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Some New Venues Coming From Experienced Hands

June 20, 2002|JESSICA STRAND | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Rock Is Catch: Hans Rockenwagner will reopen Rock in Marina del Rey as Catch Seafood early next month. He's remodeled it in a Cape-Cod-meets-Venice style and hired Frank Spingman, former executive chef of the Flying Fish in Seattle. Rockenwagner describes the new menu as interesting without being fussy, with dishes such as striped bass with Mission fig-fennel salad and scallop pot pie..

* Catch Seafood Restaurant and Bar, 13455 Maxella Ave., Marina del Rey. (310) 822-8979.

Mojitos on Melrose: Xiomara Ardolina, who popularized the Mojito cocktail at Xiomara/Aye in Pasadena, is planning to open a restaurant in September named for Cienfuegos, the city where her mother was born. On the menu: arroz con pollo "the real way," garbanzos and pig feet, mamey shakes. "It's 100% Cuban," she adds with a smile. And there may be the secret of her wonderful Mojitos.

* Cienfuegos, 5101 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles.

A Bit of Martha's Vineyard: New Englander Brad Johnson, a partner in such hot spots as Roxbury, the Sunset Room and Georgia, has gone solo to create Menemsha, named for a town in Martha's Vineyard. Along with architect Nina Briggs, Johnson has created a large, open space with fireplaces and lots of stained wood. The menu will include stuffed quahogs, clam chowder, steamers and lobster rolls, and there'll be a large raw bar featuring cherrystone and littleneck clams. You'll also find many of the Italian and Portuguese dishes that have entered New England cuisine. Scheduled to open in mid-July.

* Menemsha, 822 Washington Blvd., Venice. (310) 822-2550.

Women, Wine and Antipasto: Lucques co-owners Suzanne Goin and Caroline Style are planning to open a new place on 3rd Street in early fall. No name yet, but they know what it's going to be: a wine bar offering up to 50 wines by the glass, where you can try flights of interesting, inexpensive, lesser known wines. "Seventy-five percent of the list will be under $75," says Styne excitedly, "making it really accessible for people to try a wide variety." Goin adds, "We wanted to create a restaurant that was like the subculture that's developed at the bar at Lucques." The menu will include cassoulet, short ribs with arugula and aged balsamic vinegar and clams and mussels cooked in a wood-burning oven. There'll also be an extensive list of cheeses, pates and smoked meats. The design should be in the sleek, modern mode of Lucques, since it's also designed by Barbara Barry.

Small Bites: McCormick and Schmick's is serving Alaskan Chipnik salmon for the first time in this country starting (drum roll, drum roll) June 26 ....Experience the epicurean charms of Venice Tuesday when Joe's Restaurant hosts the chefs of Abbot Kinney Boulevard's restaurant row, including Joanna Moore of Axe, Francis Bey of Lilly's and Corey Corson of Primitivo Wine Bar ....Chef's Collaborative, the chefs' group that promotes sustainable agriculture and mariculture, will be holding a benefit at Lucques on June 30. The L.A. members cooking are Fred Eric (Vida, Fred 62), Brooke Williamson (Zax), Mark Peel (Campanile), Evan Kleinman (Angeli), David Wynns (formerly of Les Deux Cafe) and Suzanne Goin (Lucques). They'll be joined by a large group of important local organic farmers. It'll be $45 a head. Lucques, 8474 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, (323) 655-6277....If you've always dreamed of designing a restaurant, this UCLA Extension class is for you: "Restaurant Design: an On-Site Study Tour." It includes a tour of L.A.'s hottest restaurants as well as a lecture in which designers, restaurateurs, and managers will talk about the concept behind some of L.A.'s dining locales. For information, call UCLA Extension at (310) 825-9061.

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