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Asia's Bounty Gathers on the Orange Coast

Food from China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam is served on the waterfront at Aysia 101.


Pacific Rim West. Aysia 101 has just been born in Newport Beach, and the proud parent is John Sharpe of Bistro 201 (Newport Beach) and Diva (South Coast Plaza). Aysia 101 serves cuisine from China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam in six thematic rooms of the 20,000 square-foot waterfront space. "The vision of this concept has been in my mind for a long time," says Sharpe. Walking in on the first floor, a visitor encounters the Tiger Lounge, decorated with a granite bar and 5-foot wooden tiger. Off the lounge is the Java Terrace, furnished with Indonesian-style daybeds and cocktail tables. From there, one walks down a few steps into the Shanghai Dining Room, which seats 150. From there, the visitor is guided directly into (what else?) the gift shop. At the end of a hallway covered in volcano rock (left over from the Hawaiian restaurant that previously occupied this space) sits the Yuyake Sushi Bar, sunset-watching territory. Upstairs from the main entrance is the Dragon Bar; just beyond it is the Bali Terrace balcony. There's also a banquet room upstairs for parties. On the menu, which is served in its entirety in every room of the restaurant, are a variety of sates, dim sum, stir-fried dishes, curries and noodles. Aysia 101, 2901 W. Pacific Coast Highway, Newport Beach; (949) 722-4128.

The Nose. New restaurant Cyrano has just opened on the second floor of Antiquarius Antique Mall on Beverly Boulevard near Robertson. The former Pane Caldo space has been gutted and redecorated with hardwood floors, French lithographs and hand-blown light fixtures. The bar is mahogany, the lounge has burgundy couches and there's a balcony. "It's very elegant without being stuffy," owner Erich Grey Litoff tells us. OK, but why is it named after a jovial, long-nosed, love-sick French guy? Because one of Litoff's partners, Jean-Marc Grey, has a penchant for the boisterous 17th century literary figure. But Litoff insists there is no relation to the Cyrano's restaurant of about 20 years ago. Chef Keith Silverton from San Francisco combines French food and Mediterranean technique to come up with lunch dishes like an ahi-Nicoise salad, a light fry of cubed fish and sliced chips and a salad (the Cyrano salad, of course) of sliced pears and Roquefort with a pepper-walnut vinaigrette. For dinner there's Alaskan halibut with fingerling potatoes and herb fondue, soft-shell crabs, sliced duck breast in Cabernet-Bing cherry sauce, braised ox tail and Champagne risotto. Silverton is a vegetarian, but we've been assured he tastes all of his dishes, even the meaty ones, for quality. Cyrano, 8840 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood; (310) 271-4193.

Getting Over Fabio. Chianti on Melrose Avenue finally has a new chef to replace Fabio Flagiello, who left some months ago to open his own place in Hermosa Beach (see Tasty Tidbits below). Naples-born Luca Loffredo comes most recently from Prego in San Francisco. "I'm not a person who likes to move a lot," he says. "This moving to Los Angeles was really a big decision." He came here to learn more about fine Italian dining and to exercise his own ideas in the kitchen. He says San Francisco, though a great training ground for him, doesn't offer the range of upscale Italian restaurants that L.A. does. His new menu at Chianti will debut the second week in October. Because he's from the south of Italy, Loffredo prefers a Mediterranean style of cooking. His menus will change with the seasons, the first one reflecting fall. At the end of October, he'll be incorporating white truffles into lunch and dinner specials. To keep himself busy come December, Loffredo will be teaching classes on how to make pasta at Epicurean School of Culinary Arts on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood. Chianti, 7383 Melrose Ave., L.A.; (323) 653-8333.

Tasty Tidbits. Limbo Caribbean Cuisine on 3rd Street has a special deal on Mondays: Prices have been lowered to $5 for appetizers, $12 for entrees and $4 for desserts. Also, the entire wine list is 20% off. (213) 866-8258. . . . Fabio Trattoria in Hermosa Beach is now open Monday nights for dinner.


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