After more than a year of chasing investors around Dallas with fresh fish ideas, lauded ex-Fish chef Chris Svalesen has finally landed. On Venus. Svalesen plans to dramatically transform Shelly Dowdy's "swank" Venus Steak House and Supper Club on Lemmon Avenue, shuttered earlier this year, into a seafood restaurant. Work will begin next week to strip Venus' haunted-house black garb down to the concrete. Everything must go, even the huge color portrait of a Venus chef on a Harley flanked by two barstools that look like leopard-skin stilettos. Svalesen will transform the cheek-to-cheek Venus into a chic, modernistic fish feeder he calls 36° (Thirty-six Degrees), the optimum holding temperature for fresh fish. The focal point of 36° is a circular sushi/raw bar and sumptuous lounge toned for the smart casual set. "I want a mix of fine dining and casual," says Svalesen. "I don't want it to be stuffy, nor do I want peanut shells on the floor." But there might be fish scales to muss up your soles, because in addition to the restaurant, Svalesen is planning an on-site fishmonger to sell fresh fish at Crazy-Eddie prices. He says this value-pricing modus operandi will infect the restaurant, too, with check averages striking in the $35 range. "It's not going to be overpriced," he swears. "At Fish, we got out of hand. It was ridiculous." Nothing a gaff couldn't have fixed.
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That odd-looking cinder block-and-concrete structure that sprouted up next to the defunct and fraying Granada Theater on Greenville Avenue is actually a treehouse. And though it looks like they forgot to grow the tree first, inside the theme bar/restaurant there are plenty of them, as well as a treehouse and plenty of fiber optic lights that simulate stars and fireflies. Mike's Treehouse, as it is called, is the brainchild of Mike DeMarco, a longtime Dallas bartender who's poured at the Greenroom and The Bone among other places. Check your chain saw at the door...Japanese culinary culture envoy Teiichi Sakurai, the brain behind Teppo and Tei Tei Robata Bar, is launching two new spots over the next few months. Moosh, a lounge to emerge next to Teppo in the former Thai Soon space on Greenville Avenue, will serve as a sort of Teppo holding pen for those who can't tyrannize or bribe their way to a Teppo seat. Moosh will serve Japanese drinks and takoyaki, fried dough balls with a baby octopus in the center (just try and eat these like an Oreo). In Las Colinas, Sakurai is about to birth Totoya, a restaurant specializing in kushiyaki, a skewer cuisine similar to yakitori, but with more highbrow breeding.