Yearning Japanese . . .
Speaking of Uptown Solon Center dining, Shuhei Hibachi (6025 Kruse Drive, 440-349-6850) isn't Shuhei anymore. Owner Hiroshi Tsuji sold the Solon operation to his friend and fellow restaurateur, Hank Saipo, last year, and Saipo has renamed the hibachi restaurant and sushi bar Akira. While the menus and the overhead signage were still carrying the old name when last we visited, Saipo says that's soon to change. As for Tsuji, he's hoping to have his newest outpost, Shuhei on the Square, next to the Colony Theater on Shaker Square, up and running in June.
The thrill of Brazil . . .
Good news for fans of Sergio Abramof's lovely little University Circle restaurant, Sergio's (1903 Ford Drive, 216-231-1234). Beginning on Mother's Day, May 13, the Brazilian-influenced dining room and its tropical garden patio will be open seven days a week, with live music every Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday evening. Abramof recently expanded his tiny kitchen and brought in another accomplished chef, Tim Bando, to share his culinary chores. A list of Bando's past employers reads like a directory of some of the area's most notable restaurants and includes Market Square Bistro in Bainbridge, Moxie in Beachwood, and the former Tutto a Posto near Shaker Square. The native Clevelander was also opening GM at the former Piccolo Mondo and had worked at The Good House with Frank Kuk. But -- and it just goes to show that this business is no place for sissies -- Bando's most recent endeavor was a self-imposed one-year furlough, far from a stove top, to rest his weary bones and help a friend build up a cabinetry business. Look for a newly refreshed and reinvigorated Bando to try sneaking an exciting Nuevo Latino twist into Sergio's already multicultural menu. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Saturday; new Sunday hours are 4 to 9 p.m.