Teiichi Sakurai,whose dining innovations include skewered beef tongue and live lobsters on ice that twitch and stare at diners seated in front of the open kitchen, has a jones for buckwheat. After selling off Tei Tei Robata Bar (to opening chef Katsutoshi Sakamoto) and Teppo Yakitori and Sushi Bar with its concomitant lounge Moosh (to opening chef Masayuki Otaka) some months ago, Sakurai is assembling a noodle house called Tei Am in One Arts Plaza to open next October. It's not just any noodle house. Tei Am is a soba noodle house, whereby buckwheat is whittled into precise 1.5 millimeter strands via intensive hand-rolling and cutting, a process Sakurai perfected during a rigorous five-week soba sabbatical in Japan last winter. "It's a very sophisticated way to make it," Sakurai says. "There's only six people that can do it in this country right now, including us." The labor is such that Tei Am will serve just 50 meals per day with bou sushi—or sushi composed into long bar-like shapes.
Bar Czar Frankie Carabetta (Central Park, Tribeca Bar & Lounge and so on) promises his Maple Avenue Tavern (pizza, burgers, wings) shaping in the old Sapphire Room husk will open by July, though he may call it Midtown Bar. Girls tell him Maple Avenue Tavern is an old man's name. That's why he won't be calling his new two level pizzeria-slash-barroom at McKinney and Boll the Puffy Prostate Watering Hole...Since he and partner John Cracken sold the bulk of their stake in Consolidated Restaurant Operations Inc. (III Forks, El Chico, Spaghetti Warehouse, etc.) Gene Street, 66, says he's been tirelessly reading thrillers and collecting Social Security checks. He's also sketching plans for a steakhouse he promises will be unlike anything in Dallas. What he won't be doing is driving the custom "Dallas Blond" Bentley convertible he ordered late last year. Street sold off the Bentley at a premium before he ever laid eyes on it. "I'm still driving my brown 2002 Ford [Crown Victoria] with a cracked windshield," he says...Why did Campisi's move from Inwood Village to the emptied Iris space on Lovers Lane after 10 years? A lease dispute, says David Campisi, who operates all Campisi outlets save the original Egyptian Lounge on Mockingbird. When it opens in September the new Campisi's will feature counter service, catering and delivery plus a full bar with an Italian wine list replacing the Inwood slot's BYOB festivities. Campisi says he's eyeing new Campisi locations in Las Colinas and Rockwall...After suffering a devastating head injury in a motorcycle accident last March, former La Mirabelle chef/owner Francois Fotre is tracking toward a full recovery. "He has been given a second chance at life," writes his wife, Catherine, in an e-mail.