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Some whisperers contend the Dallas restaurant business is bracing for a couple of body blows. First, there's Delta Airlines pulling out of its Dallas hub. "They're not thrilled about it," says Tracey Evers, executive director of the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association (the restaurateurs, she means). "Those people eat out a lot [the soon-to-be-jobless Delta people, she means]. When American was hurting, we felt it."

But this might not be the big blow. That may come in the wake of the NHL Board of Governors decision to lock out the league's hockey players. "Everybody's freakin' out about that," says Mark Maguire of M Grill & Tap. "It's going to be a big hit." Maguire says venues within a mile of the American Airlines Center see a sales surge with each Stars home game. He figures the loss of home games will knock $40,000 from his monthly bottom line. Whistle that number through the space in your front teeth.


Rick Stein says Rick Stein's Steakhouse has a crew: executive chef (and former Morton's chef) Rick Naon; sous chef Brian Lowe, most recently of Il Molino, who, along with Stein, was one of the original III Forks infantry; and managers Joe Davis and Pat Fay, also III Forks alum. "We've got a tightly woven fabric here," Stein says. So when will this new Tollway steakhouse finally open? "We're still kind of hanging in the balance on that," Stein avers, though he adds something about being open before Halloween, just in time for a vampire stake special...Mid-last-week rumor: "Something may be going on with Brian Dietz at Oceanaire." Friday reply by an Oceanaire manager when asked if Dietz is out: "Uhhhahhhhhhhhh...yeah." Press release a couple of hours later: "Marc Morton has been named Executive Chef of the Oceanaire Seafood Room at the Westin Galleria...Marc has been with us since our opening in November 2002."...In other press release blockbusters, the Hotel Crescent Court has confirmed what we already knew: Nobu will slip into the Crescent, drop-kicking the 20-year-old Beau Nash restaurant from the property in the process. Nobu, operated by chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, who owns restaurants in places such as Los Angeles, New York, London, Tokyo and Paris, should open in April 2005. Nobu fare is described as a redefinition of Japanese cuisine featuring things such as new style sashimi, "a culinary wonder incorporating slightly cooked fish with olive oil, garlic and cilantro; and a basic fish like black cod" that "receives a Svengali makeover when swathed in miso." Cod as Svengali? We think Nobu should make every effort to open before Halloween, too.

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