Vue restaurant and its sidekick lounge Nine 7 Two seem gripped by blunders. First, it had to change its name from Veuve (French for widow) to Vue (French for view) after Veuve Cliquot Champagne parent Louis Vuitton Mot Hennessy's legal team threatened to bludgeon it with "trademark dilution" lawsuits. Then Vue got itself into a fix when chef Tony Gardizi left while Vue was under a Dallas Morning News microscope. The paper panned the restaurant's "global cuisine," generating a starless restaurant review—a first!
"After we got that review from that guy [Bill Addison] we got to thinking the biggest problem is a lot of people don't know what global cuisine is," says owner Steve Williams. "So educating them became more of a hassle." Got it? The food slipped not because it was muddled but because Vue's diners were rubes. Solution: coastal cuisine. What's that? Williams isn't sure, so he brings forth new chef Christophe Strattman to elaborate. "What we've done here before was non-cohesive. It was just garbage," says Strattman, a New Orleans native who says he added the "ophe" to the end of his name as part of a personal post-Katrina reinvention. Enter barbecued shrimp and oyster stew. Plus bistro food. Tapas? You bet. Asian too. Wait, isn't that global? No way. It's Continental, says Strattman. "For me, I think labels are limiting. To define something is to limit it. But let's be real: We do need to call it something." Williams says he's in the process of opening two additional restaurants harnessing Strattman's talents: a Cajun or sports bar at Coit and Campbell and a French bistro in the Turtle Creek/Cedar Springs area.
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"Lord love a duck, he just wants to get out of here," says Catherine Fotre of her feisty chef husband, Francois, who made a name for himself with killer vichyssoise and a tomato fanaticism that frightened produce suppliers. Now Francois Fotre is tied (literally) to a bed at Parkland Hospital after a motorcycle accident March 8 on Highway 121 left him with cerebral hemorrhaging and unspecified neurological damage. Fotre, who founded La Mirabelle in North Dallas and Café C in Little Elm, left Parkland's intensive care unit last Sunday. Catherine says they were in the process of raising money for a new bistro concept slated for downtown Dallas or in the north suburbs when his Harley bucked him. That prospect now seems dim: The Fotres have no health insurance. But Catherine is planning a fund-raising dinner to help defray medical expenses. If you can pitch in, write her at P.O. Box 871, Little Elm, Texas, 75068 or email at Fotre@sbcglobal.net.