OK, diners and dinettes of Los Angeles, brace yourselves for another round. . . .
Andy Tsuji, a veteran of Ma Maison, Michael's and Morton's, has taken over the Starlight Grill on Melrose and plans to close it down any day now--to remodel it into the Angel City Grill, "an American specialty restaurant." No chef has been chosen yet, and, says Tsuji, "It's a little early to capsulize the direction." It should be open in early August, though, and you can find out for yourself. . . .
Richard Drapkin and Robert Simon of Cafe Jacoulet in Pasadena, meanwhile, have bought Les Anges in Santa Monica with the restaurant's talented chef, Patrick Jamon, as the partner. Don Hartwell is the new sous chef, some "upscale Provencal" dishes will be added to the menu, expansion of the dining room is planned, and prices will be lowered by as much as 25%. . . .
Johnny Rocket's, an exceedingly spiffy-looking 50s- (and even slightly 40s-) style diner has just opened next door to the aforementioned Starlight/Angel City Grill. . . .
Popolo is new and very Italian further east on Melrose. . . .
Well-known local restaurant consultant Susan Fine is the brains behind the Beverly Hills Breakfast Club, which serves you-know-what (from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.) in you-know-where. . . .
La Fabulosa is an attractive new contemporary Mexican place in West Hollywood. . . .
Charlie Rivezzo, owner of the Anthony Pier 2 restaurants in Newport Beach and Anaheim, has turned the old Blackbeard's in Newport Beach into the America Restaurant and Bar. . . .
The second La Scala Presto trattoria has opened in the South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach. . . .
Moun of Tunis, long a fixture on Sunset in Hollywood, has expanded westward with a Venice Branch on West Washington Boulevard--and with a North African/French Cafe called Ca Va immediately next door (West Washington is becoming a hot little food street, incidentally, with such places as Rockenwagner, Sabroso, L.A. Eats, etc., having opened there in the recent past). . . .
Outside China is the latest thing in Studio City featuring "dim sum and grazing" (does that mean moo shoo pork?). . . .
Cassis is in the works on the site of the recently shuttered Michel's Entourage in West Hollywood . . . and Patrick Terrail's new Hollywood diner, on Fairfax near Santa Monica Boulevard, looks ready to grease up its griddles any minute now.
But don't worry; maybe things will pick up in a month or two. . . .
POP DINING: Abacus Chinese Seafood Restaurant in West L.A. offers Peking Duck and a bottle of Wan Fu wine for 2 for $28 on Father's Day, next Sunday. . . . Stratton's Grill in Westwood observes the occasion with a "special Father's Day feast" including barbecued chicken, ribs and homemade sausage at $9.95 per person. . . . Le Cellier in Santa Monica beefs up its regular menu with a Father's Day filet de boeuf dinner including soup and salad for $18.75 a pop. . . . And the New Otani, downtown, presents a special holiday buffet from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at $16.95 for adults, and $8.95 for the little creatures who define you as a father to begin with.
SANTA BARBARA: William Tomicki, who is restaurant editor of L.A. Style and editor/publisher of the Montecito-based Entree newsletter, has been named restaurant editor of the Santa Barbara News & Review. Tomicki will furnish a full page of food, restaurant and hotel news in each issue of the gratis weekly. In his most recent letter, incidentally, Tomicki notes that the chef at the new Rams Hill resort in Borrego Springs claims to be one of only 15 chefs in the world permitted to wear the toque noire (black chef's hat) awarded by the Escoffier Club of Paris. Tomicki is skeptical, and adds, "I don't know of a single (toque noire) outside of Borrego, do you?" I do not, though there may well be some. What I'm not sure I understand, though, is why Tomicki--given his skepticism--passes along the information about the toque without editorial comment, as if it really meant something, in the April edition of Entree .
EATING FOR GOOD: The Linden Center, which cares for severely abused, neglected and emotionally disturbed children, holds its first annual benefit dinner party this evening at the Studio Grill in Hollywood. Tax deductible ducats are $125 per person.