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SMORGASBORD FOOD TOPICS : Changing Courses : Restaurants and cafes relocate with revised menus and changes in management. Seafood and steak are prevalent.


Chow in Ventura County is constantly changing. Every week, food establishments come and go, menus change, new owners take over. Here is an update on the recent changes taking place at local restaurants.

In early November, there was no magical spell cast in turning a turtle into a steer. That's when Stuart Anderson's Black Angus Restaurant took over the building that was last home to the Velvet Turtle Restaurant.

Known for prime rib, the Black Angus also offers a variety of seafood such as lobster, crab, shrimp and prawns as well as three daily fish specials. Chicken dishes and other cuts of beef are also featured.

Recent additions to the menu are the signature "sizzling platters." Chicken, shrimp or marinated top sirloin is served on a very hot cast-iron skillet along with julienne vegetables and deep-fried red potatoes rolled in Cajun seasonings.

In Channel Islands Harbor the now defunct D.W. Montgomery's has been replaced with Barnacle Bill's. Located upstairs in the Harbor Landing complex, the restaurant offers boat watching from anywhere inside or on the outdoor patio.

The menu has a selection of items with a maritime theme. After warming up with starters such as "Pieces of Eight"--eight wedges of seasoned and fried fresh zucchini or "Sand Dollars"--Greek flatbread with marinara and melted cheeses, you can choose from more than a dozen hearty sandwiches. Breakfast is also available.

Goodby Yankee Clipper, hello Wellman Jue's Steak and Seafood Restaurant. During the last 25 years, many food establishments have come and gone from this lo cation.

Wellman Jue, who opened Paradise in 1965, has recently returned to the site from which he ran his restaurant until its closing in 1980. Instead of the Polynesian theme, he is now offering a traditional steak and seafood house. All food is cooked to the customer's order. Fish dishes can be fried, steamed, broiled or baked.

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner.

Bursting at the seams with its breakfast and lunch crowd, the Ojai Cafe Emporium started serving dinner and looking for a new home. When the folks at the Nest in Ojai flew the coop, they left the perfect location. Finally, you can get a table as well as a parking space.

There is now definitely more room; other than that, things are pretty much the same. The Emporium's extensive selection of gourmet coffee beans, teas, cheeses, and freshly baked muffins and pastries is still e the foundation on which the cafe's reputation is built.

The name and the location haven't changed, but the Elephant Bar has a neon banner boasting a "NEW MENU." Unfortunately, the service is the same. Plagued by problems of mismanagement and a high employee turnover, this is not a place to take someone you want to impress.

The menu has been revamped from appetizers to an entirely new pasta section.

The "Pachyderm Palace" is still a good place to meet friends for drinks. The jungle motif bar provides the atmosphere for nurturing the true party animal.


* Stuart Anderson's Black Angus

139 W. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks; 497-0757

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekends

Full bar; parking lot; reservations accepted

Food only, for two, $16 to $60

* Wellman Jue's Steak and Seafood Restaurant

2437 E. Main St., Ventura; 643-3136

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday; closed Sunday

Full bar; parking on street; reservations accepted

Food only, for two, under $20

* Barnacle Bill's

2810 Harbor Blvd., Oxnard; 984-0046

Hours: 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. seven days a week

Full bar; parking lot; Food only, for two, $7 to $20

* Ojai Cafe Emporium

108 S. Montgomery St., Ojai, 646-2723

Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday and Monday

Beer and wine; parking lot; reservations accepted for four or more people

Food only, for two, $10 to $25

* The Elephant Bar and Restaurant

5795 Walker St., Ventura; 644-6238

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekends

Full bar; parking lot; reservations accepted

Food only, for two, $12 to $40

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