Wok This Way

P.F. Chang's China Bistro hits Beachwood

Almost Famous
Our own little outpost of Arizona-based P.F. Chang's China Bistro is scheduled to open this week in Beachwood, near I-271 (26001 Chagrin Boulevard, 216-292-1411). The restaurant, which combines fairly typical Asian fare (think Mu Shu Pork, Kung Pao Chicken, and Beef Chow Mein, for example) with a full bar, a trendy wine list, an assortment of all-American desserts, and an upscale decor, is the first for Northeast Ohio; other regional locations are in Cincinnati and Columbus. You can wield your wicked chopsticks there Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight. And for those of you who love cruisin' that old information superhighway, you can sneak a peek at the menu at the company's well-designed website, www.pfchangs.com.

Knock on wood . . . The good folks at the groovy Grovewood Tavern and Wine Bar (17105 Grovewood Avenue, 216-531-4900) hope to have a new chef in the kitchen before the end of the month. Owner Beth Noragon says the search for culinary talent is going well; the as-yet-to-be-named chef will be taking the place vacated by former hotshot Mark Wilson, who started a new gig last week at Gates Mills Grille. Meantime, Noragon et al. are serving cheese plates and smoked salmon to accompany their wide selection of fine wines; domestic, imported, and, microbrewed beer; and select liquors. The regularly scheduled Wednesday and Thursday night wine tastings, under the supervision of wine-guy Lee Karr, continue apace at 8:30 p.m., and live entertainment is still on tap every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. (A set by Jessica Grant, the Buffalo-based singer/songwriter, who will perform from 9 p.m. to midnight on September 28, is still our pick for best accompaniment to a bottle of 1998 Caymus Conundrum.)

They'll keep a light on for you . . . Staffers at Cleveland's venerable Don's Lighthouse Grille (8905 Lake Avenue) have been busy keeping up with the times. The landmark building near the Erie shore has long been a popular destination for fresh seafood; now, Executive Chef Rory Haessley and GM Eric Schmiedl are focusing on bringing more contemporary touches to the menu and upping the ante for presentation and consistency. A pleasant introduction to the "new" Don's might be the September 27 Wine Dinner, featuring the wines of Napa Valley's Wente Vineyards and some mighty fine-sounding food. Among the tasty treats on Haessley's menu for the evening are Spicy Tempura Shrimp with Daikon Salad, Poached Salmon Roulade with black currant syrup, Pepper-Crusted Beef Medallions with Maytag blue cheese, and (yum, yum) blueberry shortcake. The 7 p.m. meal, complete with matching wines, will set you back a modest $60, tax and tip included. For reservations, call 216-961-6700.

Seems like old times . . . New Jersey native Joseph Panarello has signed on as executive chef for Century at the Cleveland Ritz-Carlton, taking the spot vacated earlier this summer by Regan Reik. Panarello goes way back with the restaurant's consulting chef, Troy Thompson, having trained with Thompson at the Ritz-Carlton in Philly and serving as Thompson's executive sous chef at the award-winning Fusebox in Atlanta. All of which is to say that Panarello is likely to be a very good match for Century's menu of luscious, modern-American cuisine.

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