Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Gras To Take Over Melman's Ambria Space

IN THE NEWS: Reports Chicago magazine chicagomag.com: "We knew the acclaimed chef Laurent Gras (Fifth Floor in San Francisco) was hooking up with Rich Melman and his Lettuce cronies, but we weren’t sure how or where. Now it’s clear: Gras is taking over the Ambria space (2300 N. Lincoln Park West). “Our goal all along has been to build the best seafood restaurant in all of Chicago,” says Melman, who also tried to make a deal (ultimately unsuccessful) in the new Trump building. Ambria’s last meal is June 30th, then renovations should begin in July." ... The mag notes: Aaron Whitcomb, the highly touted executive chef of Room 21 (2110 S. Wabash Ave.), has left. Owner Jerry Kleiner has replaced him with Fred Ramos, a veteran chef currently running the show at Kleiner’s Gioco (1312 S. Wabash Ave.); the recent opening of Chaise Lounge (1840 W. North Ave.), Isaac Holzwarth’s “American eclectic” restaurant; and "contrary to rumors, Cuban all-star Cafe Bolero (2252 N. Western Ave.) is not closing for good. It will reopen (this) week under new management." And it has five questions for Rande Gerber, 45, whose Gold Coast establishment, Whiskey Bar & Grill (Sutton Place Hotel, 1015 N. Rush St.), reopened June 15th with an upscale Mexican theme ...

In its July 2007 issue, Food & Wine magazine foodandwine.com features its prestigious Best New Chefs of 2007 list, including: Ian Schnoebelen of Iris in New Orleans, Sean O' Brien of Myth in San Francisco, Paul Virant of Vie in Western Springs (Ill.), Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon in Portland (Ore.), Gabriel Bremer of Salts in Cambridge (Mass.), Gavin Kaysen of El Bizcocho in San Diego, April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig in New York City, Johnny Morris of Komi in Washington, D.C, Steve Corry of Five Fifty-Five in Portland (Maine) and Matthew Dillon of Sitka & Spruce in Seattle. ... The mag also features the Best New Wine Lists of 2007, including: San Diego's Addison, San Francisco's Perbacco, New York's Craftsteak, Wheeling, Ill.'s Osteria Di Tramonto, Las Vegas' Restaurant Guy Savoy and Boston's Bin 26 Enoteca. ... A Florida-based restaurant chain is putting out feelers that it wants to greatly expand its reach, the Denver Business Journal reports. Earl of Sandwich, founded in 2004 and based in Orlando, says it's looking for franchisees around the United States, including Chicago. ...

The Menu Pages blogs.menupages.com/chicago notes the recent opening of Cosmospolitan, a Greek/Mediterranean/American restaurant ... Hungrymag.com considers the sausage panino at Vella Café. ... ChicagoBurgerProject.blogspot.com visits McCormick & Schmick's (One East Wacker Drive). ... ChicagoFoodies.com raves about Sweet Maple Cafe ... OliveandMason.com consider Avenue M. ... TimeOut Chicago timeout.com/chicago reviews Gloria's Cafe (3300 W Fullerton Ave), the Bohemian-American restaurant Klas (5734 W Cermak, Cicero), previews the new Chaise Lounge, and notes the soft shell crab Po-boy at Heaven on Seven (111 N Wabash Ave). ... The Trib's Terry Armour features the opening of Plan B Bar and Kitchen (1635 N. Milwaukee Ave.), while Janet Franz notes the new Icosium Kafe (5200 N. Clark St.), which specializes in Algerian-style crepes. ... Joe Gray reviews Carthage Cafe (3446 W. Foster Ave.). chicagotribune.com ... The Reader notes the openings of Jerry Kleiner's Room 21 (2110 S. Wabash), Cordis Brothers Supper Club (1625 W. Irving Park), and Crust (2056 W. Division). ... The paper also provides a guide to al fresco dining and blogs that The Illinois Restaurant Association's lawsuit against the legality of the foie gras ban has been dismissed. chicagoreader.com ... CenterStageChicago.com reviews Big Buns and Pita on North Clark ... The Sun-Times' Pat Bruno gives two and a half stars to The Gage (24 S. Michigan), while Tom Witom reviews Sam Houston's Charhouse (1175 W. Lake Bartlett). suntimes.com ...

UPCOMING EVENT: Sixth Annual Artistry of Wine Benefit, for the Foundation Fighting Blindness. Participating restaurants, chefs and wines, include Michael, May St. Café, Avenues, NoMi, Avenue M, Roy’s, Sushi Wabi, Devon Seafood and Grill, Lush, Ambria, Winediva and Carmichael’s. Silent auction. Friday, June 22, 6:30-10 pm at The Peninsula Chicago (108 E. Superior St.) Tickets are $150.00, non-refundable. To purchase call 847-680-0100.

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

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