Hash Over

Woodward quits quad
It's the stampede of the Stars. David Woodward, chef de cuisine at FoodStar Restaurant Group's Mediterraneo at the Quadrangle, says he's bolting, packing up for the desert city of showgirls and conspicuous consumption. Woodward will be executive chef at Star Concepts Star Canyon in Las Vegas. Not only that, but he'll be joined in the kitchen by former Mediterraneo sous chef Paul Clark. Then, on May 10, the restaurant will become PoPoLos at the Quadrangle (PoPoLos up north apparently is no longer for sale). "I'm very disappointed the FoodStar thing didn't work out," Woodward says. "But...it's just time to move on." Seems a few FoodStar chefs feel that way these days. These exits come on the heels of Gilbert Garza's move from Toscana, who left the tony spot days ago to head up Mother Pearl's Seafood and Oyster Bar on Lemmon Avenue.

List watch
Funny. On a local radio show the other day, a Dallas restaurant-wine bistro owner lamented that many wineries seem to exert more focus on labels and bottles than they do with wine. They seduce with beautiful labels when the stuff in the bottle is less than special. I suppose. But it reminded me of a story Dennis Cakebread recently told me. Two years ago, Cakebread Cellars began bottling a dry rose from Napa pinot noir. It sat. People wouldn't even taste it until the winery slapped on a new label tagging it Vin de Porche and positioned the stuff as an easy-quaffing porch wine. All 140 cases flew out of the tasting room in less than two weeks. Sometimes labels matter. Then someone called the show bemoaning the excessive markups on restaurant wine lists. The restaurant-wine bistro guy said restaurants lose money on food, and that we should allow them a little profit. Another restaurateur piped that restaurants pay a 14 percent alcohol sales tax they aren't allowed to pass on (as a line item). Oh, please. Restaurants use that tax as an excuse to jack up prices far beyond the 14 percent burden. And if the wine list is really a lifesaving profit center, then judging by the focus granted most lists, Dallas should be in the midst of a dining bloodbath. Worse still, one of the show's guests was Green Room chef Marc Cassel. That place has among the best, most reasonably priced restaurant wine lists in North Texas, if not the country. And the Green Room seems comfortably in the green. Yet Cassel uttered not a peep.

--Mark Stuertz

E-mail Dish at martstz@flash.net.


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