Last time chef Tony Gardizi's name was linked to a startup menu he was grinding Parmesan at Vino & Basso, the Italian restaurant and wine bar in the former Toscana space that collapsed under the withering fusillade of legal briefs and changed locks. Sometime after that he showed up at Hibiscus. But you may remember him from Buddha Bar, Guthrie's, J. Peir in Terrell, Mi Piaci or even The Riviera. Now you can remember him via his area code: 972, er, Nine 7 Two. Gardizi will command the kitchen at Veuve, which is attached to lounge Nine 7 Two. Weighing in at 10,000 square feet, the restaurant/lounge combine will dispense "global cuisine" such as tea-smoked heirloom tomatoes with an edible balsamic spoon, and hip-pulse music (you know the stuff) with a "swanky" cigar bar. Plus the restaurant has 18-foot waterfalls so that you can shower off the Partagas fume. Veuve/Nine 7 Two is being developed by Stephen Williams (variously a former general manger and bartender at Mi Piaci, Ecco Lounge and Stark Club) Michael Lamkoski (Mi Piaci and Abuelo's Mexican Food Embassy) and Stephen Maatouk (Mi Piaci). Watch for both venues to open in December.
Steve Haug of Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House in Dallas captured the XV Annual Caesar Salad Competition honors last weekend. Haug, executive sous chef at Del Frisco's for the past nine years, amassed the most votes from a record competition attendee pool of 900, beating out chefs such as Chris Svalesen (Sage), and The Oceanaire's Chad Kelley...Big time disk spinner Pat Tetrick (DJ at Sense and pretty much everywhere else) is priming to open Karma, anupscale, "ultramodern" 9,000-square-foot lounge in the former Club Rain/Ocean club space in North Dallas come December. Karma comes with a 2,000-square-foot "Zen garden" so that you can contemplate the sound of the four-martini "om." Karma hits in December...Dallas Art Institute grad Fernando Huerta has conquered the executive chef post at Doug Brown's Amuse near South Side. Huerta was formerly with Stephen Pyles... Tutto, the restaurant on McKinney Avenue, has surrendered to Temptations, a restaurant featuring cuisine from Northern India. Owner Mahesh Shinde, who also owns an Irving Temptations, partnered with Rima Vadiwala in the rescue operation... Drink this: 2004 Rancho Zabaco Stefani Vineyard zinfandel (Dry Creek Valley) is a formidable gust of rich berry aromas and black cherry flavors framed in a firm but not obtrusive grip, with a round lingering finish elevated by a 15 percent alcohol level. Not bad for 28 bucks.