Halibut at Muze
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Deep Dish: January/February 2014

Valerie Gladstone - January/February 2014

Michael White’s Altamarea Group has opened Ristorante Morini, an Upper East Side version of SoHo’s Osteria Morini, complete with white tablecloths. Exec chef Gordon Finn oversees the regional Italian menu. This is the seventh NYC restaurant from the Altamarea Group. Just weeks earlier they opened Morini Istanbul and, prior to that, a Chop Shop in London. • The Peacock and The Shakespeare, two restaurants helmed by Robert Aikens—twin brother to the U.K.’s Tom Aikens and former exec chef at Stephen Starr’s Dandelion in Philly—are offering both traditional and modern takes on British food. They are located in The William, a new boutique hotel in an elegant townhouse that once housed The Williams Club and are the second venture of Jones Wood Foundry’s Jason Hicks and Yves Jadot. • Danny Meyer is operating the new lobby cafe at the Theater for a New Audience (262 Ashland Place, Brooklyn). Food and drinks will be served an hour before showtime and will close after intermission. Meyer also launched a Shake Shack in Cambridge, MA in December and plans to open others in Atlanta and Winter Park, FL in the coming months. • Bhagwati Amin planted the seeds for Indikitch (25 W. 23rd St.) over 35 years ago when she founded the prepared Indian food company, Deep Foods. Her son, Deepak Amin, learned to cook under her influence, and is now the chef at the new Indian spot, which opened in December. His wife, Dipali Amin, also a newcomer to restaurants, created the menu based on family recipes. • Owner John Mautone reopened Dylan Prime (62 Laight St.) in December, after a six month hiatus, in a newly renovated space and with new consulting chef and longtime friend, Kerry Heffernan, who consults with Manhattan’s 15CPW residence’s private restaurant. • Blue Olive Market, which owner Stavros Aktipis of Kellari Hospitality Group describes as “Greek food hall meets yaya’s kitchen,” has opened near Grand Central Terminal at 210 E. 41st St. The market features a Greek yogurt bar, a coffee station, a bakery, a salad bar, a charcuterie and meze station, a wine bar, and a hot prepared foods section. • Gradisca (126 W. 13th St.) brought in chef John Creger, who was previously sous chef at Le Cirque.

SKAL Restaurant Group (The Ginger Man in Greenwich and Norwalk, and Cask Republic in New Haven) renovated the former home of Ferrante in Stamford to house the 150 seat Cask Republic, A Communal Tavern in December. Exec chef Carl Carrion, formerly chef de cuisine at Max Downtown in Hartford and Max Fish in Glastonbury, elevates global tavern classics to accompany the tavern’s award-winning beer program, which includes 53-plus beer taps.

Restaurateur Jerry Maher and partner Kerri-Ann Sweeten awarded Peter Larsen the toque at their Haven Riverfront Restaurant & Bar (2 Main St., Edgewater Harbor). He was previously exec chef at The Goodwin, which he opened in NYC. • Chef/partners Marc Vetri, Jeff Michaud, and Brad Spence, as well as Vetri’s longtime business partner, Jeff Benjamin, launched Osteria Moorestown (400 Rt. 38, Moorestown). Michaud is also exec chef/partner of the Philadelphia location. Chef de cuisine Mike Deganis was previously at Alla Spina, another Vetri spot.

Sam Monsour, opening chef for JM Curley restaurant (21 Temple Place), left at the end of the year to pursue other activities, including launch­ing a lifestyle improvement app called #true28 with his wife, Astrid, writing a burger cookbook with personal chef and Boston Burger Blog’s Richard Chudy, and in a few months, opening a new restaurant. Sous chef Chris Bauers will fill his shoes. • Chez Henri, on Shepard Street near Harvard Square, shuttered after 19 years.

Chef Nelson Cognac closed his Cognac Bistro in Brookline, MA and moved to ski country to launch Big Jay Tavern (3709 Mountain Rd., Montgomery) in December, with a Greek-influenced menu.

The Mandarin Oriental Washington D.C. (1330 Maryland Ave. SW) replaced Sou’Wester with Muze Restaurant in December. Developed by exec chef Didier Pouzier and new chef de cuisine Mark McDonnell, it has an Asian-influenced menu. Pouzier has been with the hotel for a year. McDonnell was previously at Rogue 24. Adriaan Radder serves as gm and Andreas Wieckenberg as director of f&b. Eric Ziebold continues to wear the toque at the hotel’s CityZen restaurant. • Restaurateur Hakan Ilhan opened Alba Osteria, (425 I St. NW), a sister restaurant to his Al Dente, in December. He appointed Roberto Donna exec chef and Amy Brandwein as chef de cuisine. Owner of some 20 restaurants over the years, Donna is best known for his now-defunct Galileo (where Brandwein was exec chef) and I Matti restaurants.

Chef John C. Metz Sr. and business partners Thomas DiGiorgio, Richard E. Rivera, Hank Clark, and Alan Palmieri brought another Marlow’s Tavern (5590 Roswell Rd., Suite A-160) to town. Besides having served as exec chef and exec chairman for Metz Culinary Management, he has been opening Marlow’s Taverns since 2004.

Chef Tony Mantuano and restaurateurs Larry Levy and Bob Heyat launched their newest spot, Lorenzo, in Miami Beach. Mantuano also owns Spiaggia, Cafe Spiaggia, Bar Toma (also part of Levy Restaurants), and Terzo Piano in Chicago, and his family restaurant Mangia Trattoria in Kenosha, WI. It marks Mantuano’s first spot in the Sunshine State. • Semilla Eatery & Bar (1330 Alton Rd., Miami Beach), chef/owner Frederic Joulin’s new “modern gastropub,” opened in November. • Bobby Flay’s Bobby’s Burger Palace (7535 N. Kendall Drive, Kendall) opened its doors in December, making it the 17th Bobby’s Burger Palace.

Chef Lee Wolen left his post at The Lobby restaurant in The Peninsula Chicago in December. A short time later, the Boka Restaurant Group announced he would be joining the company not only as chef of Boka (1729 N. Halsted) but also as partner. The restaurant closed early this year and will reopen soon with a new look and a new menu from Wolen. Former exec chef Giuseppe Tentori plans to open a new restaurant this year. • Sprout (1417 W. Fullerton) shuttered not long after chef Dale Levitski departed. No word yet on where he will be going. Its sister restaurant, Frog n Snail, remains open. • Exec chef Bradford Phillips runs the kitchen at the new Unite Urban Grill (1450 W. Chicago Ave.) He was previously at the Pump Room. • The Field Bistro opened in the Field Museum (1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.). Cleetus Friedman, exec chef at Fountainhead, is working with the staff to find the best vendors. Explorer Cafe will open in the museum later this spring. • The former Four Seasons Hotel Chicago chef, Kevin Hickey, launched Bottlefork (441 N. Clark St.) with Billy Dec’s Rockit Ranch Productions. Sous chef Jason White has taken over the hotel’s fine dining room and more casual Allium restaurant. • Chef/owner Matthias Merges of Yusho and Billy Sunday established A10 (1462 E. 53rd St.). John Vermiglio, previously at Graham Elliot Bistro, runs the kitchen, while Alex Bachman put together the cocktail program and gm/wine director Richard Richardson manages the wine list. Bachman is still at Billy Sunday, and Richardson was at Yusho. • Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ chef Jeff Mahin opened Summer House Santa Monica (1954 N. Halsted St.), evoking California cuisine in the Windy City. He was previously with Stella Barra Pizzeria. • Chef/owner Bing Zhou and his partners, Michael Gonzalez and Sam Sanchez, established the 500 seat Old Crow Smokehouse (3506 N. Clark St.), featuring American, Korean, Japanese, and Chinese barbecue. • In December, Jay Runnfeldt, a partner in Three Headed Productions, which owns The Drawing Room and The Back Room, launched Bow & Stern Oyster Bar (1371 W. Chicago Ave.). Brian Greene acts as executive chef. • Graham Elliot closed his eponymous restaurant on New Year’s Day, with plans to open a new concept later this year.

Chef/owner Luciano Del Signore established the third location of his Bigalora, previously Pizzeria Biga, (3050 Washtenaw, Suite 112, Ann Arbor) in November. Like his other spots, the restaurant features polished concrete floors, expansive windows, and an outdoor patio.

Jordan Langer, Jeff Whitmore, and Pete Glikshtern established Oddjob (1337 Mission St., San Francisco), a combination lounge and music venue, in November. Langer was previously at Big, Whitmore at Public Works, and Glikshtern at Jones. • Chef/owner Alan Tsai, whose food truck KoJa Kitchen has been a big hit, opened a brick-and-mortar with the same name (2395 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley) in November. He will continue to offer Korean-Japanese fare from his truck. • dam Snyder, Hugo Gamboa, and Andy Wasserman, owners of The Brixton, established Sabrosa (3200 Fillmore St., San Francisco) in November. They brought in chef Jose Ramos to take charge of the kitchen. He recently served as consultant at Nido in Oakland and was co-opening chef at local Nopalito. 7 To satisfy her longing for a meaty, East Coast–style Italian sub, chef Liza Shaw launched Merigan Sub Shop (636 Second St., San Francisco) in November. She was previously exec chef at A16. • Hugo Bolanos was awarded the toque at Hotel Bel-Air (701 Stone Canyon Rd., L.A.) in November, overseeing the property’s f&b program, including the signature restaurant Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air. He has been a member of the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group since 2000. • Chef Alex Reznik plans to serve comfort food at his first restaurant, Ditmas Kitchen and Cocktails (8731 W. Pico Blvd., L.A.), which opened in December. It’s named for the street he lived on growing up in Brooklyn, NY. 7 Beau Laughlin and his group, Cardiff Giant, opened Fifty Seven (712 S. Santa Fe Ave., L.A.) in January. With the kitchen headed by David Nayfeld, an Eleven Madison Park (NYC) alum, they plan to have a rotating series of chefs showcasing their talents.