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New-School Here, Old-School There

Expect the unusual at Kakemoto and changes at Citrus, while Ca' del Sole goes a bit retro. Restaurant News

August 31, 2000|ANGELA PETTERA | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Nouvelle Japanese: Kakemoto, a modern, slightly Americanized Japanese restaurant, opened about six months ago in Beverly Hills. The food and ambience are geared toward young Japanese diners who want a slightly untraditional Japanese experience, although non-Japanese are, of course, welcome. Kakemoto, named after one of its Japanese owners, sports wooden floors and jazz on the stereo. Another owner is general manager T.J. Sugiyama, and a third is the chef Masakazu Nonomura. Chef Nono, as he's sometimes called, trained in Tokyo, where he became a tempura specialist. The king crab ($18), soft shell crab ($15), shrimp ($14) and vegetable tempura ($12) dishes (he follows California tradition in using organic vegetables) are available at both lunch and dinner. A lunch dish called vongole udon takes udon noodles and dresses them with mushrooms, Manila clams and a light cream sauce ($15). At dinner, oolong-smoked duck gets dressed in a miso sauce ($25). Also at dinner are three omakase, or chef's choice, menus. For $50 you get three courses, for $75 you get five, and $100 will bring you seven choices from the chef. Kakemoto is open for lunch Monday through Friday and for dinner Monday through Saturday.

* Kakemoto, 456 N. Bedford Drive, Beverly Hills; (310) 246-1370.

New Wrinkle at Citrus: Sean Dent has filled the empty clogs left by Daniel Rossi when he departed Citrus two months ago to work for Joachim Splichal at Cafe Pinot. Dent comes from Le Merigot Santa Monica Beach Hotel, where he landed in December of '99 as the opening executive sous chef of Cezanne. Before that, Dent was the sous chef at L'Orangerie on La Cienega Boulevard. Born in Australia and trained there under a Swiss master chef, Dent has worked in Switzerland and Fiji. In Australia he served indigenous ingredients like kangaroo, crocodile and honey ants. Here at Citrus, he'll stay more along French lines. Next week Dent is traveling to Washington, D.C., to flesh out menu ideas with Citrus' owner Michel Richard. Dent, who wants to bring some new energy to Citrus, tells us, "I'm a young guy . . . very determined and very passionate about what I do." He's running lots of nightly specials for now, with plans to change Citrus' menu very slowly. "We don't really want to shock everyone straight away," Dent says.

* Citrus, 6703 Melrose Ave.; (323) 857-0034.

Ch-Ch-Changes: Ca' del Sole brought over a new chef from Sicily last week, Salvatore Di Bella. We wanted to chat with him about his plans for revamping the menu, but he speaks no English and our Italian is limited to nouns referring to food, so we chatted with Rodolfo Costello, one of Ca' del Sole's owners, instead. He described Di Bella to us as an old-fashioned Italian chef who's full of energy. One of the changes in motion for Di Bella's arrival is that the restaurant will start getting its beef from a new source--from now on, only grass-fed organic beef from Argentina will be used in its dishes, including the filet with Barolo sauce ($18), the rib eye ($22) and the carpaccio ($9.25). Another change is the new Venetian barbecue plate served Mondays from 5 to 10 p.m. On it are baby back ribs, a lamb chop, mesquite-grilled chicken, sausage and grilled polenta ($14.95). "We have several things we want to do," Costello told us. But the rest of the changes to the menu, he said, would be gradual.

* Ca' del Sole, 4100 Cahuenga Blvd., North Hollywood; (818) 985-4669.

A Taste of Cayo: Claude Beltran, chef of Cayo restaurant next to the Pasadena Playhouse, has begun offering a variable tasting menu every week. Expect six to eight small courses for around $65. Wines can be paired with this menu for an additional charge. The tasting menu must be ordered by the whole table. It's served Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. The menu changes weekly. Beltran tells us he loves to be able to tailor a tasting menu to a specific group of people. If you want him to do so for you, just give him three days' notice and let him know what ingredients are special to you and your friends, and any dietary restrictions. Cayo has also begun serving lunch on Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

* Cayo, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena; (626) 396-1800.

Why You Can't Get Reservations Right Now: Campanile (624 S. La Brea Ave.) closed temporarily Monday to take care of some building maintenance. It is scheduled to reopen in mid-September.

*

Angela Pettera can be reached at (213) 237-3153 or at pettera@prodigy.net.

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