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RESTAURANT NOTES

One More Sanctuary for Industry Types

October 07, 1994|KATHIE JENKINS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

There just aren't that many restaurants in town where you can get a decent meal at 1 in the morning. Downtown's Pacific Dining Car and the Original Pantry Cafe, Monkey Bar & Grill on Beverly Boulevard and Dan Tana's in West Hollywood are all that come to mind.

Now, club promoters Dimitri Christoforidis and Billy Adkins plan to cash in on the scarcity of late-night dining spots. In November, the partners will open Sanctuary in Beverly Hills. Celeb investors include "Baywatch's" Pamela Anderson; Costas Mandylor, the cop on "Picket Fences," and Poison lead singer Brett Michaels.

Adkins ran the VIP room at Stringfellows when it first opened and promoted several affairs at Bar One on Sunset. Christoforidis manned the butterfly-engraved glass door at Stringfellows until it closed and claims he was responsible for putting together the deal that established the Gate, a La Cienega Boulevard nightclub-restaurant with private limo entrance for special guests. But Gate partners Albert Gersten and Camille Bennett say otherwise. "He was host for one week and was terminated," Gersten said through his spokesman.

"When the Gate opened, nobody knew who Albert Gersten and Camille Bennett were," responds Christoforidis. "Most people came to the Gate because I told them to come."

Christoforidis now hopes his many friends will seek out his new supper club. Located in the former Asylum space on Robertson Boulevard, Sanctuary will have much the same look and feel of the former restaurant, including the fabulous Art Nouveau decor.

Maitre d' Jean-Jacques Retourne is no stranger to L.A.'s restaurant scene, either. "I was opening manager at Tatou, but spent the last eight years of my life working with Michel (Richard). I helped him build and run Citronelle (in Santa Barbara)."

Besides a moderately priced menu featuring lots of fresh fish and chicken dishes ("New World Cuisine," the partners call it), there will be a late-night supper menu consisting of salads, pizzas and other light entrees.

"We expect a lot of young people in here, a lot of stars, so we are going to try to keep the menu as clean and healthy as possible," says Retourne, who is also putting together the wine list, which includes 15 different Champagnes. Brian Keller, formerly of Stars in San Francisco and briefly of Morton's (the new version), is in charge of the kitchen.

And the name? "(The owners) wanted something very peaceful," explains Retourne, "a place where people in the industry could feel safe and quiet among themselves without having a bunch of people bugging them." Like an Asylum.

*

Where Frites Give Way to Fries: La Cachette was supposed to be open by now, but former L'Orangerie chef-turned-restaurateur Jean-Francois Meteigner says he had a minor setback. "We had a problem with one investor. The guy flaked on us," Meteigner says, "but we worked around it." The restaurant is now slated to open for dinner Saturday.

Located in the former Champagne Bis on Little Santa Monica (the French restaurant owned by Sophie Healy that closed earlier this year), the space has undergone a complete renovation. Meteigner and partner Liza Utter have whitewashed the walls, installed roomy banquettes and a fake fireplace and hung huge mirrors.

Although the menu and name are French (La Cachette means hideaway ), Meteigner doesn't want the place to be known as a French restaurant. "We want to try to be more French American , with a more American atmosphere," he says. "When Sophie ran the front it was a little stiff. We hope to create a very warm atmosphere. The karma for French restaurants has been really strange lately."

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