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A.O.C. Reopens, Nobu Opens Largest Restaurant, and More News

A.O.C. Reopens, Nobu Opens Largest Restaurant, and More News

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In today's Media Mix, restaurant openings, plus Ludo Lefebvre on 'The Taste'

The Daily Meal brings you the biggest news from the food world.

A.O.C. Reopening Wednesday:Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne are opening the doors to A.O.C. once more, this time at a new location for the 10-year-old restaurant. [Grub Street]

Nobu Opens Largest Restaurant: The largest Nobu restaurant opened last night at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. There are more than 325 seats, a sushi bar, three teppanyaki yables, and a private dining area. [Eater]

Yum! Brands Drop in China: As two Yum! Brands suppliers were accused of providing chickens with too many antibiotics, the company behind Taco Bell and KFC reported that net profit dipped 6 percent in the fourth quarter in China. [BBC]

UN Proposes Steps to Avoid Food Crisis: Given this year's drought, corn, wheat, and soybean prices are expected to rise. UN food agencies urge countries to hold off on export restrictions, however, as this affects world food production on a larger scale. [AP]

Ludo Lefebvre Chats About 'The Taste':Apparently everyone at the judging table would do shots in Lefebvre's trailer. Don Julio for Nigella Lawson and Lefebvre, bourbon and gin and tonics for Anthony Bourdain, and beer for Brian Malarkey. [TV Guide]

L.A. County, O.C. close to wider reopening of economy as COVID-19 vaccinations climb

Some of California’s largest counties — including Los Angeles — could be poised to unlock parts of their economies as soon as this week if certain state-set benchmarks are met.

The potentially accelerated opening in places like L.A., Orange and San Bernardino counties is possible thanks to a rewrite of California’s coronavirus reopening blueprint that state officials announced last week.

It works like this: 40% of the state’s available COVID-19 vaccines will now be dedicated to residents in California’s most disadvantaged areas — a massive commitment officials say will help address glaring inequities in vaccine administration.

Once 2 million doses have been administered in these communities, the state will relax the threshold required for a county to exit the most restrictive purple category of the state’s four-tier, color-coded reopening roadmap.

Under a new policy, state officials plan to reserve 40% of vaccines to underserved communities.

Currently, counties must have an adjusted daily coronavirus case rate at or below seven new cases per day per 100,000 people to move into the more permissive red tier. But after the state hits its 2-million dose goal, which it likely will do this week, counties with a case rate of up to 10 new cases per day per 100,000 people would become eligible for the red tier.

According to state data, almost 1.88 million total vaccine doses had been administered as of Monday in the targeted communities — those in the lowest quartile of the California Healthy Places index.

L.A., Orange and San Bernardino counties were among those that had logged adjusted case rates of below 10 new cases per day per 100,000 people last week. Should they fall below that threshold again when the state updates its tiering data Tuesday, it appears those counties would be allowed to progress to the next level of reopenings.

“Our understanding is that within 48 hours of the state announcing the vaccine trigger has been met, L.A. County — along with other counties with qualifying case rates — would be moved into the red tier and permitted to reopen for additional activities,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said during a briefing Monday.

County health officials are already “working with the Board of Supervisors and all of our sectors to plan for what will be a sensible and safe reopening as permitted by the state, but as appropriate for our county,” she continued.

Counties in the red tier can allow indoor restaurant dining and movie theaters to reopen at 25% capacity or up to 100 people, whichever is fewer. In-person classes also would be allowed to resume for students in grades seven through 12.

Indoor gyms and dance and yoga studios can open at 10% capacity. Museums, zoos and aquariums can open indoor activities at 25% capacity, and nonessential stores and libraries can open at 50% capacity, up from 25% capacity.

However, it’s not a given that L.A. County would immediately reopen as widely as the red tier allows. Counties can adopt rules that are stricter, but not more lenient, than the state’s.

“As we plan to move into the red tier, where additional reopenings will be permitted, we’re looking closely at the science to understand what practices can help reduce community transmission of COVID-19,” Ferrer said.

She pointed to a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which found that the rate of COVID-19 deaths slowed in counties where states required masks, and sped up in counties where states allowed on-site restaurant dining.

“That’s something that we’ll need to take into account as we begin more reopenings in our restaurants,” she said.

South Florida restaurants: Now open, coming soon and closed

Got a tip for this weekly check on what’s happening in South Florida’s dining scene? Email Arlene Borenstein-Zuluaga at [email protected]

Stay up to date with the South Florida dining news:

Sign up for our twice-weekly Eat Beat newsletter, filled with restaurant news, guides and recipes. Go to to sign up.

Now Open

Owner Jason Hadley’s chicken-dip stall at the Yellow-Green Farmer’s Market was once spotlighted on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” and now Bang Shack is a brick-and-mortar fast-casual restaurant in downtown Hollywood. 120 S. 20th Ave. 786-223-5395

Sushi By Bou Beach Club, Pompano Beach

The 10-seat sushi bar at Sushi By Bou Beach Club, an omakase-style restaurant from sushi master David Bouhadana, is now open at the the Marriott Residence Inn Pompano Beach. The rest of the 80-seat restaurant will open sometime in June. Other locations in New York, New Jersey, Chicago and Miami Beach, but this one will have a beachy vibe. 1350 Ocean Blvd.

Studio 404, Delray Beach

A new daiquiri bar in The Set neighborhood aims to revive West Atlantic Avenue, just east of I-95. The eatery opened in March and serves $2 tacos, $5 margaritas and colorful daiquiris in four flavors. There are also midnight brunches on Friday and Saturday nights. 404 W Atlantic Ave. @studio404delray

It will be more convenient to eat more chicken as a second Chick-fil-A opens in Davie. A Davie resident owns both fast-food locations and is looking to hire both full-time and part-time employees. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this location is drive-thru or carry out only from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Doors are closed on Sundays. You can follow their posts on Facebook and Instagram. 5700 South University Drive

Solluna, Fort Lauderdale

Former pan-Asian eatery Tsukuro has rebranded and is now Solluna, a seaside Mexican cantina specializing in breakfast tortas, jumbo margaritas, fish tacos and steak fajitas. 225 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd. 954-523-1407

Bombay Café, Oakland Park

This longtime traditional Indian restaurant on Andrews Avenue has moved farther east and replaced the former Inkanto Peruvian Cuisine. Bombay features tandoor-grilled meats, seafood, and vegan-friendly dishes and curries. 1672 E. Oakland Park Blvd. 954-568-0600,

PX Grill Mediterranean Cuisine, Fort Lauderdale

Kosher Mediterranean dishes including falafel, shawarma and gyros with a full bar, from the owners of Pita Express on Stirling Road. 3558 N. Ocean Blvd.,, 954-280-0050.

The drag queens are back for the first time since the pandemic shutdown. The venue reopened April 22, kicking off with “The Divas” on Thursday nights, Glitz & Glam every Friday and Saturday. There’s also Lips’ drag-a-licious Gospel Brunch on Sunday. Prix fixe menus are available and include cover charges (tax and gratuity not included). Capacity is limited. Reservations are required. 1421 E. Oakland Park Blvd. 954-567-0987,

Botanic, Fort Lauderdale

Inside the new Goodland Hotel near Fort Lauderdale beach, Botanic serves breakfast and dinner, with lunch hours to be announced soon. “What we like to say is it’s South Florida [ingredients] with heavy Latino and Caribbean influences,” explains executive chef Rashaad Abdool. 2900 Riomar St., 954-908-7308,

Plant Based Mafia, Palm Beach Gardens

The new Italian-style vegan restaurant offers dishes including Not Your Grandma’s Rigatoni, The Big Bambino and The Johnny Gleeson. Even if you like meat in your meatballs, owners say you won’t be disappointed. 7100 Fairway Drive, Palm Beach Gardens 561-223-2432,

Florida’s largest food hall opened with 27 vendors, including Big T’s Deli, and wine, cheese and charcuterie bar called Cellar and Pantry, Ferdos Grill serving Mediterranean food, Salvo’s Pizzeria and Lovelee Bakeshop. At four stories with 150,000 square feet of vendor spaces and entertainment/demonstration areas, it can handle 2,000 visitors a day. 33 SE Third Ave.,

Francisca Charcoal Chicken & Meats, Davie

This fast-growing Latin American chain, which aims to open 12 Florida locations in 2021 (Miramar and Miami Lakes are already open), debuted its Davie outpost on April 20. The restaurant, which comes from Miami-based Bocas Group, specializes in charcoal chicken, barbecue baby back ribs, empanadas, arepas and cachapas. 2258 S. University Drive, Davie 954-530-6573,

Once a Mexican taqueria in the bright corner of a Chevron gas station, Los Bocados debuted its first brick-and-mortar April 19 a taco’s throw north of its old stomping grounds. Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Drives” recently spotlighted the restaurant’s build-your-own burritos and citrus-pork quesadillas. 7031 N. State Road 7, Parkland 954-637-4984,

Walt’s American Grille and Bar, Boca Raton

Farm-to-table options include classic American fare like a New York strip or honey glazed salmon. The new eatery is also kicking things up with a happy hour menu that includes habanero chicken wings, tuna nachos, shrimp ceviche and half off all drinks from 5 to 7 p.m. 6030 SW 18th St., Boca Raton

Coming soon

Foxy Brown, Fort Lauderdale

The intimate and unassuming downtown Fort Lauderdale favorite from Be Nice Restaurants group will open its new location on May 29. The restaurant is moving to the former Good Spirits space and will have more parking, a bigger bar and larger outdoor patio. The popular weekend brunch will continue. 476 N. Federal Highway 754-200-4236,

RGS Brazilian Steakhouse, Pompano Beach

This all-you-can-eat Brazilian eatery replaces the former Burgers & Suds location on McNab Road. Gauchos (carvers) will serve cuts of beef, pork, chicken, lamb and Brazilian sausage straight from the grill. There will also be a buffet of salads and hot items to accompany. 360 E. Mcnab Road 954-889-4669,

Kraft Bistro Deli, Fort Lauderdale

This bistro and deli from first-time restaurateur Paul Hugo is expected to open June 1 in the former location of Brown Dog Eatery. 2701 E. Oakland Park Blvd.

Hamburger Mary’s, Wilton Manors

This drag-themed restaurant known for over-the-top hamburgers, hand-cut fries and queens who perform and mingle with the crowd, will debut sometime in May on Wilton Drive, replacing the space formerly occupied by Rumors Bar & Grill. 2426 Wilton Drive

Andrew’s Diner, Fort Lauderdale

After changing ownership twice since the pandemic began, Andrews Diner has moved off Andrews Avenue and onto Cypress Creek Road, where it will replace the former Duffy’s Diner when it reopens in June. The longtime Greek greasy spoon is best known for dishing gyro omelets and spinach pie, and for appearing on Food Network’s “American Diner Revival” in 2016. 925 NE 62nd St.

Pictured: Meliá Hotels to open Innside Newcastle with five 'creative meeting' areas

Meliá Hotels International has announced the opening date for Innside Newcastle, its second property under the brand in the UK.

The 161-room Innside Newcastle will launch in December in the city's Quayside area, offering views across the River Tyne.

It will join a sister property in Manchester, which opened with 208 bedrooms in 2015.

Meliá is promoting the hotel as catering to business travellers with a bespoke ‘Workcation' package. The property features five multi-functional meeting areas, including a 'Big Ideas Space' with smart screens and comfortable chairs.

There is banqueting capacity for up to 170 people and guests can access a 24-hour gym and 'Open Living Lounge', which will serve food throughout the day.

Meliá is Spain's largest hotel group and runs Innside hotels in 28 locations.

It has a further 13 properties in the pipeline, and is set to launch Innside Liverpool in spring 2021.

Nobu Hotel and Restaurant Joining Vegas Strip

Caesars Palace and Nobu Hospitality executed definitive agreements to create the first-ever Nobu Hotel, Restaurant, and Lounge in Las Vegas. This unique boutique-style hotel is set to open summer 2012. This innovative concept will combine the world’s first Nobu Hotel with the first Nobu restaurant and lounge on the Las Vegas Strip.

This will further the tradition of world-class accommodations and service that are synonymous with the resort’s luxury brand.

“The Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace will be a strategic milestone in the next chapter with the continued support of Caesars Entertainment,” says Trevor Horwell, chief executive of Nobu Hospitality. “Whilst we have a very solid pipeline of hotels on a global scale, we are resolute in our determination to ensure we create in Las Vegas a unique five-star destination for style-makers and trendsetters the world over.”

David Rockwell of the Rockwell Group will lead the overall interior design of the 180-room Nobu Hotel. Rockwell’s design experience and passion have been synonymous with the Nobu brand for more than 20 years. The hotel, restaurant, and lounge will feature a stylish interior design that showcases natural materials fused with Nobu’s signature Japanese elegance.

“The first-ever Nobu hotel, restaurant and lounge will offer a stylish new experience of luxury and hospitality, appealing to returning Caesars Palace guests and attracting new visitors,” says Gary Selesner, president of Caesars Palace. “The hotel will offer an experience unlike anything in Las Vegas, pairing exclusive accommodations with a resort famed for world-class entertainment, dining, and shopping.”

The 11,200 square foot Nobu restaurant and lounge, located in the heart of the Nobu Hotel, will be the ideal destination to be seen, socialize, and enjoy the unique cuisine of celebrated Chef Nobu Matsuhisa. The restaurant will offer several teppanyaki tables, a sushi bar, and a private dining area along with a large lounge and bar boasting 327 seats.

Under the scheduled development plan, the Centurion Tower will undergo a multi-million dollar refurbishment.

Read more

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by FSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.

Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick seen without masks as they bring the kids to lunch with pals at Nobu Malibu the DAY it reopens for dine-in

Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick brought their children to lunch at the swank restaurant Nobu Malibu on Saturday.

The Kardashian hot spot reopened for dine-in that day after providing takeout and delivery amid the coronavirus lockdowns.

Scott, 37, and Kourtney, 41, declined to wear face masks when they were seen outside as did their pals and children.

Out and about: Kourtney Kardashian (not pictured) and Scott Disick (far right) brought their children to lunch at the swank restaurant Nobu Malibu on Saturday

Kourtney could be seen warmly hugging a female friend while the pals gathered outside the restaurant before heading in for their meal.

She and Scott last ended their on-off relationship in 2015 and now amicably co-parent three children – Mason, 10, Penelope, seven, and Reign, five.

It emerged last month that Scott has broken up with Lionel Richie’s 21-year-old daughter Sofia Richie after a roughly three-year romance.

Last month Scott checked into rehab for ’emotional issues’ and ‘past traumas,’ but checked out shortly thereafter.

All that sweet affection: Kourtney could be seen warmly hugging a female friend while the pals gathered outside the restaurant before heading in for their meal

Family matters: She and Scott last ended their on-off relationship in 2015 and now amicably co-parent three children – Mason, 10, Penelope, seven, and Reign, five

In the wake of his decision to leave rehab Us Weekly reported he and Sofia were ‘on a break until Scott straightens himself out more.’

Finally on May 27, the day after his 37th birthday, the magazine revealed that Scott and Sofia had decided to end their romance.

Kourtney, Scott and the children traveled to Utah on a private jet last week to celebrate his 37th birthday.

Details: The Kardashian hot spot reopened for dine-in that day after providing takeout and delivery amid the coronavirus lockdowns

Their digs of choice according to The Blast was Amangiri Resort, the same place Kourtney’s sister Kim Kardashian rang in her own 37th birthday.

‘Kourtney and Scott had so much fun with the kids in Utah, and the kids want them to do family trips all together more often,’ dished an Us Weekly source.

‘Scott is so happy that he and Kourtney get along so well and how easy it is with her. It’s weird to everyone else, but not to them. They are really like best friends.’

The source explained: “Kourtney is not open to him in a romantic sense, but Scott is always flirting with her and thinks she looks better than ever.’

Incidentally: Scott, 37, and Kourtney, 41, declined to wear face masks when they were seen outside as did their pals and children


Finca Serena – Mallorca – Opening January 2020

Following it’s discreet soft-launch last year, the unique Finca Serena boutique retreat re-opens on 31 January 2020. This peaceful, rural property is the place to discover the hidden, authentic Mallorca. Finca Serena is an exclusive country resort, where luxury has been pared back to its purest form: exclusivity, authenticity and privacy. This charming property, evocative of a welcoming farmstead, has been further refined for 2020, offering a refreshing mix of understated cool and contemporary finesse. Away from the coastal crowds and the bustle of the city, it’s easily reached from Palma’s airport in less than half an hour’s drive.

Ikos Andalusia – Opening May 2020

Ikos arrives on Spain’s legendary Costa del Sol. Opening in May 2020 on Playa de Guadalmansa, west of Marbella, Ikos Andalusia is set to be a stunning, luxury all-inclusive resort, and the first Ikos property outside of Greece. Built across 21 acres with views out across the sparkling Mediterranean, the resort has 411 guest rooms, including one- and two-bedroom suites for couples and families, with a choice of private balconies, gardens, and individual pools. Guests can indulge with signature à la carte menus curated by Michelin-starred chefs, be pampered by beauty products from Anne Sémonin Paris, and discover a choice of 300 wine labels. There’s beach waiter service, complimentary kids’ clubs, and 24-hour room service too!

Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, London – Opening TBC 2020

Situated on a prominent corner of Marylebone’s Portman Square, the 249-room hotel, which is owned and developed by L+R Hotels, will feature a signature Nobu bar and outdoor terrace, a 600-person ballroom, gym, wellness facilities and meeting spaces. Conceptualised by award-winning David Collins Studio, in conjunction with Make Architects, Nobu Hotel London Portman Square will apply a contemporary approach to both aesthetics and hospitality, using natural materials and effortlessly blending modern luxury with minimalist Japanese tradition. The hotel will bring to life signature philosophies from Nobu Hospitality – the globally established lifestyle brand founded by Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper – including sincerity, individuality and a passion for service, whilst delivering omotenashi, a Japanese hospitality style embodied by the Nobu brand. Exceptional craftsmanship will be seen throughout the hotel, with David Collins Studio’s concept creating a sense of uniformity, flow, richness and welcoming warmth of the Nobu brand.

Kalesma Ornos Bay, Mykonos – Opening June 2020

Set to elevate the desirable island of Mykonos to new heights, Kalesma is a brand new 25 suite and two villa luxury hotel, opening June 2020. ‘Kalesma’, meaning ‘inviting’ in Greek, is perfectly suited to the ethos of this boutique, privately-owned property. The whitewashed, beautifully designed collection of houses have been created to resemble a charming Mykonian village, tumbling down a slope to Ornos Bay, just a short walk from the beach. The look and feel of a traditional village is deliberate, as Kalesma is all about making guests feel at home and encouraging a neighbourhood vibe, enhanced by weekly intimate dinners. Inspired by Cycladic architecture, combining tradition with contemporary elements, Kalesma is a design aficionados dream – offering sleek and minimalist intweriors using locally-sourced materials, evident at every turn. Spectacular sea views are promised from every part of the hotel and its location is truly unique, with guests being able to see the sunrise and sunset from the same spot.

MarBella Elix, Parga region of mainland Greece – Opening June 2020

As the third hotel to join the MarBella Collection portfolio and the brand’s first property outside of the island of Corfu, MarBella Elix will be perched above the beautiful Karavostasi Beach in the Parga region, looking west towards Corfu and Paxos. An area of astounding natural beauty, the luxurious MarBella Elix sits in unspoilt surroundings where the mountains meet the Ionian Sea. Previously an undiscovered area of Greece, the new BA flight route which launched 1st September 2019 has opened up this destination for visitors to explore. surrounded by incredible nature and with impeccable style, this is going to be a must visit property for 2020.

Palazzo Gaddi, Florence – Opening Spring 2020

A new property for the Dedica brand within a beautifully restored 16th century palace, celebrating the city of Florence and its historic architecture. Masterminded by internationally-renowned interior architects Patrizia Quartero and Guy Oliver, and working with specialist restorers and local artisans, the renovation of Palazzo Gaddi will focus on creating a contemporary hotel with a strong sense of place derived from its antique Florentine architecture. The hotel is situated in the heart of the city, close to the Duomo, railway station, Medici Chapels, San Lorenzo Market and 10 minutes’ walk from the Ponte Vecchio and the Uffizi Gallery. The property will open with 86 rooms and suites, a vibrant lobby bar, meeting spaces and the hotel’s famous roof terrace overlooking the Duomo and Campanile.

Hotel Plaza, Nice – Opening Summer 2020

One of the city’s most notable landmark buildings has been fully transformed and opens with 153 rooms and suites, all finished to the highest standard of luxury. After an 18-month full transformation, Hotel Plaza’s famous panoramic rooftop terrace is being completely redesigned by David Collins Studio London to become a year-round destination for all-day relaxed bistro chic dining. A new spa and fitness centre are also under development. The hotel is in close proximity to the Old Town where guests will find many restaurants and bars, museums and galleries and the famous Promenade des Anglais. When it reopens in 2020 with its spacious rooms and public areas, Hotel Plaza will reclaim its historic position as an emblem of luxury hospitality and the sociable hub of the Côte d’Azur.

AJWA Cappadocia, Turkey – Opening Spring 2020

This Spring, luxury hotel brand AJWA will open its second hotel, AJWA Cappadocia, in the province of Nevşehir, Turkey. Set across three buildings, the hotel will feature 98 decorative guest rooms and cave suites, an experiential concept restaurant, luxurious spa, kids club, a small farm and a beautifully landscaped garden. With an exceptional location and direct access to the Beydere Valley, the resort will celebrate Cappadocia’s natural and cultural heritage. The resort has been designed to recreate the historical Keravansaray experience, with luxurious, handcrafted mother of pearl furniture and striking décor, including traditional Turkish rugs, guests will lavish in the hotel’s authentic design.

Hilton Lake House Rooms & Villas, Dalaman – Opening Summer 2020

The Hilton Dalaman expands its accommodation offering with a new collection of luxury Lake House Swim-up Rooms and Villas. These stunning rooms and villas are surrounded by a luscious green garden, each overlooking or with direct access to an incredible swimming pool. Situated in an exclusive new development adjacent to the resort, guests will have full access to Hilton Dalaman’s unrivalled facilities. Perfect for families and large groups, the new development will feature 123 rooms with three accommodation types, including Lake House Swim-Up Room, Lake House Family Swim-Up and three Lake House Villas. Each contemporary-style property offers spacious accommodation for 4-10 guests, up to four bedrooms with Super King Size or Queen Size beds, a living room, private terrace with direct pool access or a private balcony with pool views.

Lindos Grand Resort & Spa, Lindos – Opening May 2020

Moments from Lindos Old Town, the new 5-star, adults only Lindos Grand Resort & Spa will officially open 1st May 2020. Boasting an array of fine dining options, unobstructed views of the shimmering Aegean Sea and jaw-dropping infinity pools cascading from the cliff edge. This elegant new resort is the perfect romantic escape. With spectacular views of the secluded Vlycha Bay, the majority rooms feature their own balcony and wrap around infinity pool, offering panoramic views of the crystal-clear waters below. The resort also features a selection of luxury penthouse suites featuring rooftop infinity pools with breath-taking views of the ancient ruins.

Vienna, HOHO – Late 2020

Located a short distance from the heart of Vienna, guests can find themselves at the all new HOHO hotel. Set to be the world’s tallest timber building, situated in the peaceful neighbourhood of Seestadt. HOHO is anticipated to open in 2020, and takes inspiration from the elements of the earth which is incorporated into it’s slick and simplistic design. The wooden high-riser will offer beauty, health, therapy and various recreational wellness activities situated right by the Danube River.

First Look: Chef Jackie Chang does modern Japanese at District M in Sandy Springs

Chef-owner Jackie Chang, formerly of Umi in Buckhead and O-Ku on the Westside, leads the team of chefs working in the open kitchen and at a sprawling 20-seat sushi bar, touted as the largest in metro Atlanta.

The upscale, minimalist-chic concept is accented with wood and steel, and the design includes a cocktail bar with a window that opens to the patio, a dramatic, dimly lit dining room, and a loft that does double duty as a private dining room and an intimate late-night lounge.

Using premium, seasonal fish flown in daily from Japan, A5 Japanese wagyu beef, uni and other high-end ingredients, and a state-of-the-art Japanese grill for yakitori, the menu ranges from chef-curated omakase and moriawase to contemporary carpaccio, hot and cold appetizers, and charcoal-grilled and sauteed dishes. And, of course, a la carte nigiri, sashimi and specialty rolls round out the offerings.

From bar manager Joshua Kuckuck, collections of Japanese Kavalan, Iwai and Hibiki whiskey, and Hitachino beer on draft, join sake, shochu and more familiar spirits on the beverage menu. And look for signature cocktails, such as the strawberry and basil Sakura Smash and the ginger and yuzu Green Tea Mule.

Last week, general manager Simon Lim joined chef Chang at District M to talk about how they are creating a new kind of sushi restaurant in Sandy Springs.

“The main difference we’re trying to bring forth to Atlanta is this open kitchen style,” Lim said. “What you’ll find at most sushi restaurants is that the counter has a bit of a ledge, and you can’t really see what the chefs are creating for you. We’re trying to fuse the open kitchen and the flat sushi bar together so that what you see being prepared is going to be served to you.

“It’s a more inclusive experience. You not only get to see the craftsmanship from chef, because he makes some amazing dishes, but you can see everything that’s going on — from the hot side to the appetizers and everything in between.”

Besides an up-close and personal view of the kitchen, Lim noted that Chang’s style of service is often very hands-on, too.

“Chef also does something a little different, called an edomae-style omakase,” he said. “You’ll find that a lot in Los Angeles, and mainly in Tokyo and New York City, right now. What that incorporates is chef passing a guest individual pieces of nigiri and sushi over the bar so they can eat it as soon as he prepares it. Chef recommends that you eat it within 45 seconds for freshness’ sake.

“But chef loves to interact with his guests. The open kitchen allows him to show the guests a good time, drink a few shots of sake with the guests, and incorporate that humble hospitality feeling.”

For his part, Chang said he is aware of all the changes in the Atlanta dining scene. And he mentioned the fact that Nobu, the most famous of Japanese fusion restaurants, will soon be opening at Phipps Plaza as a reason for staying ahead of the curve.

“I put all my culinary experience and everything I learned into this,” Chang said. “This is the first restaurant of my own, so it’s exciting, but a little scary, too. Especially in Sandy Springs, we are the first kind of fine dining Japanese restaurant, with a lot of modern techniques and French ingredients.

“There’s a lot of contemporary nigiri sushi on the menu, and sashimi, too. And we have three different kinds of omakase. But it’s very exciting to have the open space and be talking with the guests. I’m having fun. And with my staff and my team, we are trying to do something a little different here.”

6125 Roswell Road, Suite 900, Sandy Springs. 678-974-2820,

Scroll down for more images from a First Look at District M in Sandy Springs


A mental health support service for hospitality workers has been launched by the The Burnt Chef Project. It’s anonymous, entirely confidential, and you can get all the details on it here.

Samuel Mensah, the CEO of Uncle John’s Bakery - the stalwart Ghanaian bakery based in Tottenham - sadly passed away last week.

Gunpowder are launching a dum biryani delivery service called Empire. There will be lamb and mushroom options, plus other bits like beef boti kebab, and paneer butter masala. Follow here for updates.

Mao Chow, the all-vegan Chinese-inspired spot in Hackney, has opened up a second location in Nag’s Head Market in Holloway. The dan dan noodles are essential.

Classic French spot Otto’s has made its legendary pressed Challans duck available for takeaway. So you can stop watching that 19th century press on eBay, and head over to the Grays Inn Road instead. All profits go towards supporting and feeding NHS workers as well.

The 2017 Gift Guide from the chef behind The American Table

Nine glasses of the 18-piece set of Duralex Picardie Tumblers, available from, are photographed in New York, Thursday. It is a great gift for anyone who needs new glasses, or for the student or graduate moving into his or her first apartment.

Loftin Ceramic Oyster Shells, and Loftin Oyster Grilling Tong, available at, are photographed in New York, Thursday. The life-like oyster shells are handmade from high-fire ceramic in Louisiana where oysters reign king.

A Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Care Kit, and two Lodge cast iron skillets, available at, are photographed in New York, Thursday. Inside the kit are use and care tips, a pan scraper, scrub brush, seasoning spray, and a silicone hot handle holder as a bonus.

Institute of Culinary Education Gift Cards are photographed in New York, Thursday. ICE has been in business since 1975 and houses the largest program of hands-on recreational cooking, baking and wine education classes in the world.

The Town Cutler Chef Kit, that consists of their Black Leather 5-Slot Knife Wrap, an 8.5-inch AEB-L Stainless Steel Chef Knife with Buckeye Burl Handle and leather scabbard, right, and a 4-inch Charcoal Palette Knife, is shown in this photograph in New York, Tuesday.

Two versions of the Chef Steps Joule Sous Vide: the stainless steel version, immersed, and polycarbonate version, foreground, are photographed with their smartphone app, in New York, Thursday. Add warm water to a Dutch oven, insert the Joule, turn on the Joule with the phone app, add your food and cook.

Chef David Lebovitz’s book “L𠆚ppart, The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home,” from Crown, is photographed in New York, Wednesday. If you ever dreamed of having an apartment in Paris, this book is required reading.

Grand Mayan Ultra Aged Tequila, left, and Grand Mayan 3D Silver Tequila, distributed nationally by MS Walker, are photographed in New York, Thursday. The Ultra Aged takes 10 years to produce from agave plant to bottle.

An 18-piece set of Duralex Picardie Tumblers, available from, is photographed in New York, Thursday. It is a great gift for anyone who needs new glasses, or for the student or graduate moving into his or her first apartment.

Chef Nobu Matuhisa’s “NOBU: A Memoir,” from Atria Books, is photographed in New York, Sunday. Nobu is one of the good guys who has become famous by the old-fashioned tenets of being a family man, hard work, passion and perseverance even in the face of adversity.

This holiday season’s gift guide contains a book by a real-life hero chef who built an empire by valuing his busboys, a set of nifty ceramic stoneware oyster shells, atasty tequila and “the last knife you ever buy.”

Books For The Cook Who Likes To Read

“L𠆚ppart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home”

By David Lebovitz (Crown, $27)

It’s easy to think that David Lebobvitz is living a dream life. Cooking, writing about food, giving chocolate tours and living in Paris. But that old saying, ‘nothing worth having is easy.’ comes to mind when you read his latest book. It’s a memoir about buying and renovating his Paris home. If you ever dreamed of having an apartment in Paris, this book is required reading. As horrible as parts of it must have been to live though, David tells the bittersweet tale with a sense of humor, insight into the French culture, and memories of delicious and unexpected recipes like how to make Croissants aux Amandes (almond croissants) at home (spoiler alert: they are made from day-old croissants — who knew?). But the best thing about this book is that David writes as he talks so it is like having a long conversation with a good friend. Equal parts honest, intriguing, distressing, entertaining, funny and appetizing. Pour yourself a glass of French wine, grab a nibble and cozy up to a great night with a great book.

By Nobuyuki (Nobu) Matsuhisa (Atria Books, $30)

This year, many new food memoirs by chefs, bloggers and food writers were published. I read a stack of the books and was struck by how tedious and self-indulgent so many of them are. Maybe memoirs by the very nature of the genre are self-serving.? And, then I sat down to read a memoir by the most famous of all the authors, Nobu. Most people know Nobu as the highly acclaimed chef proprietor of 47 Nobu and Matsuhisa restaurants, and six hotels around the world with partners who include Robert De Niro.

I was instantly struck by how humble and inspiring his story was — or rather, how simply and humbly he presented his story and his life philosophy. Nobu is one of the good guys who has become famous by the old-fashioned tenets of being a family man, hard work, passion and perseverance even in the face of adversity. Forget about reading self-help books for motivation and guidance. Read Nobu and experience a real-life hero who built an empire and a good life by valuing his busboys as highly as his executive chefs. This is inspiration by example.

For Cooks Who Like To Drink

French Duralex Picardie Tumblers

Drinking glasses are very personal. They have to feel good in your hand, look good and be durable. I like my glasses to be sturdy, functional and elegant. That’s a lot to ask, but the tempered glass tumblers from Duralex check all the boxes. They are the epitome of good design and the French company has been in business since 1945. You can use the glasses for hot or cold drinks and they store easily because they are stackable. Thanks to shatterproof construction, if broken, the glass becomes small chunks instead of jagged shards — so cleanup is safe and easy. The glasses are microwave and dishwasher safe, impact and chip resistant and lovely to use.

I especially like that they come in eight sizes from 3.1 ounce to 17.62 ounces. The original French tumbler is the Picardie design and it is the only style available in a set of 18. It is a great gift for anyone who needs new glasses, or for the student or graduate moving into his or her first apartment. The set of 18 ($69.95) includes six of each, small (8.75 ounce), medium (12 ounce) and large glasses (17 ounce). They are perfect for milk, juice or a cocktail, iced coffee or tea, water and anything else that you care to drink. I also like the smaller 4.4 ounce size for espresso and sipping bourbon and tequila neat. They can be ordered separately to complete your set at .

The first time that I saw Grand Mayan Ultra Aged Tequila was about 10 years ago. I was at a liquor store in Los Angeles and I was struck by the beautiful hand-painted ceramic decanter. I gambled and bought the bottle based on looks alone and boy, oh boy, was I rewarded. The color, aroma and smooth taste rival my favorite aged bourbons for choice sipping. Deep with nutty caramel, vanilla and blue agave notes, this is tequila that you sip neat. The deep dark color comes from a blend of 3, 4 and 5 year-old tequilas that have been aged in American and French oak casks. The Ultra Aged takes 10 years to produce from agave plant to bottle.

The Ultra Aged has a younger sibling, the award-winning Grand Mayan Silver. It is triple distilled resulting in a crystal-clear spirit that is the cleanest silver tequila that I have ever tasted. The sparkling fresh 100 percent blue agave tequila is perfect for drinking over ice with a splash of citrus or mixing into almost any cocktail. It also comes in a very handsome black and white hand-painted ceramic Talavera bottle created by Mexican artists honoring the history and tradition of Mexico.

From my first taste of Grand Mayan a decade ago, I have had my eyes open for that bottle but I couldn’t find it outside of Los Angeles — that is until now. Luckily for the rest of the country, Grand Mayan is now distributed nationally by MS Walker and at . The cost is $100 for the Ultra Aged, $70 for the Silver.

Little Book “The Easy” Blended Straight Whiskey

Fans of Booker’s bourbon will love Little Book. It was released in October from Freddie Noe, son of 7th Generation Beam Master Distiller Fred Noe. I am a personal fan of Booker’s and a huge fan of American whiskey, so I couldn’t wait to taste Freddie Noe’s first release in the Little Book series. The new limited-release whiskey is Little Book “The Easy.” It is aptly named as it goes down easy. Smooth and rich and perfectly balanced, it is destined to become a fast favorite. Freddie drew inspiration from the classic components of bourbon to create his first-ever whiskey expression. It features uncut and unfiltered Kentucky Straight Bourbon blended with corn whiskey, rye whiskey, and malt. As Freddie takes on an expanding role in the family business, Little Book is a nod to what he’s learned so far from the generations of distillers before him especially his grandfather, legendary distiller Booker Noe. Little Book “The Easy” is available nationwide for $79.99 for a 750-ml bottle and at If you miss it, take heart because the distillery plans to release a new expression every fall.

For Cooks Who Like Handy Tools

I like to grill oysters on the half shell which makes for both a pretty presentation and failsafe grilling. The tough shell protects the delicate oysters from the hot fire, tampering the heat and transferring it through the shell. But, if you are not very comfortable with shucking oysters, or can’t find whole oysters in the shell, then I have a gift for you!

Loftin Oyster Shells are made from ceramic stoneware. The life-like oyster shells are handmade from high-fire ceramic in Louisiana where oysters reign. Best is that they are uniform with flat bottoms which stop the shells from rocking on the grill. The beautiful re-useable shells will hold one large or two smaller oysters. So, all you have to do is buy the shucked oysters and get grilling! I like their motto which is 𠆊ll shell, no shuck.’ You can buy the oyster shells by the dozen on their website and start making all your favorite restaurant oyster recipes at home. Their oyster grilling tong is especially helpful for taking the oysters off the grill. Suggested retail is $69 for a set of 12 shells and $18.49 for the tong/lifter at

Ninja Intelli-Sense Kitchen System

This machine surprised me and made me a new fan of Ninja products. As anyone who knows me knows, I love a good gadget! And, when a friend told me about the Ninja Intelli-Sense Kitchen System, I knew that I had to try it. And, now I can’t stop talking about it. It is so smart. There is one base (think brain) and four attachments that will blend, chop, make individual smoothies and spiralize. In effect, this one appliance replaces my food processor, my smoothie machine, my blender — and my hand-cranked spiralizer — that didn’t work well anyway.

But that’s not all, the Intelli-Sense base recognizes which of the four vessels you attach to it, and automatically displays the corresponding settings specifically designed for that vessel. For example, when you attach the processor, the touch screen on the base gives you options for four different functions (puree, dough, chop, dips). When you make your selection, the base adjusts the speed and torque of the motor to suit what you are making. It’s genius, or at the very least, very intelligent! But that is not all, the design feature that makes this appliance heads and tails above the rest is that the blender and the processor have four blades stacked at varying levels to process everything at once. It does all the hard work for you. No more pushing the food from the top to the bottom or manually turning the machine on and off while you distribute the un-processed food. It goes for $199.75 at .

I just decided to sous vide my steak for dinner tonight. It may sound like a big project but it’s not. I have started to think of my Joule sous vide circulator by Chef Steps, as a fancy slow-cooker that makes cooking dinner and entertaining easier. Add warm water to a Dutch oven, insert the Joule, turn on the Joule with the phone app, add your food and cook. It’s that simple.

The Joule is shorter than other circulators which makes storing it a breeze. And, the bottom is magnetic so you can put it in a pot and it stands upright — and stays upright — without needing to clamp it on the side. You put your food in a heavy-duty re-closeable plastic bag — vacuum sealing is no longer a must — and attach it to the side of your pot with a chip clip. The Joule runs with an app that is so intuitive that you don’t need to be tech savvy to use it. You search for the food that you want to cook, choose a degree of doneness and the size of the food, i.e., a 2-inch thick steak, and turn it on by phone.

One added bonus is that with sous-vide cooking, it is next to impossible to overcook your food. I use my Joule mostly for cooking meat that I will char on the grill just before serving and poached eggs. Yes, if you only bought it for poached eggs, that would be enough! I first became enamored with sous vide when I discovered that you can place a raw egg (in the shell) in the water and 45 minutes later, you crack the shell and out comes a perfect poached egg. I make eggs like these at least once a week for topping avocado toast or eating for breakfast. Once you do it, you will be hooked! The Joule comes in two finishes, stainless for $199 and white for $179 at .

For The Cook Who Has Everything

Gift certificate for Institute of Culinary Education

The Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) is the heart of New York City’s academic culinary world. It is unique in that it has both a robust and award-winning professional program, and recreational program. It is the school where so many well-known chefs and food writers and editors attended, and or taught. I taught recreational classes at ICE for many years and most of the photographs in my column are now prepared and shot at ICE. When I taught, many of my students came to my classes with gift certificates that friends and family gave them. I always thought that it was the best gift of all, an experience that they could enjoy with or without the gift giver, and take home new recipes and new skills that they will have for a lifetime.

ICE has been in business since 1975 and houses the largest program of hands-on recreational cooking, baking and wine education classes in the world. More than 26,000 people visit ICE each year to learn and experience everything from wine tasting and mixology to hands-on cooking and eating. With 12 state-of-the-art kitchens in lower Manhattan, ICE is able to provide classes both day and night, 355 days a year. For a list of classes and to register, visit . The minimum amount for gift certificates is $100.

Galen Garretson wants this to be the last knife you ever buy. The former chef always loved knives, even as a kid. After tiring of the restaurant kitchen life, he worked as a butcher and became an expert knife sharpener. In 2011 he opened up Town Cutler, a shop selling and sharpening knives in San Francisco. Two years later, he sold his first handmade Town Cutler knife and says that there was a lot of trial and error to making that knife. Those trials paid off. Today, his collection of handmade knives are functional art pieces. I fell in love with the heavy feel and sleek look of the knives. These knives are a cut above.

To understand the quality of the steel and the quality of the wood handle, you just need to hold the knife. It is the difference between the feel of a custom-tailored piece of clothing and off-the-rack clothing. Equally beautiful are the soft leather knife rolls and scabbards (blade covers). This fall, he opened his second location in Chicago and sells his beautiful knives, scabbards and knife rolls through his website.

For the holiday, Town Cutler is putting together two kits, one For the Chef with an 8.5-inch chef knife, scabbard, palette knife for plate decoration and leather knife roll ($450). And one For the Butcher which includes a 6-inch Hankotsu knife (favored by butchers), scabbard, palette knife and leather knife roll for $450. Got to

Stocking Stuffers

Cast Iron care kit by Lodge

I love all things Lodge cast iron, but they can be a little tricky to clean. Now that all of their cast-iron pans come pre-seasoned, it makes cast-iron accessible to every cook, beginner to master chef. The properties of cast-iron make it a cinch for searing, crisping and baking. A good friend has a pan that is so well seasoned that he even cooks eggs in his cast-iron pan. But after every use, you have to wash your pots and pans, and that is when it becomes tricky with cast iron. You are not supposed to use harsh soap, metal scouring pads or the dishwasher because that will destroy the layer of seasoning that makes cast-iron cookware “non-stick.” So, Lodge has packaged a Seasoned Cast Iron CARE KIT for cast-iron cookware ($26). Inside the kit are use and care tips, a pan scraper, scrub brush, seasoning spray, and a silicone hot handle holder as a bonus. You can give this to your favorite cook as a stocking stuffer or add it to a Lodge cast-iron pan for an extra-special gift. I am partial to the 10-inch cast-iron chef skillet for $25.50 and the 10.5-inch square cast-iron skillet for $32. Go to

Meat thermometers by ThermoWorks

ThermoWorks has been in business for more than 20 years and is serious about its thermometers. They make a variety and my favorite is the Thermopen. It’s the barbecue and chef community’s choice of instant-read thermometer because it is fast, accurate and the foldable probe makes it easy to carry. All it takes to be a believer is opening the box and seeing the individual �rtificate of Calibration.” Every Thermopen comes with their own individual certificate that is filled out by hand, an extensive instruction booklet with real-time tips and a serial number to track your Thermopen. These added value features underscore that you’ve purchased a professional instrument, not just a gadget.


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