TO WATCH 2004
rarefied world of fine dining experiences the occasional hiccup.
This year was no exception, from the culinary tremor in Los
Angeles when Alain Giraud exited Bastide—a restaurant
he tailored for three years prior to opening—to Sirio
Maccioni's pronouncement in New York that he would relocate
Le Cirque 2000. It's too early to say where the points will
fall when these culinary giants settle into their transitions,
but we are eagerly watching and waiting.
What was once a bastion of Provençal cuisine has now
become newly installed chef Ludovic Lefebvre's showcase for
exotic spices. While
Lefebvre travels the world of fragrant ingredients, his sommelier
is bound to his all-French cellar, which proves exceedingly
challenging with some combinations; other pairings are pure
genius. But whether Bastide's clientele rides merrily along
on this departure remains to be seen.
Ron Siegel arrives at The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton, San
Francisco after a lauded and successful tenure at Masa's, but
he has big shoes to fill and is still in the shadow of long-time
executive chef Gary Danko. Siegel has risen to seemingly impossible
challenges before; after all, he won the Iron Chef lobster competition
when the program was still based in Japan.
The gastronomic world heaved a collective sigh this summer when
Sirio Maccioni announced he would pack up his Le Cirque 2000
in November and relocate. Where his next move will be is still
unconfirmed. With three talented sons in the business, he surely
is not planning to fold his tent in New York? Stay tuned.
The faithful have continued to worship at this temple of French
gastronomy with or without founder Jean Banchet's participation.
When one of the owners of Les Deux Gros, a more casual French
restaurant in suburban Glen Ellyn, claimed his stake in the
property, many cheered. But now Michael Lachowicz has pulled
out, leaving the fate of this dining Mecca up for grabs.
First Ron Siegel left for The Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco,
then replacement Richard Reddington, from Auberge du Soleil,
trimmed his responsibilities in the wake of landing his own
restaurant project in the Wine Country. Can Gregory Short, whose
last posting was at the casual dining room The Loft of Montage
Resort & Spa in Laguna Beach, Calif., step up to the plate?
Elsewhere in the country, the dining gods have not smiled on
formal French restaurants in recent years, but Gérard
and Virginie Ferry have held firm at this elegant locale. Still,
the revolving door to the executive chef's office leaves us
scratching our heads. The Ferrys always find incredible talents
to man their stoves: New arrival Christophe Bellanca should
be no exception.
Add one part famous New York chef (Alfred Portale), one part
of-the-moment restaurateur (Stephen Starr) and what do you get?
The newly conceived Striped Bass. Not that the former Striped
Bass had hit the skids—but now it's more of a technicolor
Bass. Considering Starr's golden touch in Philadephia, this
new incarnation of an old favorite will no doubt be an unusual
and delectable kettle of fish.
This exceptional seafood restaurant ticked along in downtown
Los Angeles long before it was fashionable to go there. So there
is no doubt the restaurant will survive the departure of its
talented chef, Michael Cimarusti. All eyes are on King's Seafood
Company, the owners of this standout, as they search for a worthy
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