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   November 2005


Atlanta chef Shaun Doty sold his landmark MidCity Cuisine a while back to John and Tom Cook. But now the restaurant has changed hands again—over to Sean Boyd, Sean Braun, and Scott Kelly. Executive Chef is Lance Gummere, who worked with Doty for 12 years | Fifth Group Restaurants (South City Kitchen, Food Studio) has appointed Todd Annis executive chef of Bold American Catering at the King Plow Arts Center. Annis spent eight years with Dolce Vita Group as executive chef of Araxi in Roswell and Rainwater in Alpharetta. Fifth Group also has plans to open another branch of the popular South City Kitchen in the ever-expanding Vinings area and to launch Ecco, a brand new restaurant concept to be located in the old Atlanta Fencing Club building that will feature a menu of Italian and other Mediterranean specialties | Two new eateries are on tap from the team at 101 Concepts. The second Food 101 outpost will be in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood, and will offer classic American originals (pot roast, turkey tenderloin, pork chops, and mashed potatoes) in a 1920s speakeasy atmosphere. The group is also set to introduce another Meehan’s Public House to the Vinings area | Michael Bramblett, owner of Roswell’s Magnolia Cafe, has opened 946 South in a 100-year-old building across the street from the former Mittie’s location. Chef Margarito Reyes will oversee the Mexican cafe concept.


The Hub’s new food hub: The long-awaited Boston Public Market has finally opened downtown on the Northern Avenue Bridge, thanks to the support of Oleana’s Ana Sortun, her husband, Chris Kurth of the Farm School, and K. Dunn Gifford from Oldways Preservation Trust. Selling strictly local fruits, veggies, and baked goods, the market is only open through this month, but plans are in the works for a year-round indoor site which will also sell meat, fish, and prepared foods | Changing squares. Steve Johnson, formerly of Kendall Square’s Blue Room, is opening Rendezvous in Central Square. Several Blue Room alumni will be joining him, including chef Deepak Kaul, most recently of San Francisco’s Jardinière, and general manager Nicole Bernier of Craigie Street Bistro. (Alexis Gelburd-Kimler will be the new Craigie Street GM.) | After 13 years, the South End has lost one of its most popular neighborhood joints, the Claremont Cafe. Husband and wife co-owners Manuel Sifnugel and Paula Spina have sold the eclectic hotspot to Delux Cafe chef Jim Contreras and Robert Guerreiro, manager of Figs in Beacon Hill. Contreras and Guerreiro will open a new restaurant in the space this fall | Those lamenting the loss of Claremont Cafe can drown their sorrows at Seiyo, a new sushi bar and boutique retail wine shop on Washington Street in the South End. Seiyo is owned by Stephen Yung, who has spent the last 15 years working in various wine-related capacities at Boston restaurants like Icarus and the Federalist. The chef at the 20-person sushi bar is the mono-monikered Haru, who hails from Tokyo where his family owns a restaurant | Lexington’s elegant Hartwell House was recently sold to a power trio: Marty Bloom, founder of Vinny Testa’s, Richard Brackett, former general manager of the Capital Grille in Chestnut Hill, and former Classic Wines partner Robert Hoffman. The team will turn Hartwell House into an American grill focusing on steak and wine. After an extensive renovation, Hartwell House is expected to reopen in early 2006 | From the ocean to the mountains: Chef Ryan Hardy of the Coach House at the Harbor View Hotel on Martha’s Vineyard has moved to Colorado to take up the executive chef post at the Little Nell in Aspen. While the search is on for a permanent replacement, the restaurant has some interim help from chefs Michael Paley of Lucca at the Boca Raton Resort & Club and Joshua Hollinger of Smokin’ Martini in Palmetto, Florida, who was an executive sous-chef at the Coach House in years past. Executive sous-chef Allison Jenkins will stay on | Harried by a stressful day of shopping in frenetic Harvard Square? Never fear, serenity is near at OM, a bi-level lounge and restaurant in the Galleria. Owner Bik Yonjan has selected up-and-coming chef Rachel F. Klein (formerly of Lot 401 in Providence, Rhode Island) to head up the kitchen at the eclectic New American eatery.


Ever since the elegant Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, closed late last year after a 20-year run, there’s been great anticipation for what would follow. Restaurant 162’ has debuted in its place, complete with breathtaking ocean views and an open exhibition kitchen. Joel Harrington (ex-Terrace Restaurant) is behind the stoves serving three meals a day | Joseph Manzare, who was the opening chef at Wolfgang Puck’s Granita in Malibu and who owns Zuppa and Globe in San Francisco, has sold Globe Venice, which first hit the beach back in 2001. The site will be turned into a lounge | Audrey Bernstein had a successful catering and custom specialty cake business that quickly outgrew her home kitchen. Now she has launched the Bluebird Bakery & Cafe in Culver City with partners Vincent Treviño, the business manager, and chef Chris Marble. The home-style food is prepared from fresh, simple ingredients, as are the incredible desserts and baked goods, which include a separate cupcake menu | Third-generation restaurateur Blair Salisbury (El Cholo Cafe and Dona Rosa Bakery & Taqueria) and his Hospitality Management Services have expanded their Pasadena restaurant empire with the addition of a third property, Barn Burner Texas Barbeque. Pitmaster and exec chef Aleccio Leon did extensive research in Texas to perfect his ’cue craft | Garth Washburn is now the top toque at the Fairmont Newport Beach, previously known as Sutton Place Newport Beach. Washburn relocated from the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, Arizona | The youthful Opus Bar & Grill, located in the restored Wiltern Theatre Building, has already experienced an unexpected chef shuffle. Opener Sara Levine has left, and previous consulting chef Mark Dao (who originally developed the deconstructed steakhouse menu) has moved into the kitchen as executive chef. Dao has added a bit more seafood to the menu | The upscale P6 restaurant attracted a lot of attention when it opened last summer in Westlake Village, where fine-dining establishments are in short supply. Now executive chef Robert Lia (ex-Cicada and Bel-Air Bar & Grill) has arrived and revamped the menu with his new American dishes, like porcini-dusted wild Alaskan halibut with pinot noir essence | The high-style Rika Restaurant and Diamond Lounge in the Sunset Millennium Plaza on the Sunset Strip has been shuttered just shy of its one-year anniversary. The restaurant had attracted attention for its menu of progressive sushi prepared by Tracy Griffith (actress Melanie’s half-sister).


Dateline and the James Beard Foundation send our condolences to all who suffered losses due to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Dateline correspondent Carol Lise Rosen is safe, and we look forward to her updates on the progress of the Crescent City as its citizens rebuild their lives—and its restaurants. To find out how you can support victims of Hurricane Katrina, visit our website at


Michael T. Fox, Chef Concierge of the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, recently has been introduced into the prestigious Les Clefs d' Or USA Ltd. Les Clefs d'Or, which translates to "keys of gold" in French, is an organization internationally renowned for its trademark emblem of crossed gold keys which signify guaranteed quality service. | The 4th Annual Iron Skillet Cookoff will take place on Monday, November 7th 2005, from 6:00 – 10:00 pm at Strata Restaurant, 915 Broadway at 21st St. Five New York City firefighter chefs – one from each borough – will go up against top chefs from five of the city’s best restaurants in a battle to see who is the hottest chef in New York. Wines chosen by the New York Wine Growers Association sommelier. The event will raise money for World Cares Center, Inc. to support their signature programs including September Space Community Centers and Disaster Preparation and Trauma Mitigation. For tickets go to | After an auspicious beginning followed by a tumultuous internal dispute, Yumcha has reopened with a new chef, Ten Vong (Guastavino’s, Mercer Kitchen). The stylish eatery continues to bring high-end Chinese cooking to the young and the beautiful in Greenwich Village | Simon Oren, one of the owners of Nice Matin and Marseille, has been busy lately. He recently opened Barbounia in the former Patria space and is planning to open bistro Cafe d’Alsace at year’s end. Barbounia will feature the culinary talents of Matthew Accarrino, whose impressive pedigree includes Per Se, RM, and Olives. The menu will be Mediterranean-inspired | Astoria’s Christos Hasapo Taverna has reopened with a modified theme as Christos Steakhouse. The menu incorporates popular Greek dishes in a classic steakhouse context. Chef Mina Newman, who made her name at Layla and Dylan Prime, is in charge of the food | The Flatiron location of the original ’Wichcraft, Tom Colicchio’s clever ode to upscale sandwiches, has closed after the lease ended. But never fear—you can still get your white anchovy, hard-boiled egg, frisée, and roasted onion fix at outlets in TriBeCa, Chelsea, Bryant Park, and even Las Vegas | You won’t soon forget a name like Kitchen & Cocktails, the East Coast sibling to the West Coast’s Luna Park. Just call it an American bistro on the Lower East Side. Once again, chef Tony Bonacki has teamed up with owner A.J. Gilbert to create signature eclectic comfort food and an enticing list of matching cocktails | There’s been a cocktail revival happening here for some time now. Bartenders have been replaced by “mixologists” and basic pours and fruit garnishes have made way for infusions, elixirs, and syrups. Blame Audrey Saunders, who caught our attention when she tweaked the bar program at the venerable Bemelman’s Bar in the Hotel Carlyle. Now she’s got her own spot, the Colonial-era Rangoon revival Pegu Club in SoHo. She’s partnered with Kristina Kossi and Alex Kossi of nearby Zinc Bar, as well as Julie Reiner and Susan Fedroff of the Flatiron Lounge. Don’t miss the namesake drink. Chef Gavin Citron consults on the menu, but he’ll split his time between Pegu and Maroons Smoke Shack (with owner Arlene Weston), which will replace his now-defunct Citron | Speaking of revivals, Peacock Alley in the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel is back. After a thorough and pricey makeover, the fine dining room reopens this month. The toque behind the stove will be Cedric Tovar (ex-Town and Django) | New York Burger Co. crosses to the West side— Chelsea to be precise—with its second location. Delicious, ingredient-conscious, burger-driven, slow fast food is how we describe it. The concept is a partnership between Madeline Poley (who owned the well-received SoHo Charcuterie in the 1980s) and Spiros Zisimatos (a Manhattan patty-and-bun veteran). Their burger building blocks: Coleman natural beef, brioche buns, applewood-smoked bacon, and Vermont cheddar | Young Sook Choi, who also owns Woo Lae Oak in SoHo, is opening her second modern Korean restaurant, Bann, in Hell’s Kitchen. The focus this time will be Western fusion, as in seared foie gras atop mung bean polenta, buffalo carpaccio, and miso crêpe rolls | Talk about the odd couple. Picture Ferran Adrià, arguably the most influential and imitated chef in the world, teaming up with Lay’s (yes, that Lay’s) to create a better… potato chip? You heard right. At the moment, only garlic and rosemary chips have been manufactured and they’re only available in Spain, but apparently Adrià has been working on some secret flavors that should make their way to our shores eventually | Richard Farnabe is the new chef at Montrachet. He took over for Chris Gesualdi, who had reprised his role as chef there back in 2003 | Wayne Nish, the very talented chef behind March on the Upper East Side, has appeared on our radar. He’s been revamping the menu at Hudson House of Nyack, up north. His signature Asian touch is evident on the American surf and turf menu | Restaurant Sorrel is a charming new bistro tucked into Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. Chef Alexandre Tchistov came from another out-of-the-way restaurant in Brooklyn, Red Hook’s 360. Sorrel’s market-driven menu features sophisticated dishes at gentle prices | Full circle. David Féau’s cooking left us breathless at Lutèce until he quietly rode into the sunset of an Upper East Side neighborhood bistro. He’s back with a bang in the newly opened Cercle Rouge in TriBeCa, serving French classics like moules frites and a sharp leek vinaigrette alongside American-inspired lobster rolls, blue cheese steak sandwiches, and beef carpaccio with feta and dried cherries | And if you consider the lobster roll to be a thing of beauty, then take note of Tides on the Lower East Side. Chef Judy Seto learned from the master at Mary’s Fish Camp, and the experience shows. Don’t miss perfectly grilled baby octopus with tomatoes and sweet corn salad, exceptional fried oysters, and of course, the lobster roll | Then for comparison, head straight to Momoya in Chelsea, which offers a Japanese take on the lobster spring roll as well as outstanding sardine tempura and a winning array of specialty rolls. Chef Chie Shirahata is a Nobu alum and she’s just in time to put the formerly dumpy Meriken space on the culinary map | Liat Cohen and Yaniv Reeis have opened Cocoa Bar in Brooklyn’s Park Slope, an ode in cafe form to their favorite vices: coffee, chocolate, and wine. Chocolate and wine pairings and the signature chocolatte are just two of the many enticements | Five Points gets a sibling. Owners Vicki Freeman and chef-husband Marc Meyer have expanded west into Chelsea with their latest, Cookshop. There’s a glass-walled bar area for people-watching and a wood-burning oven, rotisserie, and grill to handle all those locally raised, sustainable foodstuffs | Notable closings include L’Acajou in Chelsea and Pierre au Tunnel, a 55-year-old French classic in the Theater District | The winds of change. Laurent Gras, formerly of Fifth Floor in San Francisco, is cooking at Bistro du Vent, the French eatery owned by Mario Batali, Joseph Bastianich, and Lidia Bastianich. In addition to his temporary chef duties, which begin on November 1, Gras is also a managing partner | Joseph Cacace (ex-Chango) was appointed executive chef of Il Bastardo, the new Tuscan steakhouse in the Chelsea space that used to house Viscaya Lounge | Charlie Trotter has cancelled plans to open a restaurant in the Time Warner Center, citing budget restrictions and conflict over the concept with the building’s developers | Say chocolate. The 8th Annual Chocolate Show will be taking place in the Metropolitan Pavilion from November 10–13. Featuring 75 brands, 65 demonstrations by top pastry chefs, a Michel Cluizel Chocolate Art Walk, and a Chocolate Spa, this year’s show promises to be the sweetest yet.


Marigold Kitchen has a new addition. Co-owner and chef Steven Cook and partner Jonathan Makar have welcomed Michael Solomonov to lead the restaurant into its second year. Solomonov recently finished a two-year stint as Mark Vetri’s sous-chef at his acclaimed Vetri restaurant | The Northern Liberties food scene has expanded further with the addition of Deuce in the new Liberties Walk development. Head chef is Scott Schroeder (ex-Jake’s, Jones, Brasserie Perrier, and Pasion) | Pelican Fish, an offshoot of Pelican Fish Co., has opened in the Locust Street space where Girasole once stood | Michael McNally’s London Grill has retooled its menu, consolidating the separate cafe/bar and dinner menus into a single restaurant-wide lunch-dinner menu (plus late-night offerings) with lower prices | Misconduct Tavern, named after a sailing vessel, is serving a seafood-oriented menu (among other things) west of Broad. The chef is Chuck Murray, who spent two years at the White Horse Tavern in Newport, Rhode Island, and a year at Lacroix at the Rittenhouse before bringing his best behavior to Misconduct | Daniel Stern, who was chef at Georges Perrier’s Le Bec-Fin, is set to open his own restaurant, Gayle, at the end of November in the space formerly occupied by Azafran | Judy’s Cafe, a lively and long-standing “something for everyone” restaurant, closed recently. David Ansill, chef/owner of Pif, has taken over the location | The apple doesn’t fall far. After many years in chain restaurants, Jonathan Zeigler just opened Jonathan’s American Grille, a stylish casual restaurant in the historic Jenkintown train station at West and Greenwood Avenues in the Philly burbs. Gerald Dougherty (formerly of L’Aigle D’Or and the Sheraton Rittenhouse in Philadelphia) is the chef. Jonathan’s brother, Tim, president of start-up specialists Zeigler Consulting, LLC, is a partner in the venture. Tim and Jonathan are the grandsons of Maurice Henry Zeigler, founder of Zeigler’s Apple Cider, of which Tim was formerly owner and president.


Casa de Pico, a longtime favorite of diners in Old Town, has moved to Grossmont Center in La Mesa after owner Diane Powers lost the bid for Old Town foodservice to Delaware North | Puerto La Boca, an Argentinean restaurant, has opened in downtown’s Little Italy section.


Just a spoonful? Medicine New-Shojin Eatstation (the locals call it Medicine for short) has opened, serving dishes from a centuries-old vegetable-based Zen Buddhist diet that eschews dairy, eggs, and strong-flavored foods like onions and garlic. The serene atmosphere and long, plain benches are designed to mirror the communal seating of Buddhist monasteries. Large windows face Sutter Street and a ten-foot-wide video mural plays a loop of a Southern Utah desertscape. Co-owner Will Petty brought chef Ryuto Sakamoto from Kyoto | Meanwhile, the 20-year-old, 375-seat Harbor Village, one of the city’s few white-tablecloth Chinese restaurants, closed when its Embarcadero Center lease ran out at the end of the summer | After Antidote closed in Sausalito, we weren’t sure if we would get to see much more of chef Eric Torralba, but he turned up at Tra Vigne in St. Helena in August. No surprise really, since Torralba had previously done winery fare for Domaine Chandon | Riding the bonsai-by-the-bay wave, Sneaky Tiki opened with a tropical trinity of bubbling fish tanks, cabana booths, and huge glowing tiki heads. The menu centers around pan-Asian platters meant for sharing, like coconut curry shrimp and luau pork, and proves that too much tiki is never hard to swallow, especially with mai tais to wash it all down.


Afternoon Tea Baker & Diner in Ginza has discontinued its dinner menu, which had featured Jamie Oliver as a collaborator | Akira Watanabe, former Iron Chef contender and food director of Global Dining (the force behind Gonpachi and Tableaux, among others) has opened Kotatsu in Azabu-Juban under his own umbrella. The restaurant focuses on high-quality yet simple izakaya elements with dishes like motsu-nikomi (braised tripe) | Chef Hiroshi Asano now has his own small (26-seat) namesake restaurant in Nishi-Azabu that reflects his French and Japanese training and experience. Think steak frites served from behind the sushi counter | Following the opening of Beige (and the closure of Spoon), Groupe Alain Ducasse has opened Benoît, a French- Mediterranean bistro in Omotesando where pâté meets tagine. Last year Ducasse took over the original, namesake Art Nouveau bistro in Paris. The chef, Massimo Pasquarelli, has worked in various Ducasse establishments, including Plaza Athénée and Louis XV.


Chef in Chief: In case you haven’t heard yet, the first female chef to serve as executive chef of the White House kitchens has been selected. Cristeta Comerford, who hails from the Philippines, had been the longtime sous-chef of previous presidential chef Walter Scheib | Eric Cousin is the new executive chef at Sheraton National hotel in Arlington | Brian McPherson is the chef at Drinx, an eat-and-drink place at the MCI Center where Nick & Stef’s Steakhouse used to be. It’s still operated by Restaurant Associates (which owns the Nick & Stef’s brand). Brian was previously the chef at Butterfield 9 and New Heights | Tony Chittum, previously of Equinox, is the chef at Notti Bianche, where Zuki Moon used to be | Chef Stefan Jarausch is the new executive chef at the Madison Hotel in downtown D.C. | Beacon Bar & Grill in Beacon Hotel & Corporate Quarters (formerly the Governor’s House Hotel) named James Balster as its new chef.


Douglaston, NY

Earlier this year, long-time Beard Foundation member and chef Craig Rutman died suddenly of a heart attack while playing tennis. Only 45, Rutman was the director of Culinary Arts at Monroe College. A love of and gift for pastry took him to the kitchens of many beloved New York City restaurants—including An American Place, Sarabeth’s, and Cucina—before he settled on a career teaching and mentoring younger students.

New London, NH

One New Yorker who’s broadening her horizons is Bridget LeRoy, daughter of the late restaurateur Warner LeRoy (known for his unforgettably opulent Russian Tea Room and Tavern On The Green). She and husband Eric Johnson purchased New London Inn, a historic rooming house in New London, New Hampshire, that’s been in operation under various names since 1792. Jerod Rockwell, who’s worked at Le Cirque and Tabla in New York and Simon Pierce Restaurant in Vermont, is their chef.