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Bites: Slurp City 

The latest craze in late-nightnoshing: Japanese noodles, and more local food news

As the popularity of late-night happy hours continues to soar, there was no way Dante Boccuzzi was going to let the craze pass him by. But rather than offer up the same-old, same-old, the well-traveled chef-owner of Dante in Tremont opted to go with traditional Japanese-style noodles.

"We recently passed our one-year mark," he says, "so we're not the new kid on the block anymore. I wanted to come up with a new idea to keep drawing people in. We thought noodles would be a great idea."

Boccuzzi is calling his late-night fête Zuzutto, a reference to the Japanese word for the noodle-slurping sound.

"When I was in Japan, I would have ramen every single day, either in the morning or late at night," says the noodle-lovin' chef, testifying to their soothing properties.

At Dante, it works like this: Guests pair a pasta (ramen, soba, udon, or somen) with a broth (beef, pork, miso, or shoyu). All bowls include nori, poached egg, pork belly, greens, and mushrooms. Priced at $5 and $9 (half/whole), the noodle bowls are the perfect nightcap after an evening out.

Zuzutto's on from 9:30 to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Meanwhile, Boccuzzi says things are back on track for Ginko, his modern Japanese restaurant located below Dante. He has hired a Japanese sushi chef (no easy feat, he says) and expects the eatery to open in mid-summer.

It's all happening at 2247 Professor Ave. To learn more, call 216-274-1200 or go to restaurantdante.us.

For the past five years, pastry chef Bridget Thibeault has operated her high-end sweets biz Flour Girl out of her home. By the end of May, Flour Girl will have a commercial home in Cleveland Heights with the opening of Luna Bakery and Café.

Taking over a pair of storefronts once home to Gwynby Antiques and Baskin-Robbins, Luna will serve as Thibeault's bakery, retail bakeshop, and café. Her partners in the operation are Stone Oven owners Tatyana Rehn and John Emerman.

"Luna will be a combination of what John and Tatyana know and what I know," explains Thibeault. "This will be more bakery than café," she adds, with the emphasis being on sweets rather than savory foods.

In addition to Thibeault's custom cakes, customers will be able to purchase brownies, cupcakes, scones, croissants, and elaborately decorated sugar cookies. Savory items will be limited to breakfast sandwiches, fresh-pressed panini, and French crêpes.

"I use pretty minimal ingredients, but they are high-quality, fresh, and local," she says.

In addition to space set aside for Thibeault's custom-cake consultations, there will be about 20 seats indoors, plus more on the sidewalk patio. You'll find them at 2482 Fairmount Ave.

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