demonstration tent at the Gravenstein Apple Fair on Saturday, August 14 and Sunday, August 15 at Ragle Ranch Park in Sebastopol.  See demonstrations by Carol Kozlowksi of Kozlowski Farms; Michele Anna Jordan - Chef, Cookbook Author and Food Writer; John Toulze- Executive Chef of the girl & the fig; and Chris Greenwald of Iron Horse Vineyards. For more information please call the Farm Trails Office at (800) 207-9464 or visit