Exiled from French

Jean-Michel Sakouhi is a little bitter. Two reasons: Scuffles with his landlord on McKinney Avenue, and the big mistake he made transforming his Le Paris Bistrot into Figaro Café to distance it from the anti-Frenchism that bubbled after the U.S. boogie to Baghdad. "People understand that food is not politics," he says. Do they? Jeroboam gently shifted its menu away from the French trench in an attempt to recover from the post 9/11 slump and even Watel's is diluting its Gallic offerings. French wine once earmarked for export to the States now fills a chain of recreational lakes in the Languedoc (hee). So Sakouhi is recasting Severine's, the bar he had next door to Figaro, as a restaurant/bar in Southlake serving continental fare and live jazz. Severine's will open in the former Southlake Classic Café space in September. Meanwhile, in the nook behind Sakouhi's defunct Figaro Café, bar workhorse Frankie Carabetta has christened his new upscale venture Tribeca Bar & Lounge, which means he may have a choice of being harassed by the lawyers of Robert De Niro (owner, Tribeca Grill) or of Fuji Heavy Industries (makers of the Subaru B9 Tribeca)--if you can trademark an NYC neighborhood, that is.

Chef Kenny Bowers is trying to escape casual (inexpensive) dining, which he likens to playing golf with a stunted swing. So the one-time Rockfish Seafood Grill/Big Fish Little Fish chef is packing his creel and peeling off the cleaver sheath for Kenny's Wood Fired Grill, an upper-end Addison chophouse with a few gills. Bowers says the former Nothing But Noodles space on Belt Line Road will be transformed into a dark 1940s Chicago-style restaurant sometime in November, with Rockfish alum Bob Stegall in tow... Go Fish chef Chris Svalesen says the freshly opened Addison restaurant has absorbed some nearby office space, adding 65 seats to its dining room plus a nightspot called the G Lounge equipped with a real DJ. Svalesen also says plans to open a Go Fish in Fort Worth have been scuttled in favor of Uptown. "It's not that we're out to fill the market like Starbucks," he assures. "You know, Go Fish on every corner?"... Mark Maguire of Maguire's will transform M Grill & Tap on Cedar Springs into Maguire's Uptown in late September featuring live brunch music--along with modest interior modifications, an expanded patio and a beefed-up wine arsenal...The Z Tejas corpse on the Tollway will be reanimated this September as a Brazilian churrascaria (meat on huge skewers) called Rafain, brought to you by the Iguassu Falls, Brazil-based Rafain Group... Elephant Bar, the Tollway link in the California-based chain of jungle-themed rumpus rooms, has sputtered.


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