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Make-Over : A new menu will debut when Moonlight Tango redecorating is completed.


Lenetta Kidd, who took over as owner of the Moonlight Tango Cafe in Sherman Oaks last May, undertakes a thorough make-over of the decor and menu of her place next month.

The new look will follow the style of the architect Morris Lepidus, who designed such familiar American landmarks as the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas and the Fountainbleu Hotel in Miami Beach.

The project will give a different treatment to the restaurant's bar and stage areas. Kidd also plans to knock down a wall that now separates the interior of the restaurant from a terraced area.

"Morris Lepidus started in the '30s," Kidd says, "and you can see a classic line in everything he did all the way into the '60s. Even now his work still stands, with soft circles and shapes, soft lighting, and bright colors.

"I also want to create a whole new menu based on the best restaurant food of this century. . . . things you would have found in fine supper clubs in the decades from the '20s through the '60s."

Kidd was the Moonlight Tango's manager before she became owner last year, with the backing of partner Guy Burguin. She expects the remodeling project to take three weeks, with a reopening set for early May.

In the meantime, the restaurant will continue to feature its signature live music six nights a week--big band music Tuesdays, swing music Wednesdays, swing, jazz or blues on Thursdays, and Kidd's own Palm Beach Trio, with which she herself sings, Fridays through Sundays.

Moonlight Tango is at 13730 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, (818) 788-2200.


Cafe Bellissimo in Woodland Hills has won mention in two new books by the travel writers Bradley S. O'Leary and Laura McKenzie, "Bed & Champagne--Top Romantic Getaways" and "Dining by Candlelight--America's 200 Most Romantic Restaurants."

Owner Emilio Bellissimo also has some new items on the menu, including a New York steak with a pizzaiola sauce, and the Sicilian dish braciole--butterflied steak pounded, rolled and stuffed with pine nuts, eggs, prosciutto and fontina cheese. The steak goes for $17.95, the braciole for $16.95.

Sara Bellissimo, Emilio Bellissimo's mother, who runs the kitchen, does another Sicilian dish--arancini, rice croquettes stuffed with mozzarella and romano cheese and peas--as an appetizer. It sells for $3.95.

And with salmon in plentiful supply, she also does a salmon linguini in a pink tomato sauce, for $17.95.

The restaurant serves dinner seven nights a week. It is at 22458 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, (818) 225-0026.

* Juan Hovey writes about the restaurant scene in the San Fernando Valley and outlying points. He may be reached at (805) 492-7909 or fax (805) 492-5139 or via e-mail at

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