Craig Koketsu
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Deep Dish: May 2014

Valerie Gladstone - May 2014

From Polynesian fantasy to European bistro: Michael Stillman and chef Craig Koketsu transformed the Hurricane Club into General Assembly (360 Park Ave. South) in March. AvroKO designed the Art Nouveau–inspired 170 seat space. • Fredrik Berselius moved his new Nordic restaurant Aska out of Kinfolk Studios in Williamsburg at the end of March. • When Amali (115 E. 60th St.) exec chef Nilton Borges Jr. moved to Texas early in February to live closer to his son, co-owner James Mallios promoted chef de cuisine Rachel Goulet to exec chef. She previously worked as sous chef at Three Birds Tavern in St. Petersburg, FL. • Barbounia/Taboon chef/partner Efi Nahon has opened Bustan with partners Tuvia Feldman and Guy Goldstein on Manhattan’s Upper West Side (487 Amsterdam Ave.). The menu is based around the cooking of the traditional Middle Eastern dome-shaped wood-burning oven called a taboon that Nahon had built especially for the restaurant. Nahon’s signature dishes include whole heirloom cauliflower with Nazareth tahini, pine nuts, and green harissa, and spiced lamb kebabs with taboon grilled vegetables. • Sebastiano Cappitta, who owns Acqua, Bettola, and other spots, opened Arco Cafe (886 Amsterdam Ave.), offering a Sardinian menu with dishes such as vegetable fritters, mussel/tomato soup, and various fresh pastas. • Blake Schumpert is now the exec chef at the restaurant 1200 Miles. His résumé includes Lafayette, Le Bernardin, and Blue Hill. The menu travels the Mediterranean, particularly the route from Paris to North Africa. • Felipe Donnelly and Tamy Rofe, the husband and wife owners of Cómodo, established Colonia Verde (219 Dekalb Ave., Brooklyn), specializing in Latin American fare. • Chef/owner Shaun Dougherty and his brother Daniel launched Crescent Grill (38-40 Crescent St., Long Island City), bringing on board chef Milton Enriquez, who worked at Eleven Madison Park.

Chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier opened M.C. Spiedo Ristorante & Bar (606 Congress St.), in the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel. The two chefs, honored in May 2013 with a Food Arts Silver Spoon award, are best known for their now-shuttered flagship restaurant Arrows in Ogunquit, MA, which they put on the market shortly after they celebrated its 25th anniversary last September. They plan to focus on their M.C. brand and continue to run M.C. Perkins Cove in Ogunquit. • Chef Stefano Quaresima, who worked at La Tour D’Argent in Paris, took charge of the kitchen at Petit Robert Bistro (480 Columbus Ave.) in February.

Chef/owner Lance London launched his third restaurant in the D.C. area, Rhode Island Row Carolina Kitchen (2350 Washington Place, NE) in March. He also runs Largo Carolina Kitchen in Largo, MD and Carolina Kitchen Bar & Grill in Hyattsville, MD. • Owner Ashok Bajaj appointed Benjamin Lambert exec chef at his 701 Restaurant (701 Pennsylvania Ave., NW). Most recently, Lambert served as exec chef at the Goodstone Inn & Restaurant in Middleburg, VA. • Partners Aaron Gordon, Robert Underwood, and barmen brothers Ari and Micah Wilder joined forces to open Red Light Cocktails & Dessert Bar (1401 R St., NW) last month. Since 2008, when they founded Wilder Bros, they’ve created over a dozen cocktail programs and opened Fed Restaurant in 2013. Underwood, who was pastry chef at Komi and Marcel’s, wears the toque at their new venture.

Washington, D.C. chef/restaurateur Mike Isabella is planning to open a second location of his Italian-inspired restaurant, Graffiato Richmond (123 W. Broad St., Richmond), in June. The 6,700-square-foot Richmond space is located at the former Popkin Tavern. The building is an icon, having served as a furniture showroom as far back as 1909. He plans to update the interior and add a wood-burning oven while maintaining the integrity of the space. Taha Ismail, beverage director for all of his restaurants, will also oversee the craft cocktail program at Graffiato Richmond. Isabella partnered with Travis Croxton, owner of Rappahannock Oyster Co., and Hilda Staples, partner in Graffiato D.C., on this project.

Michael Fuller, who has served as chef de cuisine at all three Ray’s Restaurants (Ray’s on the River, Ray’s at Killer Creek, Ray’s in the City), moved up to corporate exec chef of all Ray’s spots in February.

Restaurateur Myles Chefetz established his latest spot, an indoor/outdoor restaurant, Prime Fish (100 Collins Ave., Miami Beach), with corporate chef Michael Sabin, previously at Prime 112, overseeing the menu. It’s only a block away from Chefetz’s Prime 112, Prime Italian, and Big Pink. • Imperia Restaurant & Lounge (20 Biscayne Blvd., Miami), opened in February, offering an indoor/outdoor juice bar, restaurant, health food shop, and nightclub. Head chef Carlos Navarez serves a unique tropical menu. DJs spin until 5 a.m. in the lounge. • Gastón Acurio opened La Mar by Gastón Acurio at the Mandarin Oriental Miami in March. This is his third restaurant in the United States following La Mar Cebicheria Peruana in San Francisco and Tanta in Chicago.

Element Collective’s Chris Dexter, Chris Freeman, Jared Van Camp, and John Warken, who own Kinmont and Nellcôte, established the new BYOB chicken shack, Leghorn (959 N. Western Ave.), serving the heritage breed sandwiches along with fried chicken skins and chicken fried fries. • A March addition to the Rosebud family of restaurants, run by chef Joe Farina, Joe Fish (445 N. Dearborn St.), boasts a menu offering lobster tails, an oyster bar, and special biscuits from Bang Bang Pie Shop. • Baker Jacob Neminarz opened his third Sugar Hills Bakery (3235 W. Addison) in March.

The David Burke Group added another spot to the ski town of Aspen in March, Huckleberry Hall (515 Hopkins Ave.), in the subterranean level of his recently opened David Burke Kitchen. It’s a lounge and nightlife destination. Former Little Nell hotel exec chef Matthew O’Neill oversees the menus at both places. • Chef/restaurateur Frank Bonanno launched the 11th venture for the Bonanno Concepts family, Salt & Grinder (3609 W. 32nd Ave., Denver), a New Jersey–style deli and salumeria, in April. Bonanno Concepts beverage director Adam Hodak developed the beverage program.

Partners Ryan Handel and Andy Paxson introduced a lot of sweets, including mud pie, in their quaint Simplethings (10874 Kinross Ave., Westwood), an offshoot of their cafe on West Third Street, with seating inside and out. They also offer sandwiches, salads, and savory pies. • Patina Restaurant Group founders, chef Joachim Splichal and partner Nick Valenti, opened two Market Café locations, one at 11150 Santa Monica Blvd., and the other at 550 S. Hope St., both in L.A. They own 60 restaurant and foodservice operations around the country. • Chef Bruce Kalman and partner Marie Petulla opened Union (37 E. Union St., Pasadena) in March, with a wine program by George Pitsironis, a former sommelier at Spago. Kalman is a veteran of The Churchill (L.A.) and The Misfit (Santa Monica).

Changes at Coi (373 Broadway, San Francisco) in February: Mark Mendoza, a Redwood Park veteran, became Daniel Patterson Group’s new wine director. And Nick Muncy ascended to the role of exec pastry chef. His experience also includes a stint at Saison. • Heaven’s Dog was transformed into The Coachman (1148 Mission St., San Francisco) in March, after a year and a half dormancy. Owner Charles Phan of The Slanted Door and other spots appointed Ross Wunderlich exec chef. He had been sous chef at Phan’s Hard Water. Erik Adkins, who oversees Phan’s bar programs, takes charge of the cocktails. Coincidentally, Phan was a busboy at a previous incarnation of The Coachman. Apparently, the idea of trying his hand at English food has been percolating for some time. • Chef/butcher Ryan Farr and the 4505 Meats team opened 4505 Burgers & BBQ (705 Divisadero St., San Francisco) in April, in a former barbecue joint with an original barbecue pit and wood-fired smoker. • Smokestack (2505 Third St., San Francisco), a beer, barbecue, and whiskey-focused restaurant adjacent to the Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery, opened in March, with exec chef Dennis Lee. He is also chef/owner at his family’s spot, Namu Gaji. Eric Quilty is creating the whiskey-driven cocktail list. He was previously at East Bay Spice Company (Berkeley) and co-founder of the cocktail consulting team Jupiter Olympus. • The third installment of founder/CEO Michael Dorf’s City Winery, which already has locations in NYC, Chicago, and Nashville, opened as City Winery Napa (1030 Main St., Napa) in February. The restaurant/wine bar/music venue makes its home in Napa Valley Opera House, an historic landmark dating to the 1880s. Previously at Rivera in L.A., Joseph Panarello serves as exec chef. Dorf founded the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, NY. Since that closed, others have opened in other cities. • Loret Carbone was hired as president/COO for Left Bank Brasserie/LB Steak, operated by Vine Dining Enterprises. (200 Tamal Plaza, Corte Madera). Most recently, she served as the president/COO of Ozumo Concepts International. • Capone’s Speakeasy (1400 Park St., Alameda) is slated to open in May in what was once a branch of Wells Fargo Bank. A veteran of The Ranch at Little Hills in San Ramon and Aubern James Tasting Room in Danville, Nicholas Koliopoulos wears the toque. Julie Ferrantino, who worked at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont, serves as gm. • Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa launched Watertable (21500 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach) in April with exec chef Manfred Lassahn and Jon Benson serving as director of f&b. Lassahn was previously at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza and Benson f&b director for Hyatt Hotels Corporation.

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