Barring a sudden Ice Age or, less likely, a burst of energy by city inspectors, Dallas likely won't see 36° in August. It looks like the month will come and go without the opening of seafood restaurant 36, chef Chris Svalesen's restaurant named for the optimum holding temperature of fresh fish. What will it take to get the place in the former Venus Supper Club space open? Probably nothing less than a threat with a big gaff hook. Svalesen says the gestation period for the restaurant on Lemmon Avenue has been aggravated by the permit acquisition process, which has choked off construction with no hint as to when the grip will let up. "It's just ridiculous," he says. "I mean my contractor's all ready to rock and roll." Svalesen says the build-out of the restaurant will take another four or five weeks from the day the city gives him the OK. But for now, Svalesen says he will have to limit his revenue stream to the fresh fish market he has wedged into the space. He calls it The Net Result. From here Svalesen plies not only fresh fish, but creates ready-to-cook entrées such as stuffed fish. And like a real monger, Svalesen cuts deals. He's giving chefs after-hours cut-rate pricing on fish stocks depleted from menus or specials boards.
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It's already been six months since former Routh Street Brewery chef Brian Luscher, known for his Hill Country cuisine, has been slinging hash at The Grape. That's kind of an interesting resting point in a travel circuit that took him from Mike McMahan's Mac's Bar & Grill, to northwestern Wisconsin and the deluxe Canoe Bay resort, a pricey getaway with an exclusive restaurant. Luscher says he ended up at The Grape after answering a blind employment ad from up in the woods. He's been crafting his ideas on the menu ever since...Olive oil is now the No. 1 cooking oil, so says the North American Olive Oil Association, a group of American and Canadian importers, marketers and packers. According to the group, olive oil dollar sales were nearly one-third of the entire $1.2 billion American cooking-oil market in 2000. Lard might inch up a few notches, too, if someone could figure out how to get it in those fancy bottles...Fetzer 2000 Five Rivers Ranch Chardonnay is a resounding little (and cheap) wine, with a lean tropical fruit/floral fragrance and a lush creaminess foiled by a surging layer of acid. Fetzer Five Rivers Ranch is a new winery from the big winery, focusing on Central Coast grapes. The wine is roughly $12.99 retail. Damn good by-the-glass wine.