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RSVP / INTO THE NIGHT

Spago Crowd Rises to the Occasion of Eclipse

July 01, 1994|BETTY GOODWIN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Scene: Official opening of Eclipse, restaurant-baby of Bernard Erpicum, the former maitre d' of Spago, at the original Morton's site on Melrose on Wednesday night.

Who Was There: About 160 of Erpicum's former Spago customers and slightly blase foodie friends (you know, another week, another restaurant) including Whoopi Goldberg with Herbert Ross, George Hamilton, Paul Reiser, Jon Voight, Tony Curtis, Roger Moore, Jacqueline Bisset, Tony Thomopoulos and Cristina Ferrare, Peter Coyote, Shirlee Fonda, Michelle Phillips, Ivan Reitman, Margaret and Howard Weitzman and artist Alexander Mihaylovich, whose paintings adorned the walls. Besides being the attorney who pulled out of the O.J. Simpson case, Howard is also the self-described "counselor who put this restaurant together."

Absent With Leave: Robert Shapiro, Simpson's defense attorney, was expected to attend, but at the last minute phoned Erpicum to say that he "will be there for you in soul and spirit, but I'm working around the clock on my preliminary for the morning."

No Show: Steven Seagal, a rumored Eclipse backer (and the face painted to look chiseled a la Mount Rushmore on the labels of the Steven Seagal Cabernet Sauvignon on every table). When the actor failed to appear by the time cappuccinos were served, one guest ventured that he was probably home crushing grapes.

Quoted: Eclipse investor Marty Ingels, explaining why he was carrying a placard that read, "LIMITED PARTNER (SILENT)": "I want people to know this is my first restaurant. They usually don't last very long, about a week or two, so I want to be as loud as I can during my short tenure as the Jewish Nicky Blair."

Also Quoted: "I said I'm going to win points and be here tonight because I know I'll get a good table next time. It's all about claiming your territory early, because if you come here and they put you in the wrong place you've had it," explained George Hamilton.

Chow: The meal consisted of highlights of the seafood-laden menu. There was the hors d'oeuvre of smoked Norwegian salmon wrapped around fresh spinach and horseradish cream served with cucumber vinaigrette; the appetizer of flash-grilled butterflied langoustines with charred-tomato green olive sauce; the entree of Norwegian salmon baked in parchment with a julienne of leeks, green onion, basil and tarragon. Among the myriad desserts were such exotica as frozen honey lavender nougat and lemon tarts with kumquat zest.

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