Restaurant Reviews

Hash Over

Soul food
We've all heard that chefs are a little crazy. We've also heard that crazy people sometimes make drastic moves at the behest of ghosts. Help the president run the country for instance. But open a restaurant? That's what former Sipango chef/partner Matthew Antonovich confesses. He says his recent sudden departure from Wayne Broadwell's Villa on Maple restaurant project was done at the urging of his grandmother. Only his grandmother is dead. "She was my soul mate," Antonovich says. "She started me cooking. I called her every Sunday." In the middle of the night several weeks ago, Antonovich says, he awoke suddenly. "She started to talk to me," he relates. "She said, 'Put your name on the door, and you'll be fine. Everything else is going to fall through.' So I went to Wayne the next morning and said, 'Wayne, I'm gonna do my own deal.'"

His ghost-inspired vision is in North Dallas. He won't say where, but explains it's in a neighborhood restaurant he is currently in the process of purchasing with the help of a silent partner, a prominent Dallas businessman. A cross between Sipango and Bob's Chop House, the restaurant will be called Antonovich's. "My aspirations are to be the best restaurant in the neighborhood. I don't have to be the best restaurant in Dallas," he stresses. "I'm just tired of chasing the stars."

What about Broadwell? "Wayne was in shock," says Antonovich, "because the train was going fast on that deal." Broadwell says plans for the Villa are on track, though he was noncommittal as to the fate of Lucille's, the upscale American grill the two planned to open in late 1999 in Mockingbird Station. The former Mansion matre d' adds that construction on the Villa, in the Loyd Paxton antique gallery, should begin in mid-summer with a target opening in late September or early October. Oh, and Antonovich made no mention of his grandmother's consulting fee.

Out and in
Bon Vivant Market, the Eatzi's-like home-replacement-meal/gourmet grocer in Plano, has shuttered. "We couldn't make it work," says a sign on the door. "We tried but we couldn't meet your expectations. Thank you for the good times and we wish you all the best. Look for someone who can make this thing work. You deserve it." A little whining, maybe?...Jean-Michel Sakouhi, onetime owner of Tramontana, has snagged chef Larry Berkowitz, formerly working at Neiman Marcus' Zodiac Room in Chicago, who will be the chef at Le Paris, Sakouhi's yet-to-open bistro on McKinney Avenue.

--Mark Stuertz

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