The first entrepreneur who opens a démodé rum hole and beanery downtown will probably make a killing. We say this because every time we turn around someone is sinking a fistful of boodle into some restaurant-lounge baptized "hip." We ask: Doesn't all of this edgy fashionability get redundant? Look at Regis Philbin. He once became hip by asking "Is that your final answer?" Now he shills for Osteo Bi-Flex: "Everyone knows I love a good laugh. But there's nothing funny about joint health." Regis threw his hip out through overuse. Will Fuse? Fuse, a "TexAsian drinking & dining experience" in a "hip, urban atmosphere" will be a lobby anchor in the $35 million 260,000-square-foot residential and retail complex in the Dallas Power & Light building. Slated to open in May, the small restaurant and lounge (just 75 seats) has a massive 10,000-square-foot "bamboo water garden" patio (holding 150 more). Fuse is the creation of operations pro Michael Bratcher (Nikita, Tom Tom Noodle House, Cuba Libre) and chef Blaine Staniford (Lola the Restaurant, Cuba Libre, The Riviera) through their restaurant and bar development firm Aperture L.L.C. Fuse will ply stuff like braised brisket pot stickers with shiitake salad and apple-miso sauce and honey cumin glazed venison carpaccio with watercress and orange zest. "I'm not trying to be the next Tei Tei," Staniford says. Is that your final answer?
After its dazzling incarnation as Mediterraneo followed by a tepid Ruggeri's revival, the long strip of Quadrangle space with front fountain drama (now dry) will become Riccardi's Italian Dining in April. With Mike Scholz (formerly of Arthur's) in the kitchen, Riccardi's will specialize in Northern Italian cuisine after the interior is refurbished. "Before it was kind of cold-looking, and now it's warm and welcoming," says owner Anita Riccardi. Riccardi was once a research and development chef for a frozen foods manufacturing company in McKinney called Food Source Inc. We trust that cold part won't make it into the restaurant either... Tony Gardizi, the one-time Bali Bar and Vino & Basso chef who most recently headed the kitchen at the gone-dark Guthrie's, abruptly departed his new post as executive sous chef of Hibiscus. "It was a casting error," admits Hibiscus chef and creator Nick Badovinus...Café Brazil CEO Brant Wood says he is about to expand to seven the "deep night" Joe hole. A new Café Brazil will go up in McKinney at Highway 75 and El Dorado Parkway. This will be the first Café Brazil built from the ground up. "It'll be a little bit different in the suburbs, because you can't have the same look inside," Wood says. The décor or the clientele?
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