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Bricco by bricco. Bricco restaurant in the North End is now under the guidance of Marisa Iocco and Rita D’Angelo, who started at Galleria Italiana and had several ventures in between. Serious diners clear out around 10 p.m., when the bar area transforms into a hot scene with funky lighting and brick-oven pizza until 2 a.m. | Jim Hamelburg and company took over the space formerly occupied by On the Park, creating Joe V.’s with simple, moderately priced Italian cuisine and cafe-style dining | Centro owner Brian O’Neill has hired chef Ben Nathan (ex-The Fireplace) to streamline the Cambridge eatery’s rustic Italian fare and scale back the prices | Todd Winer, formerly the Olives Group’s floating corporate chef, has been promoted to executive chef at KingFish Hall | Meritage restaurant at the Boston Harbor Hotel has added a wine school under sommelier Jamie Moore.


Marcus Wareing’s Petrus restaurant has reopened in The Berkeley Hotel. Wareing has also opened Fleur, a more casual and less expensive version of Petrus, in the former Petrus space on St. James’s Street | Alan Yau (Hakkasan, Wagamamma, Busaba Eathai) has opened Anda, a casual no-reservations Italian with communal dining | Chris Bodker is relaunching his West Street restaurant as East with Australian chef Christine Manfield. Manfield’s Sydney restaurant, Paramount, closed in 2000, giving her time to write cookbooks, arrange foodie tours, and give cooking lessons. The Asian flavors at East are inspired by Vietnam, China, and Japan | The Malmaison hotel group’s first hotel venture in the greater London area will include Malmaison Brasserie & Bar, a traditional French brasserie | Hush’s owners, Geoffrey Moore and Jamie Barber, have opened Shumi on St. James’s Street. The Italian food, meant for sharing, is heavily influenced by Japanese presentation | The first Oxford Wine & Food Festival is to be held November 14 and 15 at the Saïd Business School in Oxford. The speakers include wine expert Jancis Robinson and restaurateur Raymond Blanc. The £215 admission includes 20 workshops. For more information: www.owff.co.uk | Ben O’Donoghue (ex-Monte’s) is the new chef at Atlantic Bar & Grill | Recent closures include Cedar Lounge and Wok Wok.


Cool cat. David Wilhelm (French 75, Savannah Steak & Chop House, Sorrento Grille) has opened the $3.2 million Chat Noir Bistro & Jazz Lounge in Costa Mesa’s theater district. Chris Reischl created the French bistro menu | WeHo classic Le Dome has reopened with a $2 million investment and Tuscan villa face-lift by designer Dodd Mitchell. Sam Marvin (ex-Piero’s in Las Vegas, Modada) is in the kitchen, along with sous-chef Joni Hill (ex-Balboa Restaurant). Eddie Kerkhofs is back as co-owner, with new partners Ronald Tutor and David Bergstein | Urth Caffé owners Shallom and Jilla Berkman opened a second location on the site of the former Chadwick Restaurant in Beverly Hills. The kitchen has been remodeled as the central pastry kitchen for new executive pastry chef Camal El Sherifi. Executive chef Sal Calderone operates out of a downtown commissary | Gaucho Grill founder Adolfo Suaya has joined forces with executive chef Ryu Hamada and Elaine Johnston (Zen Grills) to open the upscale, pan-Asian Zen Grill and Sake Lounge in Westwood Village | Kansas City barbecue authority and mechanic Bob Krauss (a.k.a. Smokin’ Jack) has opened the full-service restaurant Smokin’ Jacks Kansas City Barbeque, next to the beach in Carpinteria in Burbank. Specialties of the pit are deep-fried pickles and a porterhouse pork chop, slow-smoked with hickory and pecan woods | boe is an acronym for Bacchus, Orpheus, and Epicurus. It’s also the indoor/outdoor restaurant in the new 40-room The Crescent in Beverly Hills. Former criminal lawyer Max Schlutz (Where’s Max? caterers) is executive chef and co-owner | Third-generation restaurateur Blair Salisbury (El Cholo, Pasadena) has opened Ambiente, an upscale Caribbean restaurant in Alhambra. Aleccio Leon (ex-El Cholo) heads the kitchen | Chef/proprietor Corrado Gianotti (ex-Naples Pizzeria) is back in the limelight with La Fontana Ristorante Italiano in Huntington Beach | Melissa’s and World Variety Produce, the leading West Coast supplier of specialty produce, has opened a research and test kitchen under executive chef Ida Rodriguez | Mum’s, the first upscale restaurant on Long Beach’s gentrified Pine Avenue restaurant row, is about to fade out. Veteran restaurateur and local curmudgeon John Morris has sold the restaurant to topless dance club impresario Jerry Westlund. Westlund plans to convert Mums to a Mexican restaurant with dancing (but what kind?) | After opening to fanfare in 1999, Reign has closed in Beverly Hills. NFL standout Keyshawn Johnson sold the Southern supper club late last year, and it seemed to lose direction thereafter | The new Indian Casinos are adding to the vitality of the dining out scene in Palm Springs. La Jolla restaurateur Sami Ladeki (Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza) has opened his second Roppongi restaurant and an adjacent Asian Noodle Bar in the Spa Resort and Casino. Keith Lord (ex-Twentieth Century-Fox Studio’s Commissary) is executing the exotic Asian fusion cuisine.


New kid on the block. Tom Valenti, chef of the perpetually popular Upper West Side bistro Ouest, and partner Godfrey Polistina have added ’Cesca to the neighborhood. Polistina’s daughter Francesca is the namesake. Chef de cuisine Amanda Freitag will oversee the Italian-inspired fare, such as parmesan fritters and goat cheese linguine with house-cured tuna, olives, and pepperoncini | Mark Strausman, who recently closed Campagna and was consulting about town, has come full circle. He’s back with Pino Luongo, who gave him his start at Sapore di Mare in East Hampton 15 years ago. The mission? To reconfigure the food at Coco Pazzo on the Upper East Side, not to be confused with Coco Pazzo Teatro in the Theater District’s Time Hotel, which Luongo no longer owns | Passing the torch. Henry Meer has sold the Cub Room in SoHo to Shimon Pariente. Meer will continue to consult on the menu for the next few months, presumably to facilitate the transition of new chef Benjamin Grossman | The venerable Vesuvio Bakery, which has been tempting SoHo patrons since the 1920s with its superb Italian bread, has gotten a face-lift. The new owners have retained the light fixtures and exterior and continue to pile loaves of bread in the window, but the interior now boasts new seats and a cafe menu that ranges from frittatas and panini to wraps | Mix, Alain Ducasse’s first casual New York restaurant, opened in September in Midtown. Ducasse tapped Doug Psaltis, a New Yorker who worked his way up in Ducasse’s kitchens, to run the show. Ducasse’s partner in the venture is mega-restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow (China Grill, Rocco’s on 22nd Street). The menu focuses on indulgent comfort food from both America and France, including bison pot-au-feu, mac & cheese, and chocolate pizza. The quirkiest touch may be the peanut butter and jelly bread service at the start of each meal | Steve Hanson, who enticed New Yorkers with Ruby Foo’s, Blue Fin, and Dos Caminos, among others, is at it again. He’s planning to open Fiamma’s casual cousin, Vento Trattoria, this month in the Meatpacking District. Hanson also just opened his first out-of-city outpost, Fiamma Trattoria in Las Vegas’s MGM Grand | Same neighborhood. Another restaurant. Chef Zakary Pelaccio (ex-Williamsburg’s Chickenbone Café) is to unveil 5 Ninth later this fall. Housed in a three-story brownstone in the Meatpacking District of the same vintage as the Beard House, 5 Ninth is the brainchild of Vincent Seufert, a former Rhone partner; Joel Michel, recent GM of Pastis; and bon vivant Rick Camac. Expect a delicious menu of international components and intriguing combinations | Michael Huynh, the chef behind the sophisticated Vietnamese cooking at Bao 111 in the East Village, has opened Bao Noodles, a casual noodle and soup shop Gramercy with an inexpensive prix fixe, family-style menu | James Beard Foundation Award winner Galen Zamarra was last seen two years ago turning out spectacular food at Bouley Bakery in Tribeca. Now, Bouley Bakery is simply Bouley. And Zamarra? He’s back with a restaurant of his own. Next month he plans to open Mas in Greenwich Village with partners Tom Wilson, former bar manager of Nice Matin; and Hugh Crickmore, ex-sommelier of Marseille. Mas will feature seasonal French-American cooking in the former Isla space | Speaking of “whatever happened to…?,” Asian fusion rides again at the hand of much-missed New York favorite Gary Robins, who made a big impression at Aja and Match. He’s surfaced in Chelsea at the Biltmore Room, which features marble from the old Biltmore Hotel near Grand Central Terminal. Expect modern dishes like crab in yuzu-watermelon gelée | The Beard House welcomes Sumile to the neighborhood. If you stand on your tiptoes in our garden, you might get a whiff of the mostly Japanese cooking just beyond the fence. Chef Josh Dechellis honed his skills in the toniest of eateries (Arpège, Lucas Carton, Postrio), but his menu, with items such as Kumamoto oysters with pineapple vinegar, and poached hamachi with pickled melon and nori, will be decidedly easy on the wallet | Chef shuffle. Daniel Boulud has appointed Beard Award winner Jean-François Bruel as executive chef of Daniel. Bruel replaces longtime chef Alex Lee, who departed this summer. No replacement has yet been named to fill Bruel’s spot at db bistro moderne | Keith McNally, who brought us Balthazar and Pastis, has selected the Lower East Side for his newest venture, Schiller’s Liquor Bar. The decor maintains McNally’s signature antique mishmash style. The menu pays tribute to the area’s Jewish roots with kasha varnishkes, herring, and chopped liver mousse, but also offers casual international foods like fish and chips, Welsh rabbit, and Cubano sandwiches | Marco Canora, who was in charge of Craft and Craftbar under Tom Colicchio, is going out on his own. He’s partnered with former Gramercy Tavern beverage manager Paul Grieco to open Hearth in the East Village, serving American and Italian specialties | Uncle Jack’s Steak House in Queens is bringing its Kobe beef reputation to Manhattan this month with a second location, near Madison Square Garden | Meanwhile, an outpost of Bobby Van’s Steakhouse has opened in Midtown in the former Della Femina space | Jewel Bako owners Grace and Jack Lamb are opening Jack’s Luxury Oyster Bar across the street in the East Village. Alain Ducasse alum Allison Vines will prepare pricey prix-fixe dinners in an intimate dining room above the bar | Not your ordinary can of tuna. Sample Conservas is a new restaurant concept in Boerum Hill, from partners Josh Cohen and Maio Martinez, who own Biscuit, also in Brooklyn. They modeled the new venture on an eatery in Barcelona. The food, all of it a dizzying array of international canned and preserved delicacies, is served in delicious combinations. Consulting sommelier Roger Dagorn has assembled an eclectic list of wines and sakes to match | We reported on Sara Jenkins’s departure from the tiny Patio Dining earlier this summer. But we’re happier to report that the East Village kitchen has been quietly buzzing with the intense cooking of chef Eric Korsh. A Picholine alum, Korsh delivers a sophisticated greenmarket menu offering such dishes as butter-poached lobster with late-summer corn purée, or young pheasant cooked two ways with caramelized Brussels sprouts | Pippa Calland, who departed from Pino Luongo’s Le Madri in September, is busy with the construction of her own restaurant, Lingua. The Tribeca eatery will feature oversize tables, a wood-burning oven, 100 wines by the glass, and a decidedly Italian menu. She’s partnering with Frank Laruffa and Ennio Sorgini | Paradise Lost. Native New Yorker Ian Russo, formerly chef of Pelago in New York and, most recently, of Michel’s Restaurant on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, is converting Andiamo on the Upper East Side to Ian. Scheduled to open in early winter, the moderately priced, mid-size restaurant will serve an eclectic seasonal American menu for dinner only | Bruno Jamais Restaurant Club, a sumptuous “preferred guest” eatery on the Upper East Side has a new chef. For a time, Juan Cuevas was acting chef, stepping in for opening chef Richard Farnabe. Now Paris-born, New York–bred Andrew Karasz is running the kitchen. His previous credits include Postrio, Auberge du Soleil, and Union Pacific.


They do the dishes, right? El Bizcocho at the Rancho Bernardo Inn is offering “custom cuisine.” Guests submit their choice of dishes to the restaurant 48 hours in advance. The mastermind is chef de cuisine Patrick Ponsaty | The popular Jim Phillips has left East County’s Bernardo’s for coastal Del Mar, where he has taken up residence at Jeffrey Strauss’s Pamplemousse | Pectopah Pomegranate, San Diego’s first restaurant serving Russian/Georgian cuisine, has opened in North Park. The owners are Marko Zhukov and Jon Skorepa | Tango Mango is the new Mexican hot spot in downtown’s Horton Plaza. Tourists love the big windows for people-watching | Escondido’s 150 Grand Cafe has opened The Back Room Lounge. Located behind the dining room, the lounge serves drinks, appetizers, coffee, and desserts for the theater and movie crowd. Executive chef Carlton Greenawalt is the brains behind the concept and menu | Baja California’s Laja restaurant in the grape-growing Guadelupe Valley is drawing huge crowds from across the border. Chef/owner Jaair Tellez is wowing customers with his innovative global cuisine, served in a glorious room in the middle of a vineyard | Also making Mexican waves is Manzanilla in downtown Ensenada. The cuisine is eclectic, and the wine list has offerings not usually found in local wine shops.


Todd Kniess (Bistro Liaison in Berkeley) and John Skaggs have taken over the Cypress Club space and will reopen it as 500 Jackson. Robert Murphy (ex-Restaurant LuLu) will be the chef de cuisine of the restaurant, named after its address. Designer Shawn E. Hall plans to add large warehouse windows and cobalt blue walls | Spectrum Restaurant Group (Guaymas, Prego) morphed the veteran Spiedini in Walnut Creek into another Prego | We’ve been talking for a while about former Aqua chef Michael Mina penning a deal with the Westin St. Francis hotel to open a restaurant in the Compass Rose space. Perhaps Mina’s enthusiasm got the best of us, but the word from hotel GM Joe Berger is that the parties are still in negotiation. One thing is for sure, though. Mina’s Seablue is set to open in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas at the end of October | At the Ritz-Carlton, Celine Plano has been named executive pastry chef, a first for a woman at the hotel.


Satoshi Kimishima (Goutte d’Or, Les Cras) has teamed up with Yoshinari Kuratani (ex-Crattini) to open Goutte d’Or Crattini in Nishi-Azabu, serving rustic Italian food | Classic bistro Bistrot Ideale has opened in Kagurazaka, under Yasuhiro Kuroiwa | The half-basement space where Bar Radio used to be in Harajuku is now occupied by Binimaru, offering 50 Belgian beers and hearty Belgian fare. Owner Kimiya Nosaka was previously a chef and manager at Bruxelles | Meanwhile, the oldest beer restaurant in Japan, Levante, has moved from Yurakucho Station to Tokyo International Forum | Kinji Fukuda mixes Japanese standards with his own creations at Mikuri Kurumaya, atop the sleek new Royal Park Shiodome Tower near Shimbashi | Takamasa Uetake of Canoviano has opened Dolceria Laune Cafe in Omotesando. Desserts include vegetables in season, such as edamame blancmange, or tomato mousse with asparagus gelato garnished with a crisp twist of zucchini | Zats Burger Café serves a “Sasebo burger” in Nakano. The bacon cheeseburger is handmade with 100 percent Japanese beef, thick-cut bacon from Kagoshima, and cheddar on additive-free buns.


Underground. Sotto Sotto chef Felice Vacca is opening his own restaurant in the former Blues on Bellair space in Yorkville, a downstairs spot just like the family business he recently left. Sotto Sotto owner and head chef is his older sister Marisa Rocco. She’s not replacing him in the kitchen. “I taught him all the food. He was ready to move on,” Rocco says | Husband-and-wife team Johnny K. and Laura Prentice have sold their restaurants, Lolita’s Lust and Gus. The new owner is caterer Sam Scanga. Scanga has reworked Gus into Sage, promoting Gino Fracarlis to executive chef and changing the Greek menu. There are no plans to change Lolita’s Lust on the Danforth.


Lucky number. Franco Nuchese (Café Milano) plans to open Sette pizzeria in the former Janus Theater. Managing partner Michael Credico will oversee Sette | The Mediterranean bistro Cilantro takes over the Georgetown site that used to house Firehook Bakery. The owners are Ghaleb Ghaleb and his fiancée, Cathy Abi-Khattar.


Las Vegas
Los Angeles’ consummate host for 30 years, Piero Selvaggio (Valentino and Posto) is looking to double his luck in Las Vegas with executive chef/partner Luciano Pellegrini (Valentino Las Vegas in the Venetian Resort) and the opening of Caffé Giorgio on the Strip in new Mandalay Place. Caffé Giorgio is the anchor restaurant of this major expansion to the Mandalay Bay Resort. The 13,000-square foot space features a grab-and-go deli with an antipasto bar, pizza oven, and gelateria. A trattoria under chef Nico Chessa (ex-Valentino Las Vegas), an Italian glass bar with seating, and several private party rooms round out the space. Caffé Giorgio will have access to the wine collection of Valentino, reported to be the deepest in the West.