The tragically defunct (er, bankrupted) Jeroboam Urban Brasserie will soon have its Kirby Building corpse reanimated to swim with the fishes. Mike Hogue, founder of American Limos & Transportation and Go Fish Restaurant & Lounge in Addison, plans to transform it into Dallas Fish Market, an upscale fishmonger serving fresh seafood, sushi and steaks. The market will open in April with his Fish Express fast casual node to follow on the building's corner. Hogue says Dallas Fish Market will be similar to Oceanaire Seafood Room, only not as bank-breaking. "Very high quality, but not very expensive like Oceanaire," he says. "I know what Dallas people want. Even though I'm from Bangladesh, I consider myself a Dallas resident." Hogue adds he's consulting with a couple of undisclosed high-profile chefs to draft a menu and is about to hire an undisclosed general manager from an undisclosed four-star restaurant downtown plus a Mansion alum wine director, undisclosed. As far as we know.
Few things exasperate as thoroughly as restaurant wine list extortion...um, we mean pricing: You rub your finger over an '04 Rex Hill Pinot Noir for $50 only to stumble across it a week later at Sam's for about $16. Kyle Kepner, operations honcho of the newly opened Luqa and Petrus Lounge downtown, is going to stop such nonsense, or at least he claims as much in an e-mail to the wine trade. "We are trying to do something new here in Dallas by breaking the mold of big lists with high markups...growing a great list of up to 1,500 placements with a little over a 2 time [sic] mark up," he boasts. (Kepner could not be reached before deadline). How does he know? Kepner says that while working as cellar master at III Forks, wines were bumped up from 3.5 to 6 times cost. "Consequently III Forks had the highest wine sales in town," he says. Now he tells us. Anyway, Kepner plans to incrementally fatten his list: from 30 bottles at opening, to 350 wines by the end of the year, to 1,500 by the fall of 2007. To manage the growth, Kepner is leaning on Luqa (and former Sense) sommelier Phil Natale, who sweated out his certified sommelier designation last month from the Court of Master Sommeliers—the second of four levels on the grueling campaign to master sommelier honors. Meanwhile, his wife, Katie Natale, is now chef de cuisine at Café on the Green at the Four Seasons Resort & Club in Las Colinas, where she will work on refocusing the menu from Asian biases to a New American slant. While Natale has kitchen notches at the Mansion and Nana, her most recent stint was at the nightclub Spike Global Grill in Mockingbird Station.