January and February are traditionally slow months in the restaurant industry, but there still seems to be plenty going on. Lavomatic Café, Jean-Robert de Cavel's latest culinary venture, is slated to open in the Gateway Quarter of Over-the-Rhine at the end of January. Pigall's, de Cavel's premier fine dining establishment, was also recently named one of 11 top-rated restaurants in the United States, according to the 2008 Zagat Survey of America's top restaurants. The Zagat guide, which covers 1,416 eateries in 42 major markets, is based on 23 million meals experienced by more than 132,000 surveyors. Finally, Pho Paris will close after New Year's Eve and is planning to reopen to the public on Jan. 15 as Chalk Food + Wine. This new venture of the Jean-Robert Group is a collaboration with Pho's existing team, Chef Jared Whalen and his kitchen brigade, Pastry Chef Summer Genetti and Manager/Sommelier Bryant Phillips and his front of the house staff.
Recent openings include a second location for Amarin, the restaurant in Madeira, at 3514 Erie Ave., in Hyde Park, Taco del Mar in Sycamore Township (10798 Montgomery Road) and TAG's Café (5761 Springdale Road).
The Quarter in Mariemont (6904 Wooster Pike) has a new winter menu that includes sea bass paella, 18-hour short ribs with sweet potato gnocchi and balsamic parsnips and a lamb porterhouse with goat cheese risotto cakes.
Madison's Northside Market closed in December. The family decided to concentrate their efforts in their Findlay Market location and son Matt Madisono's burgeoning gelato business.
The Madison's will be expanding the Findlay Market location into the space next door and using it for cooking demonstrations, tastings and classes with chef David Warda. They'll also be adding a freezer that will triple the amount of space they have for Madisono's gelato. Currently the gelato can be bought in the store by the pint or sampled in many area restaurants including Pike Street Press, Nada and Via Vite.
Two other Findlay Market vendors were recently honored by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber: Susan Stewart, owner of Herbs & Spice and Everything Nice, and Katrina Mincy, owner of Aunt Flora's, were finalists in the Chamber's second annual Women Excel Celebrate awards program. Stewart was honored in the Best New Product or Service of the Year category and Mincy was honored in the Women of the Year — Entrepreneur category.
It's time to make plans for Findlay Market's Fourth Annual Chili Cook-Off. Entry Deadline is Jan. 18. Entry forms can be downloaded from the Market's Web site (www.findlaymarket.org/news.htm) then faxed to 513-721-3480 along with your recipe. (Only "made from scratch" submissions will be judged.) The cook-off will take place at 10 a.m. Jan. 20.
Openings to look forward to this spring include The Oceanaire Seafood Room at 580 Walnut St., Downtown, and Dewey's Pizza in Crestview Hills by early March.
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