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Eastern Accent 

Scott Kim brings a pan-Asian touch to University Circle

When chef-restaurateur Scott Kim opens Accent next spring in University Circle, it will feature a pan-Asian menu and the first robata grill in Ohio. The forthcoming eatery will be part of the Uptown project taking shape at Euclid Avenue and Mayfield Road.

Unlike Sasa, Kim's sleek sushi and sake bar at Shaker Square, Accent will feature a broader menu with broader appeal, he explains.

"With Accent I am trying to create something where everybody can be comfortable," he says. "It's a totally different concept from Sasa. There will be more of a Korean touch, more of a Chinese touch, and no sushi."

Nearly double the size of Sasa, Accent will seat 200 inside and another 100 outside. The main focus of the dining room will be the open kitchen, situated squarely in the middle of the room. There, chefs will grill a variety of Japanese-style skewers on the robata grill: a shallow charcoal grill that imparts amazing aroma and flavor. Items will include local grass-fed beef and chicken, Korean barbecue, and numerous vegetarian-friendly options.

Asian noodle dishes and multi-cultural bento boxes will also be available.

Speaking of bento boxes, that's where Kim found his inspiration for the restaurant's layout. The space will be neatly divided into separate areas for drinking and dining. The bar side will be a casual, open environment with communal high-top tables for no-reservation snacking. The dining side, in contrast, will be calm and relaxing, says Kim.

"I wanted to create a comfortable place where you can stop on your way home from work and have a beer or two and a couple skewers," Kim says.

Meantime, you'll find Sasa at 13120 Shaker Square in Cleveland. Call 216-767-1111 or visit sasamatsu.com for more information.

Pasta perfect: Dante Boccuzzi and business partner Carmela DelBusso will open D.C. Pasta Company — as in Dante and Carmela — in Strongsville this fall. The space, at 12214 Pearl Rd., most recently housed Jeff Jarrett's Palate.

"I wanted to make sure Ginko was open and running smoothly before going forward with this," explains Boccuzzi, referring to his new sushi palace in Tremont. "It is, and everybody seems to love it."

As for his predecessor? "I don't think the concept was right for Strongsville," Boccuzzi says of Palate's upscale, ambitious cuisine. "The idea [at D.C. Pasta] will be for families to be able to come and enjoy reasonably priced meals."

Boccuzzi says D.C. will serve "real authentic Italian — no bastardized stuff like chicken parm." All pastas and sauces will be made from scratch in-house. Diners will be able to mix and match from a number of different noodles and sauces. As is the case at Dante, diners will also be able to choose their portion size, with options including tasting, appetizer, entrée, and perhaps, family-size. No pizzas will be served, but D.C. will offer most pastas and sauces for carry-out from a small retail section near the front of the house.

Physical changes to the restaurant will ensure a more casual, relaxed vibe, while 25 wines priced under $25 per bottle promise affordable sipping.

Mark Cleland, who cooks at Lockkeeper's by day and Dante by night, will be chef de cuisine.

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