Brash 25-year-old deal wizard Tristan Simon has been busy since he cashed out his managing partner position in Cool River Cafe, the successful Los Colinas hot spot created by Stephen Hartnett (Fox & Hound English Pub) and Gene Street. Still a limited partner in Cool River, Simon is currently wading in a million-dollar, ground-up restaurant project on a piece of dirt currently cradling a dilapidated, gray bunker-like structure on Henderson just across Willis Avenue from Tei Tei Robata bar. He plans to raze the building and erect Cuba Libre, a stylish two-story taqueria/bar with a prodigious patio. Simon says the project will be a hybridization of hole-in-the-wall appurtenances (paper-carpeted plastic food-service baskets and plastic beverage vessels) with post-modern, art deco/South Beach design touches. Gearing for a late July or early August opening, Simon plans to break ground April Fools' Day. Maybe with a plastic spade.
Longtime Dallas restaurant pro Jean-Michel S. Sakouhi says the nook he's hooked on McKinney and Routh (joined at the hip to an Ebby Halliday office) reminds him of Paris' Montmartre district, which encompasses the highest point in that city and holds the Sacre-Coeur basilica. Imagine getting that from an Uptown corner. He'll sink a bistro into the space and designate it Le Paris, a casual wine bar proffering Mediterranean wines and light Provençal fare. Born in Beaune and raised in Dijon, Sakouhi has generated a considerable resume since touching down in Dallas some 14 years ago: the French Room, the Pyramid Room, The Mansion, Sipango, and most recently, the Adam's Mark Hotel, where he served as wine manager. Le Paris should open by April 15.
Pierre-Henry Gagey, president of Maison Louis Jadot, recently dropped by Dallas to show off 24 1997-'98 vintage Burgundies across the Jadot portfolio. And it was amusing. With a mike clipped to his shirt, Gagey's tasting ritual of three rapid slurps followed by a quick, forceful spit into a Styrofoam cup sounded like the plunging of a miniature toilet capped by a brusque flush when piped through the sound system. Anyway, here were my favorites. Whites: 1997 Saint-Aubin; 1997 Puligny-Montrachet "Les Perrieres"; and the rambunctious 1998 Chateau des Jacques Beaujolais-Villages Blanc, a pool wine in designer swimwear. Reds: 1998 Morgan Chateau de Bellevue cru Beaujolais; 1997 Savigny-les-Beaune "Clos des Guettes"; 1997 Gevrey-Chambertin; 1997 Nuits-Saint Georges "Les Damodes." Brace for significant price increase when released later this year.
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