Look for Blake's Grill, a new Chagrin Falls restaurant with a focus on seafood, to open by July, in space that used to house Leonetti's. The totally redecorated, bilevel restaurant will have a stunning view of the falls and is the latest project for Joe Saccone and Rick Hauck, founders of the Hyde Park Restaurant Group. Blake's Grill has been taking shape for several months now under the steady hand of Charlie Saccardi, regional chef for the group's new seafood concept. The well-seasoned pro and former co-owner of Stix in Bainbridge had been in the Napa Valley, helping Thomas Keller (the award-winning French Laundry guru) open his new bistro, Bouchon, before returning to these parts last August. Saccardi will be joined at Blake's Grill by Patrick McNamara, former sous chef at Piccolo Mondo. Saccardi and McNamara got to know each other this winter, when Hyde Park bought the Warehouse District dining room.
More Mondo matters . . . The restaurant's new chef, Mark Shary (formerly with Solon's Mustard Seed Market Café) will begin "retooling" the present menu of mostly contemporary Italian foods over the next few weeks. During what Saccardi calls the "second phase" of the changeover -- scheduled for sometime in the early fall -- the menu will change to a Euro-Mediterranean concept, the bar will move into the prime corner space currently occupied by the market, the market will move into space down the street, and the whole operation will get a new name. Stay tuned.
The trouble with Harry Corvairs. . . Not even 11th-hour negotiations between Harry Corvairs Executive Chef Jon Kish and the restaurant's shareholders could avert the inevitable: Sources say the financial backers voted to close the fine-dining room in the Caxton Building as of April 27, rather than go on without the chef. Kish had earlier announced his decision to resign after his attempts to purchase the restaurant from the partners proved futile. The word is that Kish might have been willing to stay on as an employee, but the shareholders couldn't even agree to make him that offer. The result is a loss for Cleveland diners.
Touch and go . . . Following Todd Stein's defection from Touch Supper Club (2710 Lorain Avenue) to a high-profile position as chef du cuisine at award-winning Sans Souci in downtown's Renaissance Cleveland Hotel, an obviously disappointed but circumspect Touch owner Doug Berg says that the restaurant is prepared to open with or without Stein. Meantime, Stein's predecessor in Sans Souci's kitchen, Mark Morton, will be assuming banquet duties for the Renaissance; Marco Klein remains executive chef over the entire foodservice operation.
Fungus with a fee . . . Blue Point Grille's sous chef, Rocco Whalen, recently paid $1,900 for a pound of Italian black truffles, an exceptional, ugly little fungus that is one of the most rare and expensive foods in the world. The Blue Point uses them sparingly in risottos, sauces, infused oils, and butters, and Whalen estimates that a pound will do him for about 12 months. Not surprisingly, the cautious chef keeps the little treasures under lock and key. And you thought your grocery bills were high . . .
Tips are encouraged. Contact Elaine T. Cicora at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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