By CHRIS SHERMAN
© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 7, 2001
NEW IN TOWN
The Brown Dog Cafe, home of fennel fish, cheddar strudel, pork in rice paper and such, aims to open in new digs (3451 Fourth St. N; St. Petersburg; (727) 525-5830) this weekend.
Bertolli Olive Oil named Darwin Santa Maria of Fred's in Sarasota to this year's Top 10 Sous Chef list. However, Santa Maria is no longer sous or No. 2. Fred's made him executive chef last month.
HOT, HOT, HOT?
Top trends tapped by trade mag Nation's Restaurant News as Hot Concepts! besides Samba Room are:
2001: the revived A&W; ESPN Zone; Figs' casual gourmet from Boston chef Todd English; Fire+Ice (the root of Dish); Nick & Stef's, gourmet steaks by LA star Joachim Splichal; Noodles & Co. global pasta
Hot stuff from years past now here or near:
2000: Fleming's Prime Steak House.
1999: Bahama Breeze; Kahunaville (International Plaza this fall).
1998: Buca di Beppo.
1997: Hops Grill and Bar; Logan's Roadhouse; Rainforest Cafe (Orlando).
1996: Einstein Bros. Bagels; Joe's Crab Shack
1995: House of Blues (Orlando), Maggiano's Little Italy (WestShore this summer); Cheesecake Factory (International Plaza this fall); St. Louis Bread Co. (Panera), Wolfgang Puck Cafe (Orlando).
I'LL HAVE ANOTHER . . .
Cool taste on a very hot day. Searing tuna beat searing temperatures at the annual Taste of Pinellas last weekend. My best was sashimi-rare yellowfin with peppered crust from Central Ave. Oyster Bar in St. Petersburg. Favorite truly cool idea was icy passion fruit creme brulee from the St. Petersburg Hilton with caramel crust blow-torched on-site.
-- CHRIS SHERMAN, Times food critic
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