Touch Cops a '50s Feel

Touch, House of Brews, Sixth Annual Marquee of Chefs

Where the Money Is
Look for Touch, a modern take on the 1950s supper-club concept, to open later this month at 2710 Lorain Avenue. The Ohio City location, two blocks west of the West Side Market, was originally a bank, and owner Doug Berg (former guy-in-charge of the Brillo Pad at 65th and Detroit) has maintained the rich woodwork and vintage architectural details of the old building while adding shiny modern touches to the newly installed dining room, lounge, and bar. Of particular interest to hungry hipsters is the fact that Chef Todd Stein will be in charge of the food for the 72-seat restaurant. The former Chicago kitchen magician, who, up until a few months ago, was a breath of fresh air for Piccolo Mondo, has put together a small but enticing menu of contemporary Mediterranean fare, with an emphasis on seafood. He'll be joined by Sous Chef Nicholas Macuna, formerly of Blue Point Grille; front-of-the-house duties are the province of Manager John Mullinax. The dining room will welcome guests from 5 p.m. to midnight, Tuesday through Sunday; the lounge, with live entertainment, and the bar will stay open later. Phone number is 216-631-5200.

Something's brewing . . . Flats eatery the House of Brews (1087 Old River Road) has a fresh new executive chef in Seth Kaspy, who, only a few weeks ago, was chef de partie at the Ritz-Carlton's just-opened Century. Kaspy is now top gun at the attractive brewpub, taking the position formerly occupied by Frank Zingale. Although the restaurant has been struggling lately to broaden its appeal, Kaspy's new menu, which will debut in a few weeks, seems designed to take the House of Brews back to its brewpub roots, with renewed attention to bar-food standards and fewer upscale preparations.

Doing their Civic duty . . . Some of the Akron area's best chefs are busily burnishing the blades of their Henckels in anticipation of the Sixth Annual Marquee of Chefs, a fund-raising event that benefits the Akron Civic Theatre, to be held April 30, at 5:30 p.m., at the Tangier Restaurant and Cabaret. The Marquee menu will include a selection of savory hors d'oeuvres by Rick Keyes (Tangier), a first course of gingered sea scallops by Chris Quinn (Red Tomato), salad and palate-refreshing lemon-pepper sorbet by Terry Hargis (corporate executive chef for the Hyde Park Group), and the piece de resistance -- seared filet of beef with roasted tomato-tarragon sauce atop a bed of fried cabbage and leeks, with Parmesan pasta -- by Brendan Meeker (Meeker's Kitchen). But the loudest culinary curtain call may go to Stephen Semperger of the Akron City Club, who plans to create an unbelievably elegant Pyramid Cake: 20 vertical layers of chocolate, ganache, raspberry, Grand Marnier, and vanilla genoise covered in chocolate and brushed with 14K gold leaf. If that performance doesn't rate a standing O, what does? As for the silent and oral auctions that are part of the package, the top hand-raiser may very well be a guitar autographed by Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders, along with a signed poster and a souvenir ticket and pass from her recent area concert. Tickets are $125, with proceeds benefiting the incomparable Civic Theatre. Call 330-535-3179 to order.

Tips are encouraged. Elaine T. Cicora can be contacted at [email protected].

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