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Jimmy's Preparing for New Millennium

The venerable Beverly Hills hangout will close for perhaps two months for extensive renovation.

July 23, 1998|ANGELA PETTERA | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Jimmy Ponders a Make-Over: Have you ever had a 40- or 50-year-old friend disappear for a couple of months and then return looking younger than ever? Well, Jimmy's, the industry hangout in Beverly Hills, plans on doing just that. "We've been open for 20 years, and it's time to move into the year 2000," says owner's son Sean Murphy, who becomes a senior partner with the reopening. Aug. 19 is the closing date for the renovation, which will touch every room of the restaurant, making it more contemporary and casual. The menu is also getting a face-lift. The new, younger-looking Jimmy's will debut sometime around the end of October.

* Jimmy's, 201 Moreno Drive, Beverly Hills; (310) 552-2394.

Speaking of Beautiful Eating: The Frederic Fekkai salon on Rodeo Drive has added a swank little breakfast, lunch and tea spot on its terrace called Cafe Mirabeau (named after a street in Aix-en-Provence, Fekkai's hometown). The food is light and spa-oriented (lots of salads and fish, a pumpkin soup, and a curried chicken salad on walnut toast) so you can still squeeze into that gorgeous little number in a Size 4 after lunch. Closed Sundays.

* Cafe Mirabeau, 440 N. Rodeo Drive (3rd floor), Beverly Hills; (310) 271-1995.

And Joe's Begat Paul's: Paul's Cafe, the latest place to be started by Joe's alumni, is now open in the Valley. Paul Lloyd and chef Darin Eckermann have kept menu items relatively cheap: phyllo-crusted shrimp with seafood ravioli is $13.95 and garlic-rubbed rack of lamb with goat cheese potato tart is $14.95. Everything on the wine list is under $35, and the corkage fee, should you choose to bring your own, is only $2 (just as at Cafe Bizou). Open for lunch Mondays-Fridays and dinner every night.

* Paul's Cafe, 13456 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; (818) 789-3575.

Yet Another Make-Over: The Jamaican Cafe in Santa Monica (which opened seven years ago as a Jamaican cafeteria) has gone upscale and cross-cultural. Owners Scott Durrah and Wanda James bought the place about a year ago and have decided now is the time to change the name and the menu (not to mention the decor). The new name is Eight Rivers, which refers to not only that Jamaican tourist destination Ocho Rios but to the eight rivers that run into the Nile River. Says James, "We want our restaurant to incorporate all people of color." Durrah, who learned to cook by his grandmother's side in Jamaica, also features Cuban and other Latin dishes on the menu. A wine bar has been added too. On Saturday nights you can hear live Latin jazz; Wednesday, it's reggae. Open for lunch Mondays-Fridays and dinner nightly.

* Eight Rivers, 424 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 587-2626.

Chaya Breathes Tall: Chaya Brasserie, the hip Cal-French yet Japanese bistro on Alden Drive, turns 15 this year. To celebrate, they're pouring on the garlic. From now until Aug. 9, you can order from a Provence Garlic Fair menu that features the aromatic herb in things like lobster garlic paella, Alaskan codling with spring garlic vegetable ragout and rib-eye steak with 40 cloves of garlic. You may have to go easy on the air kisses afterward.

* Chaya Brasserie, 8741 Alden Drive, L.A.; (310) 859-8833.

Wine and Fishes: The American Institute of Wine and Food wants to teach you a little bit about pairing fine wines with seafood. Apparently they're bothered by the American habit of chasing raw oysters with beer. So Saturday, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. the institute is hosting an afternoon of seafood and wine at Ocean Avenue Seafood in Santa Monica. Pinot Gris, Muscadet and Chablis (among others) will be paired with fish, crabs, oysters, clams, mussels and shrimp. The tab is $60 a person ($45 if you're an institute member). Call the institute at (310) 535-6090 for info and reservations.

* Ocean Avenue Seafood, 1401 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica; (310) 394-5669.

Have a Little Kabuki With That?: A Thousand Cranes restaurant is serving a traditional Japanese kaiseki banquet--bonito clear soup with lobster and mitsua leaf, sashimi, lily root dumpling with duckling and green peas, the whole nine yards--on July 31 and Aug. 1. At 8 p.m. both nights, look through the restaurant's plate-glass windows and you'll see a woman performing a Kabuki dance, haya-gari, on a stage over the garden pond. The dinner is $110 per person.

* A Thousand Cranes, New Otani Hotel & Garden, 120 S. Los Angeles St., L.A.; (213) 253-9255.

Joe's Blowout: Joe Miller of Joe's in Venice has gathered together a few of his cooking friends for another showcase dinner on Aug. 3. This one is eight courses for $70. Miller is making a duck breast with mustard cabbage, Tommy Harase of Nouveau Cafe Blanc in Beverly Hills is making an appetizer and a carpaccio of tuna, Suzanne Tracht of Jozu is making a second appetizer and a roasted monkfish, Angela Hunter of L'Ermitage Beverly Hills ends the meal with a mulberry compote and petit fours. For an additional $25, the sommelier will hook you up with half a glass of wine per course. Call for the 6 or 8:30 p.m. seatings.

* Joe's, 1023 Abbott Kinney Blvd., Venice; (310) 399-5811.

Send hot tips and other info to Pettera@mci2000.com

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