Monday, June 11, 2007

Aigre Doux Makes 'Bon Appetit' Hot List

The June issue of Bon Appetit magazine lists 10 restaurants as "summer's hotspots," new foodie destinations around the country. Prices range from $10 pizzas at Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles to the $54 and $67 prix fixe menus at Bijoux in Dallas. Here's the full list:

Momofuku Ssam Bar, 207 Second Ave., New York City
Central Michel Richard, 1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, D.C.
Trois, 1180 Peachtree St., Atlanta
Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza, 641 N. Highland Ave., and 6602 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles
Tavolata, 2323 Second Ave., Seattle
Radda Trattoria, 1265 Alpine Ave., Boulder, Colo.
Aigre Doux Restaurant & Bakery, 230 W. Kinzie St., Chicago
Bijoux, 5450 West Lovers Lane, Suite 225, Dallas
Osteria, 640 N. Broad St., Philadelphia
Ad Hoc, 6476 Washington St., Yountville, Calif. (Napa Valley)

IN THE NEWS: Benihana officials say the company has signed a lease agreement for a new Benihana teppanyaki restaurant in downtown Chicago, the South Florida Business Journal reports. The location, at State and Erie streets, is to replace a recently closed downtown restaurant at 166 E. Superior St., a location the company had occupied for almost 40 years. For its RA Sushi brand, the company has seven locations under development, including suburban Lombard, Ill. ... The Sun-Times' talented Dave Hoekstra features Bill Carroll and James "J." Spillane, owners of the hot new Coal Fire (1321 W. Grand) restayrabt, which is the first thin-crust coal oven pizzeria on the North Side. (D'Amato's, 1124 W. Grand, uses a coal oven for bakery goods and pan-style pizzas.) Coal Fire's thin crust Neapolitan style has been a been a big hit since its May 8 opening. ... The paper also profiles Four Seasons Executive Chef Kevin Hickey, whose day starts at 5 am and who oversees three restaurants (Seasons, The Cafe and Seasons Lounge). ... Critic Pat Bruno gives one star in his review of the splashy new Middle Eastern eatery Alhambra Palace Restaurant (1240 W. Randolph) and takes a first look at Coal Fire. ... The Reader's Anne Spiselman details at length the early troubles at Alhambra Palace, while Mike Sula blogs a review of Village Hut (130 E. Army Trail Rd., Glendale Heights). ... Chicago magazine's dish column has a conversation with Chris Jones, 26, exec chef of Moto’s upcoming mirror-image comfort-food restaurant, Otom (pronounced “autumn”), 951 W. Fulton Mkt., opening July 11 two doors down from Moto. Dish also reports on gastropub English (444 N. LaSalle St.), opening later this month in a stand-alone building in River North, joining the likes of Paramount Room, The Gage, and Hopleaf: "This one is a major undertaking by Eat Well Drink Better Inc. (Bar Celona) that includes three levels of terra cotta, cast-iron bars, giant chandeliers, and walnut flooring. French doors open onto LaSalle, and giant windows boast a view of the skyline." ... Dish also reports that V.I.C.E. (840 W. Randolph St.), an “amuse-bouche boutique,” had its soft opening on June 6. The name stands for “Vivo Ice Cream Emporium” (it’s next door to the West Loop Italian stalwart Vivo), but chef Christopher Laramie (Everest, MK) serves dishes like pancetta-wrapped quail and Kobe steak and eggs. Dan Krasny, the owner (and a founder of Marché and Red Light), plans to open V.I.C.E. in the afternoon and keep it open late. ... The mag also reports: "Graze (35 W. Ontario St.), a small-plates spot with only six months of business under its belt in River North, has closed. ... Sarah’s Pastries & Candies (11 E. Oak St.) is moving down the street to 70 East Oak Street in July. ... Whiskey Bar & Grill (1015 N. Rush St.) has hooked up with chef Richard Sandoval, a pioneer of modern Mexican cuisine, and will open a redesigned Gold Coast space with a Latino tone. ... Cool Mirchi (814 E. Nerge Rd., Roselle), a self-proclaimed “trendy” Indian restaurant in the west suburbs, has opened. ... Coming soon: Exposure Tapas Supper Club (1313 S. Wabash Ave.), a 15,000-square-foot Spanish spot from chef David Wennerlyn (O’Donovan’s, Café Med), in late June. ...

TimeOut Chicago's David Tamarkin reviews Jerry Kleiner's Room 21 (2110 S Wabash Ave), while Heather Shouse sizes up Coal Fire. ... Featured openings include La Pomme Rouge (108 W Kinzie St) and Blind Robin (853 N Western Ave), while chef Laura Cid-Perea of Bombon Bakery raves about the "fatboy" burgers with grilled onions at The Twisted Spoke (501 N Ogden Ave). ... The Trib's Monica Eng blogs about her first trip to the new Anteprima, while critic Phil Vettel blogs about the recent closing of Le Francais and Trine Tsouderos blogs about Orange on Roscoe, slated to open June 7 for brunch in the storefront recently occupied by another mostly-breakfast joint, Brett's Cafe Americain. ... Vettel, Trine Tsouderos, Kevin Pang and Eng pick some of their favorite outdoor dining spots. ... Eng also lets you know which restaurants feature insects on the menu ... Cheap Eats visits Blue Oasis Cafe (12947 S. Western Ave., Blue Island). ... The Trib's Chris LaMorte has a rundown on rib joints, including Sheffield's and Uncle John's Barbecue. ... reviews The Gage (24 S. Michigan Ave). ... Chicago Menu Pages notes the relaunching of lunch at chef Bruce Sherman's North Pond. ... stops by Le Bouchon (1958 North Damen Avenue). ... The Chicago Burger Project visits Moody's Pub (5910 N Broadway). ... Moonstruck Chocolate Co. has signed leases to open eight more of its chocolate cafés across the country by 2009, the Portland Business Journal reports. That will bring the total number of cafés owned and operated by the Portland-based company to 17 nationwide. Moonstruck Chocolate opened its first chocolate café in Portland in 1996, and the company currently operates nine cafés in Oregon, California and Illinois. Each of the eight new cafés will be located in malls. Five will open this fall in Natick Collection in Natick, Mass.; Oakbrook Center in Oak Brook, Ill.; Tysons Galleria in McLean, Va.; Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi, Mich.; and The Mall at Partridge Creek in Clinton Township, Mich.

Compiled by Pat Embry,

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