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   June 2005


It just never stops: the latest example that Kenmore Square is Boston’s new hotspot is Garrett Harker’s new venture, Eastern Standard Kitchen. (Harker is Barbara Lynch’s former business partner in No. 9 Park, B & G Oysters Ltd., and the Butcher Shop.) Located in the Hotel Commonwealth, the eatery features reasonably priced, homey dishes of the New England–New American sort prepared by chef Jamie Bissonette (ex-Pigalle and Tremont 647) | When in Boston, do as the Romans do. Rene Michelena’s new Domani Bar & Trattoria spans three rooms atop Michelena’s vast Saint, the combination nightclub and restaurant in Copley Square | And while you’re in an Italiano mood, zip over to one of Boston’s other new eateries, Nebo, a pizzeria/enoteca located near the T.D. Banknorth Garden (the arena formerly known as the Fleet Center). Nebo incorporates several regions of Italy into one place: the food is Neapolitan; the chef, Nando Gentile, is from Abruzzo; and the décor is like the urban restaurants of Rome or Milan. Nebo is the brainchild of sisters Carla and Christine Pallotta. Their brother, James Pallotta, is a co-owner of the Celtics.


Finding Nemo: After a multimonth search, Water Grill in downtown Los Angeles has a new culinary team. David LeFevre (ex-Charlie Trotter’s Chicago and Las Vegas) is now executive chef and will advance the establishment’s long tradition of excellence in all things seafood, while innovating the menu with his signature low-temperature cooking technique. Koa Duncan, the original pastry chef at Bastide, will be making the sweets | A veteran chef of the L.A. dining scene, Bruno Lopez (ex-Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel and Raffles L’Ermitage Beverly Hills) is now chef de cuisine (a newly created position) of the Restaurant at Hotel Bel-Air. Lopez will add a French touch to the new menus in concert with Douglas Dodd, Hotel Bel-Air executive chef | The Tower Bar is the newly created, lobby-level restaurant at the Argyle, the classic Art Deco hotel on the Sunset Strip. Collin Crannell (ex-Chloe and Casa del Mar) is making French bistro fare with American accents. The hotel’s previous destination restaurant (located in another area of the property), Fenix at the Argyle, has been shuttered. Future plans for the space have not been announced | Meanwhile at Chloe in Playa del Rey, co-chefs de cuisine Ian Torres and Abigail Torres (not related) are now in charge. Both were previously at Water Grill | Glendale’s Brand Avenue auto row was an unusual location for a fine Italian restaurant when Antonio Orlando (ex-Valentino) opened Fresco Ristorante there in 1986. Orlando has now sold the thriving establishment to restaurateur Armen Markanyan. Few changes are antici-pated; chef Sebastiano Ragusa will still be stirring the risotto, as she has since the beginning, and personable general manager Kevin Brown will continue to seat the guests. Orlando is going to do some traveling and dining in Italy while he contemplates his next move | David Wilhelm’s Culinary Adventures (Chat Noir, Rouge Bistro) is on track to open French 75 Brasserie in a freestanding building later this summer at Irvine’s Tustin Market Place. The extensive menu, designed by corporate executive chef Yvon Goetz, will feature French and American bistro classics. The new concept is based on Wilhelm’s French 75 Bistro and Champagne Bar in Laguna Beach, and will be used as the prototype for expansion outside of Orange County | Veteran restaurateur Jean-Louis De Mori is still tweaking Cafe Veneto, which he opened early last year next door to sister establishment Locanda Veneta (across from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center). New partner Ferdinando De Stefano (ex-Prego Beverly Hills) now leads the kitchen and serves as general manager. The menu is notable for Venetian-style cicchetti, Italian for “little dishes” | Sara Levine is back in a much larger kitchen after the closing and sale of Zax Restaurant. Levine is now at the stoves of Opus Bar & Grill in L.A.’s Koreatown in the landmark Wiltern Theatre Building. The menu features California cuisine and, for something a bit different, deconstructed steakhouse fare | Changes are unusual at the long-running Parkway Grill in Pasadena, but David Tarrin (ex-Roy’s in Atlanta) is now wearing the chef’s whites. Tarrin is steeped in French technique, so expect some Adriatic influences on the California cuisine menu | In a surprising development, partner and top toque Scooter Kanfer-Cartmill has departed the newly opened and well-received Naya Restaurant Moderne in Pasadena less than three months after opening. Ray Luna (ex-Patina Group) now holds the culinary reins. Seasoned general manager and partner Thierry Perez has also resigned | Cafe Capo, chef Bruce Marder’s more casual version of his fine-dining Capo in Santa Monica, has quietly closed after less than a year. Cafe Capo opened without fanfare on the vibrant Beverly Boulevard restaurant corridor and replaced the short-lived, but high-profile Opaline | Michael Roberts, the fondly remembered executive chef and partner of the 1980s “in” dining spot, Trumps in West Hollywood, has died at the age of 55, after a long struggle with a progressive, degenerative neuromuscular disease. Roberts was an early pioneer of eclectic California cuisine and authored several popular cookbooks, including Secret Ingredients: The Magical Process of Combining Flavors. After Trumps closed in 1993, he went on to create the menu at the original Twin Palms in Old Town Pasadena, backed by celebrity investors including Kevin and Cindy Costner. He was inducted into the James Beard Foundation/Contessa Premium Foods Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America in 1984.


One Restaurant & Lounge is blossoming on the site of the old Padrino Cafe on Hampson Street after being closed for several months for a total remake. The new endeavor is the brainchild of Scott Snodgrass, former executive chef at Clancy’s, and Lee McCullough. The two cater to an eclectic crowd, serving dishes like coq au vin with savory bread pudding and beef rillettes with Stilton | Ray Horn, proprietor of the Italian Pie and Slim Goodies Diner, has come up with a new one—Lil Ray’s Diner, which is set to stay open 24/7 | Marigny Brasserie welcomes back chef Scott Varnedoe, who left the restaurant to open one of his own and has returned to the fold as a part-owner.


After fifteen years in the making, David Bouley has finally opened Bouley Bakery & Market. Located at 130 West Broadway, across the street from Bouley and Danube, the three-story facility incorporates a market with top-notch produce and meat, as well as a sit-down and take-out restaurant. The upstairs dining area will double as a classroom, where Chef Bouley and other guest chefs will offer demonstrations. For more information call 212-608-5829 | Koi, the renowned L.A. eatery where celebrities mingle with the hoi polloi, has opened a sexy new branch in Midtown’s Bryant Park Hotel, the former site of Ilo. Chef Sal Sprufero’s menu is Asian-inspired with California accents | Remembering the Alamo: the Turtle Bay hotspot that closed to make way for Douglas Rodriguez’s short-lived OLA is returning. Owners Margo Portela and Manuel Nunez have decided to reopen The Alamo with Mexican chef Adan Cortes, who is cooking up modern interpretations of classic Mexican dishes, like orange achiote-marinated pork shoulder steamed in a banana leaf, and whole-roasted red snapper with adobo and jicama-watercress salad. The finale, however, is pure twenty-first century: chocolate soufflé with hibiscus foam | “21” Club has announced that Stephen Trojahn will replace long-time chef Erik Blauberg, who departed last fall. Trojahn’s cooking background includes the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company | Mixing it up: Mix In New York, the Alain Ducasse—Jeffrey Chodorow collaboration, is now Francesco at Mix, in honor of new executive chef Francesco Berardinelli. The top toque cooked more than a decade ago at the venerable San Domenico before returning to Tuscany. His cooking at his Florentine restaurants L’Osteria di Rendola and Beccofino caught the attention of Ducasse. Now that Berardinelli is back, he is wooing the jaded dining public with his particular Italian flair. Think fresh ricotta soup with herb-crusted red snapper and citrus olive oil, polenta-stuffed tortelli with spicy seafood broth, and his famous green asparagus salad with Parmesan gelato and crushed black pepper | James Beard Foundation Award–winning chef Andrew Carmellini recently left his post as executive chef de cuisine at Cafe Boulud on the Upper East Side. His sous-chef, Bertrand Chemel, will take over the position. Carmellini joins the London-based Marlon Abela Restaurant Corporation, which owns several restaurants there, as well as Gaia in Greenwich, Connecticut. He will be working on a Manhattan restaurant project for the company. Stay tuned for further details | In other notable departures, Jean-Louis Dumonet has left his namesake Dumonet at the Carlyle Hotel on the Upper East Side. He is now revamping the menu at SFA Cafe in the Saks Fifth Avenue department store near Rockefeller Center. (We’ve heard that shopping discount is irresistible!) The Carlyle has not announced Dumonet’s replacement at press time | Patricia Yeo tries her hand at brunch. A new weekend option in Chelsea is the recently opened Sapa. Who would have dreamed that the dramatic, modern eatery specializing in Vietnamese- and French-inspired fare (as interpreted by the celebrated Yeo) would bless New Yorkers with outstanding lemon soufflé pancakes with blueberry-honey butter? Don’t miss the albino Bloody Mary, made with yellow tomatoes and pickled vegetables | More on the barbecue front. R.U.B. (short for Righteous Urban Barbecue) is the appropriately named new joint in Chelsea owned by Paul Kirk and protégé Andrew Fischel. Kirk is a ’cue expert, teacher, and cookbook author hailing from Kansas City. In addition to beef brisket, pulled pork, and St. Louis–style ribs, the restaurant also offers more esoteric options, such as smoked pastrami, Sichuan smoked duck, and deep-fried Oreo cookies for dessert | Yummy Yumcha: Angelo Sosa’s new culinary stomping ground in Greenwich Village is a loose translation of the Cantonese word for “drink tea.” Which is precisely what you’ll be doing with the help of tea alchemist Jin R. She’s China’s first proclaimed celebrity chef/restaurateur who established her reputation at Green T. House in Beijing, My Humble House in Singapore, and Liu in Bangkok. Now in New York, she’s trying her hand in a partnership with Quentin Danté and Spice Market alum Sosa on the upscale Yumcha. Chef Sosa’s menu is a fusion of Chinese and French cooking.


Jack Fisher has returned home to La Jolla. After a brief move to Montage in Laguna Beach, Fisher joins the staff of Nine-Ten as pastry chef, where he first made a name for himself working with Michael Stebner, now chef/owner of Region. Fisher joins executive chef Jason Knibb at the upscale La Jolla eatery | Bay Park Fish Company has opened in the Bay Park neighborhood. The property is both a restaurant and retail operation under the direction of Zenbu owner Mark Muller | Cilantro’s by the Sea has closed in Encinitas. The restaurant had been open less than a year and had undergone an enormous remodeling, which was featured in several local design magazines. Located in the popular Lumberyard shopping center, the space is still vacant.


Rhyme and season: Dennis Leary, formerly of Rubicon, just opened Canteen in Chip Conley’s Hotel Commodore, and is welcoming spring with dishes like creamy pea soup and rock cod with artichoke sauce. The 20-seat restaurant features just a handful of tables and a row of stools lined up at the counter | At San Francisco’s Winterland, named after a 1970s rock venue, food is cooked by the sous vide method—prepared while vacuum-packed in individual portions. Chef Vernon Morales offers signature dishes like poached organic eggs with bacon ice cream, and frogs’ legs glazed with licorice | The big news around town is that Daniel Patterson left Frisson after just eight months and with a three-star review from the San Francisco Chronicle under his belt. Patterson will help chef de cuisine Sarah Schafer, formerly of Eleven Madison Park and Gramercy Tavern in New York, slip into his shoes | Yahya Salih is back with Yaya, his new Mesopotamian restaurant in San Francisco’s Russian Hill. The menu features pan–Middle Eastern dishes, like the pomegranate-walnut fesenjan from Iran | Christina and Franco Sanella, formerly of Pronto Pasta, have opened Rustico in Marin. The 60-seat cafe and bar will be open for dinner nightly serving rustic Italian fare, including housemade pastas | Trend alert: going beyond the beloved Mission burrito and hangover-curing menudo, food from the Yucatan is on the rise in the Bay Area. Four Yucatecan restaurants opened over the last year, the newest called Mi Casa, which replaces First Crush in Mill Valley. Chef Mario Velasquez, of Cafe Marimba, is manning the stoves, turning out Yucatan classics.


The real deal: Goldbergs’ Famous Delicatessen opened in Factoria and now the Northwest has its first full-service authentic New York–style deli. Steve Goldberg replicated his Stage Deli in Michigan and partnered with longtime friend Bill Goldberg to build the 200-seat restaurant. Bob Mesher of Mesher Shing was the architect. The large menu includes ethnic dishes and overstuffed sandwiches as well as contemporary entrées | Belltown Bistro is the latest addition in the BluWater family of restaurants from owners Bart Evans and Dan Anderson. Located in the remodeled Belltown Pub, the place boasts a new look with distressed wood plank floors, soft pendant lighting, mahogany bar, and balcony dining. The general manager is Jose Betancourt, and executive chef is Dennis Dizon | BlueC Sushi opened first in the Fremont district and is now in the University Village. Partners James Allard, Steve Rosen, and Shinichi Miura are the brains behind this new parade of hand-rolled wonders | Don Curtiss, previously chef at Il Fornio, Prego, Assaggio, and Andaluca in the Mayflower Hotel has opened Volterra, his own Tuscan-inspired restaurant, with his wife and business partner, Michelle Quisenberry. Located in the Ballard neighborhood, the restaurant features Italian dishes in a cozy setting that includes warm-weather patio dining | Moving into the role of new executive chef of Barking Frog at Willows Lodge in Woodinville is Bobbie Moore. Executive chef Tom Black will take on a full-time role at the Restaurant at Alderbrook, as well as Alderbrook Resort & Spa | Michael DeGano, previous general manager of Tulio, moved over to another Kimpton restaurant property and is now general manager of Sazerac. Filling his role at Tulio is Jennifer Blades.



After eight months renovating a 150-year-old-building, chef Brett McKee and partners Andy O’Keefe, Michael Meyer, and architect Dan Sweeney have brought the Southern-style hospitality of Oak Steakhouse to a hungry city. The menu combines classic steakhouse fare (chops, strips, and ribs) with McKee’s favorite Italian dishes—penne alla vodka, lobster macaroni and cheese, and prosciutto-wrapped shrimp scampi. The restaurant accommodates approximately 125 diners throughout five dining rooms and a comfortable bar.

Greenwich, CT

Twenty years young: the three-star Greenwich restaurant known as Jean-Louis was reborn last month as a restaurant and art gallery, with an opening exhibit of four French artists invited by chef/ owner Jean-Louis Gerin and his wife, Linda. The renovation took only four days for a complete interior redesign, including a new look for the walls, floors, and tables, lighting, and staff attire, in addition to a new interior layout with a moveable glass wall and French doors that open onto the kitchen, designed to feature a changing array of artists’ works.