Village strokes

Hash Over

The great thing about Dallas is the seeming ease with which people morph into independent restaurateurs. Consider former country club chefs Claude Judd and Curtis Higgins. They've abandoned slinging silage for the fairway set and set their sights on feeding those of us who wouldn't know the difference between a Titleist and a vulgar mammary reference. Their newly opened Village Grill Restaurant and Bar at Belt Line and Central Expressway dispenses with bogies and birdies in favor of "burgers and birds," and features a chicken-fried prime rib eye--the meat equivalent of employing a Teryllium putter on a course featuring putting-green windmills. "Our food is better than most country clubs, or we would have stayed in the club business," Judd says. Which perhaps means they no longer need to prep their chicken fries with 9-irons.

Mixed hash

Shelly Dowdy's "ultra swank, elegant, and sexy" Venus Steakhouse and Supper Club has trapped and digested its first high-profile players. Venus executive chef Mark Moberly, formerly of Toscana and Mediterraneo, along with chef Alexander Kybett, onetime sous chef at Il Solé and Salve, left the restaurant just a week after its June 6 opening...Ketama, Deep Ellum's first and only Flamenco tapas bar, shuttered after roughly two years in operation. Ketama was founded by Ildefonso Jimanez, who helped open Café Madrid before launching ¡ Hola!. Jimanez divested his interest in Ketama last summer after Michael Costa and Dean McSherry of DMC Hospitality picked up 20 percent of the beleaguered restaurant and grabbed the management reins. Real estate developer Jeff Swaney and Crystal Clear Sound recording studio owner Sam Paulos had a majority stake in the restaurant, which, according to Swaney, failed to make rent payments...Texas de Brazil, the Brazilian churrascaria with locations in Addison and Dallas, will open a new two-story location in Fort Worth in mid-July in Sundance Square...Full-service steakhouses had the highest growth rate of major restaurant categories over the past few years, racking up sales gains of 11 percent between 1994 and 1999, according to the Chicago-based consulting firm Technomic Information Services. The next-largest gainers were "varied menu" restaurants at 9.8 percent and Italian at 8.8 percent. Significantly, around the same time Technomic was releasing its marketing survey, the National Academy of Sciences released a study showing that the "lowbrowed, hairy Neanderthal," who roamed Europe 28,000 years ago, had a diet that was 90 percent meat, confirming that the Dallas steakhouse actually has highbrow, continental roots.

Mark Stuertz


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