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   May 2006


Hot turf for cool surf: Here To Serve has announced Strip Steaks and Sushi at Atlantic Station. The opening, which expands the Tom Catherall empire to seven restaurants, is in the hottest food and retail real estate to hit the Atlanta dining scene since Midtown’s renaissance. The chef is David Silverman, who previously worked at Catherall’s Prime in Lenox Square. Expect atypical dishes like brown rice sushi and unwrapped summer roll with no shrimp and pork | George and Toni Ippolito, along with partner FrankGenovese, are opening another location of their multiunit neighborhood Italian eatery, Ippolito’s, in Norcross on Peachtree Parkway. The Alpharetta location will be closing | Husband and wife chef team Joseph Truex (ex-Château Élan Winery & Resort) and Mihoko Obunai (formerly of NYC’s Zutto, La Caravelle, Bayard’s, and Guastavino’s) have opened Repast, a neighborhood restaurant serving New American cuisine | Matthew Hughes is the new executive chef at Village Tavern in Alpharetta, relocating from the Village Tavern outpost in Denver, which he helped open. He replaces former chef Albert Charles. The updated menu includes rock shrimp fritters with chipotle, and ten-spice salmon with couscous and roasted almonds | The Cafe at East Andrews has named Diana Watkins executive chef. A graduate of the culinary program at the Atlanta Art Institute, Watkins previously worked under Guenter Seeger at Seeger’s and was chef de cuisine at Sun In My Belly specialty catering.


Cambridge has been on a restaurant rollercoaster of late. First, the beloved Irish pub Plough and Stars suddenly and mysteriously closed, even after owner George Crawly successfully raised the money needed to soundproof the building in response to neighborhood complaints—and after the community rallied to save the 35-year-old low-key hangout. Then in mid-March, the Plough reopened its doors under new owners Gabriel O’Malley and Brendan Curtis. The duo renovated the space and the menu, which now focuses on bistro fare with an Irish twist, serving dishes like Guinness-brined roast beef with onion-date jam and Roquefort. The new Plough is now open for dinner as well as lunch and weekend brunch, and Curtis (ex-Pomodoroand Washington Square Tavern) is the chef | Another Cambridge landmark didn’t fare so well. Harvard Square’s Iruna, the homey, Spanish taberna famous for its garlic soup, closed this past winter after 45 years. But the dynamic duo of executive chef/owner Eric Wernsing (ex-Blackfin) and general manager/pastry chef Jennifer Pearson (ex-Blackfin, Tea Tray in the Sky, and Great Bay) have opened a new restaurant in its place called Conundrum, with a global menu of French, Italian, Asian, and New American influences | Across the river in Brookline, it was a true family affair for Jeremy Sewall when he opened Lineage in March. After Sewall (ex-Great Bay) took over the old Lucy’s space, he did some research into the origins of Sewall Street a block away and discovered the street was named after Samuel Sewall, a distant relative who had owned most of Brookline in the late seventeenth century. But Jeremy’s ancestors aren’t the only family members connected to the new place. His father helped renovate, and wife Lisa (ex-L’Espalier) is the pastry chef | The Ladder District neighborhood, which has grown in fits and starts, has blossomed once again with Ivy, a three-level restaurant in the space formerly occupied by the long-closed Limbo. The new hotspot features Southern Italian small plates created by Joshua Breen, formerly of Bricco.


Deutsch spark? With the closings of Zum Deutschen Eck, Golden Ox, Salzburger Hof, and most recently Berghoff (after 107 years!), you’d think that the light had gone out of Chicago’s once-thriving German restaurant scene. But sauerkraut be saved! Uberstein is slated to open this month near Wrigley Field. The beer garden will serve homemade bratwurst, Bavarian pretzels, and schnitzel sandwiches with tap beer imported from the Hofbrauhaus in Munich. Partners Mike Matuschka and Joe Vartanian, who also own the clubs Crobar and Blu, claim their eatery is “über-German” | If you want something done right…When it came to finding a beef supplier for his new namesake restaurant, David Burke’s Primehouse, chef David Burke decided to breed his own livestock. He bought a $250,000 Black Angus bull named Prime, who now lives on a ranch in Kentucky where he studs cattle that will give birth to offspring fated for the plates of the new steakhouse. Burke even plans to showcase the pedigree papers on the back of the menu | Adios, Chicago: chef Generoso Bahena has closed the last of his restaurants, Chilpancingo. Bahena, who worked at Rick Bayless’s Frontera Grill for 12 years, had opened the critically acclaimed (and hard to pronounce) Ixcapuzalco and Mi Sueño SuRealidad. He’s now running the kitchen at Malverde in Lynwood, California, and is working on projects in Las Vegas and elsewhere | Thyme passes: It’s been eight years since John Bubala began serving his take on French cuisine at Thyme, so he decided to spice up his life by relaunching the restaurant as Timo (Italian for “thyme”). Look for rustic dishes like spit-roasted rabbit with housemade papparadelle, and chicken with lemon, garlic, and barley in porcini sauce | Japas, a Japanese version of tapas, is the bill of fare at the newly opened Wakamono on north Broadway in the former Valhalla Wine Shop site. Menu items include prosciutto with ponzu sauce and red snapper sashimi with truffle oil, along with traditional sushi | Though chefs Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand are staying true to their popular eatery, Tru, they have also joined Cenitare Restaurant Group to launch more restaurant projects. Look for fall openings of Osteria di Tramonto and Tramonto’s Steak and Seafood in a new Westin Hotel in Wheeling.


Rooms with a view that also have serious culinary credentials are not the norm in Los Angeles, so the pending debut of West on the 17th floor of the renovated Hotel Angeleno in Brentwood has been greeted with intense curiosity. This is the first SoCal venture for San Francisco–based Joie de Vivre Hospitality, known for destination restaurants at quirky properties. Chef Josh Moulton (ex-CB5 Restaurant Group) interprets Italian steakhouse fare, serving dishes like Florentine prime T-bone steak. And yes, every table has a striking vista | The secret is out. Andre Guerrero, the chef/proprietor of both Max and Señor Fred in the San Fernando Valley has been quietly perfecting his recipe for house-cured, spiced pastrami for a number of years. His applewood-smoked creation now fills premium sandwiches at the fast, casual, and stylish Oinkster in Eagle Rock, which was previously Jim’s Burgers (a former long-running local dive of note) | A rich slice of Manhattan’s Flatiron District has been transported to Brentwood with the opening of the first branch of Maury Rubin’s famed City Bakery in the quaint Brentwood Country Mart. All of the original’s revered pastries are on the menu, as well as the outrageously sinful hot chocolate and savory pressed sandwiches. Rubin is committed to staying in Los Angeles for the first year to personally oversee the operation | Chef Kevin Kathman, who trained under Thomas Keller and Joachim Splichal in Northern California, has relocated to the resort desert community of La Quinta with the launch of Blend Restaurant. Wife and partner, Kori, is the pastry chef. Expect contemporary renderings of classic American fare, like rabbit with lemon thyme gnocchi and braised Swiss chard | Gino Angelini’s chef de cuisine at La Terza Restaurant, Jason Travi, has moved on after a year and a half. Now simmering the sauces is Danilo Angelini (no relation), who previously worked for Gino at Vincente. Travi is now cooking in Italy and plans to return to Los Angeles to launch a new restaurant | Michael J. Owens is the new executive pastry chef at the Newport Beach’s Island Hotel. Owens previously worked with the hotel’s exec, Bill Bracken, for eight years when they both cooked at the Peninsula Beverly Hills | In an unusual development, Rodelio Aglibot, the high-profile opening executive chef at the trendy Yi Cuisine in Los Angeles, has sold his partnership interest and departed the restaurant after less than two years. Following a three-month global culinary tour, Aglibot plans to return to Los Angeles and embark on a new venture that’s still under wraps | Aloha: BobRichards (ex–Disneyland Hotel) is adding some Hawaiian spirit to the already island-themed menus at the Plantation House Restaurant (December Dateline) on the grounds of the Maurice Car’rie Winery in the Temecula Valley wine country.


Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse, the widely popular New Orleans restaurant, plans to reopen May 1. The restaurant was closed due to severe damage from Hurricane Katrina. Located at 716 Iberville in the French Quarter, Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse will initially serve dinner Wednesday through Sunday, but plans to expand service soon. For reservations call 504-522-2467 | Stay tuned to Dateline next month, as we resume reports on Crescent City restaurant news.


Star Chef Marcus Samuelsson welcomes a pair of esteemed chefs from the Raffles Hotel in Singapore for a celebration of Southeast Asian cuisine at Aquavit May 16 – May 21. Samuelsson will turn over the stoves for a few days to Raffles’ Executive Chef Kristoffer Luczak and Sous Chef Calvin Soh. This duo will present a series of signature à la carte dishes from Singapore and Southeast Asia for both lunch and dinner in the Café (in addition to Aquavit’s daily menus). Aquavit is located at 65 55th Street, New York, NY. Call 212-307-7311 for reservations and more information | With his restaurants Marseille, Nice Matin, and Pigalle, Simon Oren takes New Yorkers on a culinary tour of France. The next stop is Cafe D’Alsace, his latest eatery on the Upper East Side. Philippe Roussel (ex-Gavroche and Chelsea Bar and Bistro) is the chef | When the Spotted Pig opened to instant acclaim, the eatery made gastropub the fashionable term to describe something that wasn’t quite a café, restaurant, wine bar, or lounge. The latest gastropub to come along is KitchenBar in Park Slope, where juicy burgers (as in three-cheese sliders), roasted chicken, classic paella, and a charitably-minded art gallery are all the work of chef Christopher Lusk, a New Orleans transplant, and owner Christine Iu | Another Slope option is Little Dishes, where grazing is optional. The husband and wife team of chef Colin Wright and Mira Friedlaender created this meze-inspired American jewel as a culinary tribute to her Turkish roots. A few gems of note: grilled baby octopus with fennel salad, and salt cod fritters with celery root and caper-lemon aïoli | We may never live to dine at the famously inaccessible Rao’s in East Harlem, but now we can at least get close with Destino in the East Side’s Turtle Bay neighborhood. Owner and frequent Rao’s diner Eytan Sugarman enlisted Rao’s former chef, Mario Curko, to create specialties like veal parmigiana, meatballs, and seafood salad | Manhattan mettle: As the executive chef for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Costas Tsingas fed the masses. Now he has a more manageable audience at Kellari, the new Midtown taverna that replaces the quirky Torre di Pisa. A Mediterranean-heavy wine list offers a wide variety of options to go with rustic favorites like chicken with artichokes, green olives, and lemon | The well-regarded Lower East Side Italian Petrosino and the nearby Canapa have both closed. Chef Patrick Nuti departed for Osteria del Circo back in October and owner Antonio Bellomo is taking some time to rethink the concepts | In other LES news, 71 Clinton Fresh Food has shut its doors. The restaurant was Wylie Dufresne’s old stomping ground before he moved on to more esoteric cooking at nearby WD-50. When Jason Neroni took the reins, he continued the elegant, market-driven cooking | ‘21’ Club chef Stephen Trojahn has departed for South Carolina. Chef de cuisine John Greely has taken over the top spot | El Centro’s addictive Mexican street food—think soft and hard tacos, enchiladas, chilaquiles, and empanadas—is produced by Jorge Pareja, who also oversees the more upscale Hell’s Kitchen. The latter is moving into a larger space in the same neighborhood | And speaking of larger spaces, Marco Moreira and Jo-Ann Mokovitzky have recently finished moving Tocqueville to a much grander space not far from its original location near Union Square. The new spot offers a dining room, lounge, and private dining area with balcony. The chef de cuisine is George Mendes and the new menu has elevated the restaurant’s market-driven focus to luxurious new heights | It might not be the same as a meal at Per Se, but a snack at Bouchon Bakery is every bit as worthy of a trip to the Time Warner Center. Based on Thomas Keller’s original take on café and bakery fare on the West Coast, the Gotham sister offers ethereal croissants, divine savory tartines, and tempting takeout | A pair of Jacks: Jack is the new French bistro in Greenwich Village helmed by chef John Hesse. Owner Julie Weprin (who also owns Bridge Cafe near South Street Seaport) named it in honor of her father. Meanwhile at Jacques, the NoLita offshoot of Jacques Brasserie on the Upper East Side owned by Jacques Ouari, the rustic menu features Mediterranean dishes like tagine of shrimp and mussels, and lamb shank with creamy polenta | Opened quietly last fall by Valerie Malfetano in the Meatpacking District, Valbella is an offshoot of the upscale original in Greenwich, Connecticut. Tall ceilings, colossal flower arrangements, jacketed waiters, and an endless wine list complement a menu full of unrestrained luxury, with combinations like braised veal chop with morels, onion agrodolce, and broccoli rabe in a sage sauce | Creative Indian is what you’ll find at Moksha in Tribeca. Chef Peter Beck has cooked around the globe, but his stint at Tamarind in the Flatiron must have rubbed off. He’s putting a tandoor oven to good use, turning out succulent duck breasts, quail, and Cornish hens | What do you get when you put an Algerian restaurateur and a Tunisian chef together? Nomad in the East Village. Restaurateur Mehenni Zebentout and chef Sami Toujani have created this rustic tavern that features traditional French–North African dishes like brik (a crispy Tunisian phyllo turnover filled with tuna, eggs, potatoes, capers and olives) and a deliriously tender braised lamb shank with prunes and toasted almonds | The home fires are burning bright at David Burke & Donatella. Chef David Burke has announced the appointment of David Amorelli as chef de cuisine and Richard Bies as pastry chef. The appointments will help chef Burke focus on his soon-to-open restaurants in Chicago (see above) and Las Vegas. Amorelli comes to Burke after ten years as executive chef at Cite, the French-American steakhouse in Midtown. Bies joined the team from the celebrated Spiced Pear restaurant at the Chanler Hotel at Cliff Walk, a boutique hotel in Rhode Island.


News from the Rancho Bernardo Inn: Chef de cuisine Gavin Kaysen of El Bizcocho, the Inn’s fine-dining room, is a national finalist in the Bocuse d’Or competition. Kaysen will go up against two others contending for the top U.S. spot in Chicago later this month. The winner goes on to the international competition in Lyon, France, in January 2007. Also, Mark Eberwein is the new food and beverage director for the Inn | After just a year, Deborah Schneider has left her post as executive chef of Jsix at the Hotel Solimar, San Diego’s hot Kimpton hotel in downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter. She moves on to the executive chef position at the Del Mar Race Track, where Premier Catering runs the foodservice. Schneider’s replacement is Christian Graves, who comes to San Diego from Farallon in San Francisco. The menu will change to a more Mediterranean concept | Lawrence Abrams is the new chef at Thee Bungalow in Ocean Beach. The long-time San Diego institution was recently purchased by the Cohn Restaurant Group.


Batter up! The restaurant row on SoMa’s Fourth Street near Giants stadium is getting a sweet new addition. Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake will open Orson—as in Welles—in October. The place is still in the design phase, but it will be lofty, with a fun warehouse vibe rolled into a sexy living room atmosphere. Design is by Zack/De Vito, famous for nearby Bacar and Tres Agaves. Expect Falkner to pull out all the stops with a chocolate sommelier and interactive and composed desserts. She’ll also be designing a savory menu | Bay Area restaurants have seen a flurry of recent chef changes. Aaron Zimmer stepped in for Peter Rudolph as chef de cuisine at the Ritz-Carlton, HalfMoon Bay. He was most recently at CityZen in Washington, D.C., where he was sous-chef. His menu is firmly in place at the property’s upscale Navio and the more casual Conservatory. Meanwhile, Rudolph is the new executive chef at Campton Place in the city, taking over where Daniel Humm left off when he moved to New York (April Dateline) | David Cohen is now executive chef of the popular Scala’s Bistro, replacing the long-gone Staffan Terje. Meanwhile, Terje is working on opening his own San Francisco restaurant. Cohen was most recently a chef/instructor at the Professional Culinary Institute in Campbell. He has plans to refresh the rustic Italian menu | Bay Area (and now New York and Las Vegas) icon Thomas Keller has two projects on the drawing board to keep his already busy life, well, busier. He’s planning to open Bouchon Boucherie, a new meat shop, and start a catering company up Napa way by next winter. The boucherie will open across from his bakery in the Vintage 1870 complex. The catering operation, a collaboration with Yountville’s Vintage Inn and Villagio Inn & Spa, will be called Bouchon Private Dining and will be able to serve country French/bistro cuisine to up to 600 people at once | In Marin, restaurateur Shahram Bijan opened Ora in the Mill Valley restaurant space that originally held First Crush, then Mi Casa. The menu will feature eclectic pan-Asian fare in shared-plate portions. Look for dishes like unagi spring rolls, pork dumplings with truffles, and a lusty five-spice duck confit | After 86 years, the historic Gold Spike in North Beach closed, leaving us with one less watering hole in which to slurp cioppino. Disputes with the landlord over retrofitting and deposits led to owner Paul Mecchetti’s decision to close. Three generations of the Mechetti family have run the Gold Spike since it opened in 1920.


It’s trendy these days to take it down a notch. Michel Richard is doing just that by signing a deal to open a casual restaurant in the District. Central will serve his version of burgers—think tuna and lobster as well as beef. The 10th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW site is sure to add to the growing popularity of the area, which is already home to TenPenh and Fogo de Chao | Sidra Forman, renowned for Rupperts (with her brother Kenan and friend Derrick Bullock) and later Viridian, is now at Vegetate on Ninth Street NW in Shaw, near the Convention Center. Owners are Jennifer and Dominic Redd. The new executive chef at Viridian is Antonio Burrell, formerly of Bistro Bis | Bedrock Management Co. has bought the building that houses the Source Theater. The plan is to open Standard Bar & Grill by fall. In addition to affordable food and drink, the concept will offer pool tables, darts, and shuffleboard | Black’s Restaurant Group temporarily closed Black’s Bar & Kitchen in Bethesda on Valentine’s Day for a hearty $2.5 million renovation. The doors will reopen in early summer with lighter Gulf Coast fare and a fresh new look from head to toe | Chef update: Jason Tepper, the chef/owner of La Miche in Bethesda, has expanded his operation to include Bistro Asiatique around the corner. Meanwhile, Carlos Mendez is now the chef at Agua Ardiente | Chef/owner Bob Kinkead of Kinkead’s has announced the appointments of Hichem Lahreche as the restaurant’s new pastry chef and Todd Schiller as chef de cuisine. Both have been promoted from within.


Charleston, South Carolina

McCrady’s Restaurant has appointed highly acclaimed toque Sean Brock as the new executive chef. Brock is responsible for the main dining room, the Lounge, and the Long Room private dining space. Most recently the executive chef at the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, Brock began his culinary career in Charleston as chef tournant under RobertCarter at Peninsula Grill.

Las Vegas

Star Chef Charlie Palmer recently announced plans for a Las Vegas condominium hotel, a 35-story, non-gaming boutique property one block west of the Las Vegas Strip. This is Palmer's second boutique hotel, following the success of Hotel Healdsburg in Sonoma, California. With a projected cost of $400 million, it is scheduled for completion in mid-2008 | Guy Savoy and Caesars Palace have gone to great lengths to replicate the original Paris location at Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace. Franck Savoy, Guy’s son and former manager of Le Chiberta, will be general manager. Damien Dulas, Guy Savoy’s right-hand man in Paris, will serve as chef de cuisine. Williams Caussimon and LaurentSoliveres will travel back and forth between Paris and Las Vegas to ensure consistency between the two outposts. Laura Savoy, Franck’s wife, responsible for marketing and sales for chef Savoy’s Paris restaurants, will lead the same initiatives for the Las Vegas version. And finally, Jean-Michel Wilmotte, the architect and designer who undertook the redesign of Savoy’s Paris restaurant, is creating the new space, which will be located in Caesars Palace’s new luxury Augustus Tower and will seat approximately 75 people for dinner.

Louisville, Kentucky

Twenty-eight-year-old chef Allan Rosenberg first dazzled diners as chef de cuisine at Park Place on Main. Now, he’s opened his own place: Danielle’s, on Frankfort Avenue. The restaurant’s casual elegance is reflected in dishes like pan-roasted sea scallops and sweet potato dumplings with caramelized apples and pecans.

Vienna, Virginia

Colvin Run Tavern has promoted former sous-chef Chris Newsome to its chef de cuisine post. Jeff Gaetjen, former chef de cuisine, has been named corporate chef for all of Bob Kinkead’s restaurants, including Kinkead’s in Washington, D.C., Sibling Rivalry in Boston, and Colvin Run Tavern.