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Ben Fambrough, former Sans Souci chef, moves closer to opening a dream kitchen on Larchmere 

We've missed Ben Fambrough since the talented chef left downtown's Sans Souci in August. During his six-year tenure, he illuminated the restaurant's menu with a deft mix of classical technique and top-notch ingredients.

Still, you can't fault a guy for wanting to do his own thing, and since his departure, Fambrough has launched a catering biz (Petit Soleil) and developed detailed plans for an East Side restaurant.

"I love French-inspired food," says the chef, who frequently travels to the French countryside. "But I want to do something more contemporary, pushing the flavor palette beyond the classical confines." Other essential elements of his imaginary restaurant: an intimate setting; a small-plates menu; and the use of cutting-edge techniques, like sous vide and freeze-drying, borrowed from molecular gastronomy.

He also favors artful presentation, including verrines — foods served in small glasses, like shooters, to show off unusual color and texture combinations. And finally, much of Fambrough's dream menu would be meatless — not tofu and brown rice, but vibrant, creative, upscale fare that just happens to be meat-free.

Fambrough's dreams are moving toward reality: The chef is hoping to enter into negotiations soon for the former Zin space on Larchmere, just off Shaker Square. Fambrough loves what he calls the "up-and-coming" 'hood, and he hopes to open by late fall.

To read progress reports or ogle some fabulous food photos, go to petitsoleilblog.blogspot.com.

Seconds, please: Most days, we know bunches more about the local dining scene than we can cram onto our allotted page. That's why we blog on C-Notes, where we regularly dish on restaurant-related news, trends, gossip, and whimsy. Among our most recent musings, you'll find picks for best burgers, learn about chef Keoko Turner's line of organic chocolates, and ponder the imminent arrival of Lola T-shirts. On Thursdays, you'll discover our Restaurant of the Weekend. For all this and more, go to blogs.clevescene.com/cnotes/food.

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