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   May 2005


By the numbers: Chef Richard Blais (Blais and Fishbone) has joined restaurateurs Bob Amick and Todd Rushing of One.Midtown Kitchen and Two.Urban Licks to work on several on-going projects. One is likely to be in a new building at 1180 Peachtree where Amick has signed the lease on a three-story, 13,000-square-foot space and set an opening date of April 2006. The plan is for a bar and French-themed restaurant, plus private dining room. Before coming to Atlanta, Blais worked at the French Laundry in Napa Valley, Daniel in New York City, and El Bulli in Spain | Midtown adds a big fish. The Oceanaire Seafood Room is now open with GM and operating partner Joseph Floyd at the helm and chef and partner Adam Newton (Oceanaire, Inn at Little Washington) in the kitchen. Designed by Twenty Below, the 275-seat, high-end supper club has a sleek look and a menu that emphasizes seafood | Bacchanalia expands. Chef/partners Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison are opening Quinones at Bacchanalia. The concept: a daily prix fixe menu, offered in just one seating per night. Quinones will be in a separate room, with both décor and kitchen distinct from Bacchanalia. Dominick Coyne designed the 38-seat space. The menu will feature Georgia-grown produce (some from the chefs’ own farm) and seasonal Southern flavors | No bull: Chef Gary Mennie (Canoe) will open his own restaurant, Taurus, in late spring. Described as New American, Taurus will seat more than 240 guests, have a chef’s table for 12, and boast a private dining room with views of the downtown skyline | Sala gets a new chef. Fifth Group Restaurants (South City Kitchen, La Tavola, and The Food Studio) has announced the appointment of Graham Duncan as executive chef. Duncan was with FGR’s catering division, Bold American Catering, and was previously executive chef at the Pleasant Peasant.


Mini mouthfuls must still rule the restaurant industry as yet another small-plate concept opens this spring. The new Foundation is a lounge owned by two Georges: George Lewis Jr. (ex-29 Newbury) and George Wright (Whiskey Park). Located in Kenmore Square’s ultra chic Hotel Common-wealth, Foundation serves Japanese tidbits called zensai, created by Kenichi Iwaoka, formerly of Ginza and now partner at Osushi (see “Dateline” January) | Just a few doors down in Kenmore Square is the site of a new Jacky Robert venture. After finishing up his consulting gig at Pierrot (see “Dateline” March), Robert teamed up with his old coworker Loic Le Garrec, the former food and beverage manager of the Chatham Bars Inn, to open Petit Robert Bistro. The new spot offers bistro fare with a flair, like endive, radicchio and mango salad dressed in bacon and grain mustard, prepared by line cooks from the revered Maison Robert. A dozen plated desserts are served daily at the separate pastry bar. Sit at the outdoor patio, just below street level, where you can get your sweet tooth on and watch the world go by | A few more doors down Comm. Ave, the Kenmore Square explosion continues. Bruno Galardi-Este and Isabel Gamsohn are opening a third in their wildly successful local chain of Roman pizza joints, Campo de’ Fiori. Campo’s thin flatbread crust first beguiled Harvard students at a Harvard Square location before wowing Boston University scholars across the river. The newest site, located in BU’s sleek new graduate student housing building, is bigger than the other two, includes an outdoor patio, and serves beer and wine | And speaking of pizza dough, Didi Emmons (ex-Pho Republique and most recently Harvard Square’s Veggie Planet) liked her supplier so much that she has gone to work for the company. Emmons is the chef at the new Haley House Bakery Cafe in Dudley Square in Roxbury. The venture is a retail expansion of the non-profit Haley House bakery in the South End, which churns out all-natural baked goods (including pizza dough), while teaching baking and job skills to underemployed and low-income men and women | Siobhan Carew, owner of the North End’s Pomodoro, has opened a second location, in Brookline, right down the street from her Irish gastropub, Matt Murphy’s. Jim Scoon is the owner, with Carew managing. Frank Van Overbeek (formerly of the River Tavern at the Hawk Inn and Mountain Resort in Plymouth, Vermont) is cooking. Though the Brookline site is similar to its North End sister, there is one big improvement: this Pomodoro has a bathroom.


All Things Organic Conference will take place in Chicago, Illinois from April 30-May 3, presented by the Organic Trade Association.Morgan Spurlock, of "Super Size Me" fame, and Nina Rothschild Utne, chair and chief executive officer of "Utne" magazine, will be among the speakers. Visit for more information. | They’ve been lined up for months to eat at Alinea, even though Grant Achatz’s new North Side place is just now opening its doors. In March, reservations were already booked through June. No wonder. Achatz won the Beard Rising Star Chef Award in 2003 and earned a white-hot reputation at Trio before going solo | No, it’s not a typo. Alfred Hsu spelled the light-hearted Golden Budha with only one “d” so no one would be offended. Located in the Loop theater district, this is Hsu’s newest venture since closing Szechwan East. Hsu hopes the prime steaks with Asian sauces and traditional Chinese favorites will draw a devoted following | At the stove: After turning Chicago on to raw food with her Lincoln Park eatery, Karyn’s, Karyn Calabrese has opened Karyn’s Cooked, a second location in River North, in the former Earth Mothers site. Calabrese is dishing out cooked vegan items, along with a rotating selection of several raw dishes.


After eight years with the Four Seasons, executive chef Tim Keating is leaving the hotel and Quattro, the restaurant he as much as invented. No word yet on his plans | Bud Royer e-mailed to say he’s not selling Royers’ Round Top Cafe, though he is still exploring the possibility of a Royers pie shop/market/cafe in Austin | Block party: Mia Bella, Saffron, and Lexington Grill are planning a huge dinner party around the May Pole on May 1. The three restaurants—all located on Lexington Avenue between S. Shepherd and Hazard—will close the street to traffic and set up a single long table to seat 300 people for a four-course dinner with wine | All on the drawing board: Scott Tycer (Aries and Kraftsmen Baking) is readying a new spot in the old Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys & Deli location on Taft. Gravitas: An American Bistro is set to open late in the month with a building overhaul by owner/developer Andrew Kaldis and architect Ferenc Dreef. Plans call for a 200-seat dining room, separate lounge, second floor banquet space and back garden with patio dining. The menu will feature classic, hearty French fare | Aladdin is set to open on the corner of Westheimer and Montrose. It’s from the folks at Fadi’s | Word is that Arturo Boada (Beso) is opening a place in Uptown Park, while John Sheely is looking around the Montrose area for a new restaurant site | Manfred Jachmich signed the lease to the space formerly housing Rotisserie for Beef & Bird and is planning to open Morgan’s Steakhouse | In the peripatetic chefs department: After developing the overall concept, design, and cuisine, as well as serving as executive chef for Inn at Dos Brisas in Washington, Texas, Carl Rynecki has parted ways with the restaurant, effective late December. Before moving to Texas, Rynecki was a chef at the famous Inn at Little Washington | Francis Walters was recently named executive chef at the Sam Houston Race Park’s Winner’s Circle restaurant. Previously Walters had been at Cafe Extraordinaire in the Decorative Center, Rainbow Lodge, and Kemah Aquarium | Bobby Kesee has been promoted to executive chef of Bistro Lancaster at the Lancaster Hotel downtown. He was formerly with Ibiza and Willy Nelson’s Lighthouse in Austin | Congratulations go to Oak Forest neighborhood favorite Doyle’s Restaurant, which is celebrating its 50th year in business. Owner Peter Doyle reminds us that his family’s eatery was one of the first Houston restaurants to serve pizza | And our condolences to the family of Tory Plott, owner of Cafe Toulouse, who died of a heart attack in mid-January. Plott bought the restaurant from Charlie Watkins in the late 1990s and had owned it ever since | Last but not least, welcome to Peggy Grodinsky, the new food editor at the Houston Chronicle. If her name sounds familiar, that’s because she comes here from the Beard House publications office in New York City.


Disagreement over the culinary direction of Tim and Liza Goodell’s Meson G in Hollywood has led to the exit of opening chef Eric Greenspan after only four months. Joseph Centeno has moved north from sister flagship restaurant Aubergine in Newport Beach to assume the culinary reins. The Goodells’ initial concept of offering small plates of seafood and meat to be shared remains on the new menu. Meanwhile, Aubergine will be closed until July to repair extensive water damage from the recent heavy rains and for some needed renovation | The long-in-the-works Brass.~Cap, has launched at last. Brought to you by executive chef Bruce Marder (Capo and Brentwood Restaurant) and his partners, the restaurant now occupies the former Beach House space in Santa Monica Canyon. The idea is French bistro fare at moderate prices in a family-friendly atmosphere. Partner Steve Wallace (Wally’s) has selected a collection of 40 unusual wines from around the globe to be available by the glass, in addition to a comprehensive bottle list | After 11 years at the high-profile Matsuhisa, chef Shigenori Fujimoto has ventured off on his own with the debut of Shige Japanese Cuisine in Santa Monica. In addition to the expected selection of sushi and sashimi, the lengthy menu offers udon, tempura, and teriyaki dishes | Back in 1997 when the youthful, third-generation chef/restaurateur Sal Marino opened his first solo upscale venture, Il Grano, in West Los Angeles, the interior design was done on a shoestring budget. The restaurant recently debuted an inviting new look after a total renovation. Marino pioneered crudo in Los Angeles, and new to the menu is a chef’s tasting of all crudo, which changes nightly depending on what he personally selects that morning at the Japanese wholesale fish market downtown | After three years, Tournesol Bistro in Studio City ended its day in the sun. Proprietor Patrice Lambert has given the space an extensive facelift, including the installation of a trio of Spanish-themed wall murals. The transformation is called Ole! Tapas Bar and opens with new partner Eman Talei. Preparing the tapas and the entrée plates is Richard Crespin (ex-House of Blues), a native of San Sebastian | Executive chef Scott Floyd (ex-Pacific Gold Country Club) is now cooking on the mesquite grill at the original Salt Creek Grille established in Dana Point in 1996 | Proprietor Andre Guerrero has brought in Maria Magdaleno as the new exec at Señor Fred’s in Sherman Oaks. Magdaleno was previously part of the opening culinary team at Guerrero’s other establishment, Max. Representative of her authentic Mexican flavors is parrillada de mariscos—sautéed shrimp, mussels, halibut, and vegetables in a spicy garlic sauce | When executive chef Urs Balmer departed the Regent Beverly Wilshire, a Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, last year after 13 years of service, everyone wanted to know, “What’s next?” Balmer is now the menu maker at the upscale but unpretentious Spencer’s on the grounds of the historic Palm Springs Tennis Club at the base of Mount San Jacinto. Proprietor Harold Matzner re-invented the space as Spencer’s three years ago from what was formerly a coffee shop | A tale of two wine Budds: Maurice Car’rie Winery and the adjacent Van Roekel Vineyards & Winery in the heart of Temecula wine country have been sold intact by hands-on proprietors Budd and Maurice Van Roekel after 21 years as respected area wine producers. Budd and Cheri Linn, Temecula residents dedicated to preserving the appellation’s existing vineyards from encroaching residential development, are the new keepers of the cellars. Maurice Car’rie is known for its wide range of approachable wines at popular prices, while Van Roekel is distinctive for creating premium wines directed at wine connoisseurs and restaurants.


Things are not so blue for Cobalt anymore. Since chef Brack May left last summer, the search has been on for a replacement, but now David English has arrived by way of California. English began his career in New Orleans at Bella Luna in the French Quarter a number of years ago. After a bit of globe-trotting with Relais & Châteaux hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants in France and Spain, he returned to California and worked in a Santa Rosa restaurant that was opened by Randy Lewis, the first chef at Restaurant Indigo in Mid City | Antoinette, a traditional French restaurant, has opened on the site of Sugar Magnolia on lower Magazine Street. The chef is Shaun Holtgreve, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris | Wasabi, the Japanese restaurant in Faubourg Marigny, has a new location in Mid City. Filling a need for raw fish in the area, the menu now offers a variety of sushi along with grilled items.


Get yer fish and chips. Vicki and Christopher Sell, who own the quintessentially British Chip Shop in Park Slope, have just opened a second location in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. Expect the same generous portions of pub faves like baked beans on toast, bangers and mash, and battered haddock and chips | Aquavit the restaurant has now produced its own signature spirit: Aquavit New York. A Nordic spirit, aquavit is distilled from fermented potato or grain mash and is traditionally flavored with caraway seeds | Better start making New Year’s Eve reservations now. Sirio Maccioni has just signed a lease on a new space. Whether or not Le Cirque 2005 will emerge remains to be determined. One thing is clear: this will be the most anticipated restaurant opening this year. Le Cirque 2000 closed its doors in the Palace Hotel at the start of this year. Maccioni’s new restaurant will be located in the Bloomberg Tower on the Upper East Side. Adam Tihany will design the space. Pierre Schaedelin, Le Cirque 2000’s chef, will resume his toque | Tocqueville is planning to relocate up the block in its current Flatiron neighborhood this fall. Owner/chef Marco Moreira and manager/wife Jo-Ann Makovitzky will expand their respected eatery and add a private room. They will maintain the lease on their current space, but they had not formalized their plans as of press time | The graceful and talented pastry chef Claudia Fleming is back at the stove that garnered her much attention and praise. For the next year, Fleming will consult with Gramercy Tavern on their pastry program, hiring and training the new pastry chef and staff | Bill Telepan returns to the restaurant scene and we’re thrilled. Telepan became known for his smart, delicious, modern American cooking, at Judson Grill, which unceremoniously closed last year with little warning to customers and employees alike. Telepan plans to open a moderately spacious, as-yet-unnamed restaurant on the Upper West Side this fall | As if you needed another reason to check out this hot neighborhood. This spring, an enormous Citarella market will open in Harlem, offering 5,000 square feet of pristine fish and seafood, great cheeses, prepared foods, and more | And if you’re cruising through Union Square Park, you won’t be able to miss the recently opened Whole Foods Market. It is hoped that the organically minded megastore will drive additional business to the farmers’ market that takes place in the park four days a week. Some of that additional business will come from Whole Foods directly: it plans to buy some of the raw ingredients for its prepared foods at the market | The first New York City branch of Sur La Table, the national emporium and catalog retailer of all things culinary, will open in SoHo this summer | Sarabeth Levine of Sarabeth’s fame is taking over the space that was once Atlas on Central Park South. This will be the third full-fledged Sarabeth’s restaurant in the City, in addition to her bakeries. A late spring opening is scheduled. Levine is also working on a Sarabeth’s in Key West, Florida | Tutti mangia! Husband-and-wife team Scott and Heather Fratangelo and their partner, Joseph D’Angelo, will be showing off the culinary techniques they picked up working in the kitchen of Union Square Cafe at their charming new eatery Spigolo, on the Upper East Side | Patricia Williams, who was cooking at the recently closed Morrells Restaurant, has a new job. She’ll be the executive chef of Maroons when it opens in Harlem next month. Owner Arlene Weston is adding a sibling to her popular Chelsea eatery, which celebrates Southern and Jamaican influences | Cocktail specialist Jerri Banks, the one-time sommelier of Cellar in the Sky, has finally landed a bar to call her own. Bar may be an understatement—Juniper Suite is actually a 5,500-foot, two-floor restaurant and lounge in Midtown. She’s hired chef Jonathan Lindenauer (formerly of Taj and Jean Georges) to create an equally fashionable menu | Shaburi is a new Japanese restaurant in Murray Hill. Flying in the face of the recent sushi craze, Shaburi specializes in the cooked segment of the Japanese culinary repertoire: shabu shabu and sukiyaki. The highlight of cooking your own meal at the table is the inventory of premium ingredients available: lobster, kurobuta pork, and matsuzaka beef, among others. House sushi rolls are offered cooked as well—grilled, tempura-battered, or fried.


Chef/partner Mino Fazio opened Ciao Baby, just off Market Square, downtown, in the space that previously housed Jamie’s on the Square. The menu offers carefully prepared Italian | Owner Domenic Branduzzi opened a second Piccolo Forno in Lawrenceville. Domenic is the son of Antonio and Carla Branduzzi, who own the first restaurant in the Strip District | Also in Lawrenceville: Josephine La Russa-Impola opened River Moon Cafe. The menu ranges from classic steak to modern Italian, Asian, and global fusion | The Pascarelli Family sold their namesake Mt. Washington restaurant. The new name is Bella Vista, but the former staff and menu carried over to the current operation | The expansion of Phipps Conservatory, in Oakland, introduced the smart Cafe Phipps, staffed and catered by the big Burrito Restaurant Group | Columbus-based Mitchell’s Fish Market opened its second Pittsburgh location in the Galleria, in Mt. Lebanon | With the retirement of chef Susie Treon, there’s a new culinary team at the Frick Cafe in Point Breeze. Executive chef Bill Phillips and sous-chef Cory Hughes have also introduced an expanded menu.


Soleil @ K is the new wine country– themed restaurant at the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter | Hotel openings continue in North County at the La Costa Resort and Spa. The fine dining Bluefire Grill has opened under the direction of chef Scott Diehl. Diehl comes to the Carlsbad resort from Prime 10 Steakhouse in Del Mar | Welcome Aaron Daily, the new chef at the Prince of Wales at Coronado’s Hotel Del Coronado | Indulgence, a sugar- free bakery, has opened in University Heights. With beach season upon us, the lines are out the door. | Café Chloe is the newest addition to the East Village development. The tiny French bistro is open all day, with Katie Grebow behind the stove. Grebow comes from downtown’s W Hotel | Jesse A. Paul (ex-Top of the Cove in La Jolla) has been named executive chef at Star of the Sea, downtown.


In February, Christopher Douglas opened Kitchen, a quaint 60-seat California-style restaurant in the North Bay. Douglas, a former cook at Foreign Cinema in San Francisco, uses seasonal ingredients in dishes like wild Columbia River steelhead with artichoke, baby carrots, and meyer lemon for the spring menu | Also up north, diners are excited to see Bistro V take over the defunct Chez Peyo in Sebastopol. Rick Vargas, who was the executive chef at vegetarian Stoa in Palo Alto, offers French-Italian favorites, but don’t be surprised to catch a few Peruvian dishes on the menu, given his own background. And since Vargas’s wife is a vegetarian, there’s bound to be some good choices for herbivores | Charles Phan of the Slanted Door now offers customers another way to sample his wares, since your hair might go gray waiting for reservations. Out the Door, the new kiosk in the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market, might not sell Phan’s famous shaking beef, but it does offer his eternally popular spring rolls. Out the Door also sells jook, salads, and dumplings to eat on the go | Last month we reported that Paul Arenstam was leaving the Grand Cafe to go to Americano in the Hotel Adagio. Now that it has opened, this Chip Conley and Pascal Rigo–backed restaurant is serving Cal-Italian dishes like grilled New York steak involtini with trumpet mushrooms and barolo sauce | A new chef de cuisine has started at the French Laundry—27-year-old Corey Lee from Seoul, Korea. He’s replacing Eric Ziebold, who went to open CityZen in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in D.C. Lee will be privy to the new technology that Thomas Keller is putting in both his French Laundry and Per Se (New York City) kitchens—teleconferencing—which will enable chefs to learn new dishes on both coasts | A new restaurant opened in March near Keller’s California neighborhood. Nick Peyton and chef Douglas Keane, who also own Market in Napa, opened Cyrus in the new Les Mars Hotel | Foie gras mecca Sonoma Saveurs closed in March due to lack of business | Trend alert: The Chicagoans must be heading west in hordes, bringing their venerable stuffed-crust pizza. Now everyone can grab a piece of the pie in neighborhoods all over the Bay Area. Zachary’s in Berkeley has long been a favorite, but locals and displaced Midwesterners alike appreciate Little Star, a hip spot in San Francisco, and Patxi’s in Palo Alto.


Enoteca Norio has moved from its location in Kagurazaka to Yotsuya-Sanchome. The vegetables are all organic, of course, and local too; they come from chef Norio Saito’s own home garden | Yusuke Iwasaki, formerly of the Hotel New Otani’s restaurant Tour d’Argent, has hung out his own (prix-fixe) sign at Applaudit Yusuke, in Ichibancho | After working at Matsushita, a kappo restaurant in Waseda, Satoru Yamamoto has opened the Zen minimalist and almost macrobiotic Gyotokonsai Yamamoto | French restaurant Treff Miyamoto has moved from Nishi-Azabu to Roppongi | In Nishi-Azabu, Dal-Matto’s kitchen is headed by Masato Hirai, a graduate of La Bettola. Although his style is ostensibly Italian, chef Hirai uses local ingredients, such as yazu, as much as possible. The restaurant does not have a menu—it’s strictly an omakase establishment.


It may be difficult to pronounce, but our taste buds certainly know how to translate the Brazilian version of slow-roasted meats. Fogo de Chao Churrascaria is the latest entry into the D.C. restaurant scene, with plans to open in November in the former Planet Hollywood location downtown | There is new ownership at Tel Aviv Cafe in Bethesda. Former general manager Pete Panagiotopoulos and his cousins, Dimitri and Constantinos Moshovitis, plan to bring back the Mediterranean menu. Dimitri, former chef at Old Hickory Grill in Rockville, is the chef, Pete will continue to run the front of the house, and Constantinos will run the bar business. The trio will decide on a new name soon | Mike Benson is a fan of both literary and culinary arts. He brought El Camino Real to Shaw and plans to open Bar Pilar, named for Ernest Hemingway’s fishing boat in Cuba, as well as for the female character in For Whomthe Bell Tolls. The retro 1950s diner will serve Cuban taquitos, meatloaf, and burgers. The bar may look familiar to some billiards buffs, as he bought it at a Babe’s Billiards auction.


Greenwich, CT

Gaia, the sumptuous grown-up restaurant in Greenwich, Connecticut, owned by the Marlon Abela Restaurant Corporation, has just appointed Olivier Flosse as corporate wine director. Prior to this position, Flosse was the wine director for Café Boulud and was a sommelier under Jean-Luc Le Dû at Restaurant Daniel, both in Manhattan.

Goshen, VT

Blueberry Hill Inn in the Green Mountain National Forest has just announced a series of “Baking Weekends” throughout the year. This month, it’s scheduled for Mother’s Day weekend. The inn’s package includes a two-day stay, breakfasts, Saturday lunch, four-course rustic dinners, baking instruction, takeaway baked goods, and a gift bag. Sherri Maxman, a New York City–based baker and consultant, will be teaching the baking class. Children 6-12 are welcome as well.