Ali MacGraw designed the interior. Dustin Hoffman, Stacy Keach, Bob Newhart, Tony Danza, John Milius and Alan Ladd Jr. are among the investors. The consulting chef is Jonathan Waxman. The location? Malibu. Where else?
The restaurant in question is the Malibu Adobe, scheduled to open officially a week from Monday on the site of the old Baja Cantina in Malibu's Cross Creek Plaza shopping center. Motion picture talent agent Andrea Eastman and business manager James Palmer are the general partners, with real estate mogul Stan Herman, producer Pierre Cossette and film-biz executives Jerry Perenchio, Frank Davis, Don Simpson and Lee Rich among the other money-men. Key staff members include executive chef Jeff Starr, who was the original sous-chef at Mark Miller's acclaimed Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe; pastry chef Kim Peoples, a veteran of both the Coyote and Waxman's Jams in New York City; and manager John Kopatsis, longtime maitre d'hotel at our own Morton's and former proprietor of the short-lived Primavera on Beverly Boulevard.
I called Waxman recently to ask him what the Adobe's food would be like. "It'll be sort of 'California cuisine,' whatever that stuff is," he answered, "but with Southwestern accents--a little more like what we used to do at Bud's (another Waxman restaurant in New York) than like the food at the Coyote. There'll be simple grilled things with interesting salsas, for instance, and then things like more elaborate variations on enchiladas or tamales. There'll be a bar menu, too, so that you can get a good, reasonably priced hamburger, say, as well as a great, more expensive steak."
I TAKE IT BLACK: Mary Atkinson, general manager of Orleans in West L.A., writes to tell me--in reply to my recent complaint about the lack of blackness in most "blackened" food--that her own establishment does indeed blacken items, redfish and otherwise, in the proper way.
I know they do. I still recall a slab of blackened tuna I had there one evening a year or so ago as perhaps the single best piece of fish cooked in this manner that I have ever eaten. I did say that genuinely blackened items had "practically" disappeared, though--not completely. Orleans is certainly one of the places that keeps the faith.
TIP SHEET: My copy of Miss Manners' booklet on that most nettlesome of topics, tipping, has finally arrived from Cleveland.
Worth the six-month wait? Not really. It's short and general and doesn't tell much not already known about gratuities--though it does include a handy "Tipping Table," covering not just restaurants but also hairdressers, train attendants, golf caddies and such. But I'm afraid Miss Manners is a bit out of date in one area at least: For valet parking at a restaurant, she notes, tip $1. Ha!
DEPARTMENT OF DELICIOUS EXCLAMATIONS: The food and wine society called Taste! hosts a wine dinner next Sunday evening at the restaurant called Sabroso! (i.e., Tasty!) in Venice, featuring the wines of Spain's Torres winery and Spanish dishes from the recently published cookbook "The Spanish Table" by Marimar Torres (who will herself be present). Call Sabroso! for further information or contact Taste! directly at (213) 558-3281.
NEW TABLES IN TOWN: Rosie's BBQ Grillery has opened on Olympic, just east of Bundy, in West L.A. (Other Rosies restaurants have long been popular in Encino and Northridge.) . . . Mughal Garden is the latest addition to the dining scene in Tustin. . . . Roger Cicieron has launched Roger's Marina Cafe in Marina del Rey, featuring French and American specialties prepared by chef Marcel Cadoret. . . . The El Cholo restaurants in Orange and La Habra have changed their names and menus--the former now being called South of Santa Fe (what does that mean? Alamogordo?) and the latter Cafe El Cholo & the Burro Alley Tortilla Factory. Both remain under the original El Cholo ownership. . . . And Reflections in La Canada has reopened with new decor and a new menu.
COMING SOON: In case you're a member or can wangle an invitation, the Regency Club in Westwood presents special dinners cooked by Anne Rosenzweig (of New York's Arcadia and "21" Club) on Friday and Saturday, and by Jean-Louis Palladin (of Jean-Louis in Washington) and Joachim Splichal (formerly of, let's see, the Seventh Street Bistro, Max au Triangle, New York's Q. V., and, a long time back it seems, the Regency Club itself) on Nov. 19 and 20. . . .
Piret's Bistro in Costa Mesa plans two special wine dinners this month--one featuring Beaulieu Vineyards on Tuesday and another with the wines of William Wheeler next Tuesday.