Tasting notes

Posted on 13 Jul 2006 at 6:43pm
By Arnold Wayne Jones – Staff Writer

New York’s Craft opens at the W; Pyles jump-starts Share Our Strength



Ron Guest, owner of Cafe San Miguel, plans some specials for the first anniversary of his Mexican restaurant.

The opening of the W Hotel was big news in Dallas generally, but also significant for its contribution to the dining scene. Tom Colicchio, the celebrity chef who serves as the lead judge on Bravo’s “Top Chef,” has opened Craft at the W. This is Colicchio’s only Craft restaurant outside New York.

But Colicchio isn’t the only one with new digs in town. Avner Samuel, chef-owner of the pricey Oak Lawn bistro Aurora, is opening a lower-cost alternative. Urban Bistro will feature Mediterranean from his childhood, with influences from Greece, North Africa and the Middle East. The restaurant, which is set to open Aug. 1, will be in the space previously occupied by George.

Scott Gottlich, who served as the consulting chef for Alberto Lombardi’s Cafe Toulouse through its opening, is hanging out his own shingle in Inwood Village. Bijoux will concentrate on high-end cuisine largely prepared using French techniques.

Two Uptown neighbors are also open for business. Little Katana is the Travis Street version of the namesake bistro at the Galleria, and features traditional Japanese cuisine, including delicious bento boxes. Right next door, Trece offers high-end Mexican cuisine.

Down in Deep Ellum, the defunct Crescent City Cafe has been replaced by Twisted Root Burger Co., a burger joint with some skillful touches. Sage, the new restaurant from the talented chef Chris Svalesen, is now open at the corner of Inwood and Cedar Springs roads.

Share Our Strength, Stephan Pyles’ fundraising event to help feed the hungry, officially takes place in August, but the restaurateur is starting off this month with a special dinner. Pyles will be joined by Anthony Bombaci (Nana), Sharon Hage (York Street) and others for “A Tasteful Pursuit” on July 23. The cost is $175 and reservations are required.

Cafe San Miguel on Henderson Avenue celebrates its first year in business on July 14-15 with a fiesta. The regular menu will be supplemented with specials designed for the anniversary, as well as late-night salsa dancing with Latin D.J. music.

Italy won the World Cup, so Ferrari’s Italian Villa is saying “Goal!” with a free glass of wine for every diner who arrives for dinner between 5 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on July 16.

You can also get your taste of Italy at Abacus on July 17 when the proprietor of Castello Banfi vineyard will be on hand for a wine dinner. The cost is $195 per person. For the trifecta, there’s also Ferre in the West Village. Chef Jeff Moschetti has designed a multi-course prix fixe summer menu featuring a salad, caprese appetizer, sorbet and choice of one of four entr?: chicken piccata, grilled salmon, ravioi di formaggio and a beef panino. The cost is $14.

The last Wednesday of every month will be “Secrets from the Cellar” at The Mansion on Turtle Creek, a wine tasting class with a different theme each month. Each class is $50.

Rafain, the Brazilian churrascaria in Far North Dallas, offers a happy hour during the week, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Parties of four staying for dinner can also enjoy a complimentary bottle of wine throughout July and August.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, July 14, 2006.

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