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The sleek looking Town Kitchen & Bar has just opened in South Miami in the new Plaza 57 building. Manager John Janette and Chef Stefano LaCava, both formerly of Tutti’s Trattoria in Coral Gables and Weston, have partnered with Brandon Lurie to open the 140-indoor/outdoor eatery with a full bar and a menu ranging from sandwiches and small appetizers to entrees, grilled steaks and desserts. Town Kitchen & Bar is open for dinner only Monday through Saturday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. and will open for lunch towards the end of August. 7310 SW 57 Ct., South Miami. 305-740-8118

Chef Jeffrey Brana, former Executive Chef of Norman’s Restaurant and wife Anna E. Pedron Brana, formerly Norman Van Aken’s personal assistant and marketing manager are opening Brana, their first restaurant, this summer in downtown Coral Gables, where Crêpes & Co. and before that Giramondo used to be. Diners will be able to choose a three or five course menu, as well as an à la carte menu. “When it comes to flavors, I believe in elegance through simplicity, with a focus on sustainability, local ingredients and a cuisine that is ultimately personal in style,” according to Mr. Brana who worked at Norman’s for five years, during which the restaurant was nominated to the James Beard FoundationBest Restaurant in America” award in 2005.
The 50-seat indoor restaurant will be open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30am-2:00pm., and dinner, Tuesday through Thursday from 5:30pm-10:00pm and until 11:00pm on weekends. Restaurant Brana, 276 Alhambra Circle, Coral Gables. 305-444-4595.

Tim Keating is the new Executive Chef at The Biltmore hotel, replacing Geoffrey Cousineau. Mr. Keating brings to the Biltmore a vast experience: eight years as Executive Chef at the Four Seasons Hotel in Houston where he was responsible for the creation of the award-winning restaurant Quattro; four years as Executive Chef at the Omni Houston Hotel, prior to which he was Executive Sous Chef at the Essex House in New York, under the famed Christian Delouvrier – who is soon to open La Goulue Christian Delouvrier in Bal Harbour, Miami. “Tim Keating is an innovative leader among culinary masters, he will oversee the hotel’s restaurants and catering operations as well as collaborate with The Palme d’Or Chef Philippe Ruiz in creating new menus and food concepts throughout the resort,” said Dennis Doucette, the Biltmore’s general manager.
Mr. Keating, whose fans include super chef Emeril Lagasse and feu Julia Child, President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, British Prime Minister John Major, Luther Vandross, Dennis Quaid, The Bangles, The Dixie Chicks, Richard Simmons, Billy Joel, Martha Stewart and many sports stars, has received numerous awards of excellence for his restaurants including the 2005 AAA Five Diamond Award and the Condé Nast Traveler Gold List; Gourmet magazine’ Reader’s Choice award for three consecutive years and Zagat Restaurant Survey's Top Food and Top French Cuisine, is a National Executive Committee board member of Chefs Collaborative, a nationwide group of chefs who support local farmers and fishermen and who inspire their customers to choose good, clean, nutritious and sustainable foods. “We look forward to Tim’s playing an invaluable role in further honing the Biltmore’s reputation for excellence as a world-class dining destination,” concluded Mr. Doucette. The Biltmore, 1200 Anastasia Avenue, Coral Gables; 305-445-1926, .


This is the first time chef Rolando-Roly Cruz-Taura is owns his restaurant. The FIU graduate began his career at the InterContinental Miami’s Pavillion before joining the Mayfair House Hotel where he ended up being the Executive Chef. He honed his skills as Chef Mark Militello’s sous chef at Mark’s in the Grove and as Executive Chef at Shula’s on the Beach. A stint in Dublin, Ireland landed him the job of corporate chef of CamFam – a seafood restaurant chain – before becoming the Miami City Club’s Executive chef and Director of F&B; operations.
At Fifty Mr. Cruz-Taura teams with old friends: GM Dan McCulley formerly of Joe’s Stone Crab, beverage manager Jeffrey Nielsen, sous chefs Nestor Gomez and Agustin Toriz who worked with Chef Roli at the Mayfair, and former Cordon Bleu pastry chef instructor Carolina Romero. The centerpiece of the charming indoor/outdoor 110-seat restaurant with 75 seats in the lounge designed by architect Mark Diaz is an open hearth where breads and pizzas ($15 - $17) are baked. Chef Roli’s “Progressive American Cuisine” is the essence of the melting pot of cultures and cuisines that define America today.
On the tables small bowls of natural salts and freshly baked foccacia are a welcoming touch to a wonderful menu of appetizers such as a fresh-tasting Minnesota wild rice tabbouleh ($7), jumbo lump crab wrapped in green plantain ($12) and Kobe beef tartare with apple, celery, cipollini and roasted jalapeño in tomato water ($18). Homemade pastas ($15 - $21)include goat cheese chocchi with forest mushrooms, broccoli and roasted tomatoes; black pepper fettucine with whild shrimp, andouille sausage, ramps and green beans, and cavatelli with duck confit. The Steak, Chops and Poultry ($19 - $39) section indicates the provenance of each cut: from Roasted Jurgielewicz Farms Long Island duck and Tanglewood Farms chicken breast to Harris Farms Angus filet mignon from Kansa and Kurobuta pork osso bucco with crispy crackling and late-harvest Riesling jus. Likewise the seafood ($24 - $28): MainAe lobster cioppino; seasame seared Ahi tuna and crispy skin Alaskan salmon with leek and tomato stew. Side dishes alone such as the spinach flan with a rain-walnut vegetable glaze, and the Jasmine rice and stir-fried vegetables ($5), and certainly Ms. Romero’s amazing desserts ($8-$10) are a good reason to head to South Beach. Fifty is open seven days for lunch: Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., for in-between menu from 3 to 6 p.m., and dinner Sunday through Thursday from 6 to 11 p.m. and till 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturdays. Sunday brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fifty, 444 Ocean Drive, South Beach. 305-532-2441.

Cuban-born Luis Pous – a graduate of the National School of Culinary Arts in Cuba --has been named executive chef at Little Palm Island Resort & Spa in the lower Florida Keys. Pous’ experience includes the Mandarin Oriental Miami, Turnberry Isle in Aventura, Florida, and Hotel Plaza Athenee in New York City. Most recently, he served as sous chef at the MGM Grand Beau Rivage Resort in Mississippi. Chef Pous’ French and Pan-Latin cuisine will list dishes such as yellow tail snapper ceviche with passion fruit and coconut gelee; roasted pork tenderloin with roasted corn, black bean, sweet plantain and bacon hash served with mango mojo; and coconut flan with mamey ice-cream. The luxury resort, an intimate and romantic tropical hideaway rated by Condé Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure and other publications as one of the top resorts in the United States, has been approved to rejoin Relais & Chateaux in late 2006 and the restaurant, The Dining Room, was recently ranked No. 3 out of 100 in a recent Zagat survey. Located three miles off-shore in the Lower Florida Keys, Little Palm Island is only accessible by boat or seaplane. For more information or for reservations: (305) 872-2524, (800) 3-GET-LOST, or visit the hotel online at

Jens Grafe, former president of Trift Corporation, a condo-hotel consulting company, has been named Vice President and General Manager of Trump International Sonesta Beach Resort. “Our goal is to get a Mobil four-star for the resort and the restaurant,”said Mr. Grafe who now oversees all operations at the 32-story, 390-room oceanfront luxury resort in Sunny Isles Beach, Miami with two restaurants; two lounges; retail shops; a 22,000 sq. ft Business Center with an oceanfront ballroom.
From 1994 – 2003 Mr. Grafe was general manager at the Turnberry Isle Resort in Miami and prior to that he was president of Rafael Hotels in New York. Trump International Sonesta Beach Resort,18001 Collins Avenue, Sunny Isles Beach. 305-692-5600.

The popular New York eatery La Goulue in partnership with restaurateurs Jean Denoyer, Rick Wahlstedt, and Regis Marinier (Brasserie Ruhlmann, La Goulue and Orsay in NYC l’escale in Greenwich, CT; Le Colonial in New York City and San Francisco; Le Passage in Chicago and l’Escale in Greenwich, CT, Bistro Moderne in Houston) and chef Christian Delouvrier, who recently oversaw the kitchen at Alain Ducasse at the Essex House in New York, is slated to open mid-July. The 220-seat indoor/outdoor French bistro in Bal Harbour, designed by partner Jean Denoyer and with Alain Ricci – formerly of The Biltmore Hotel, Azul Mandarin Oriental Miami and the Diplomat Hotel Hollywood – as manager, is the first La Goulue Christian Delouvrier in Florida. The team plans to open a dozen La Goulue Christian Delouvrier properties nationwide, beginning with the Bal Harbour location in July 2006, and a second La Goulue Christian Delouvrier scheduled to open in the Boca Raton Resort and Club in Boca Raton, Florida in fall 2006.
Chef Christian Delouvrier’s menu (Appetizers: $9-19, Entrees: $16-35, Desserts: $3-12) focuses on light cuisine with seafood and fresh produce with appetizers like Saint Jacques & Rémoulade, jumbo sea scallops, Caesar salad, celery and hearts of romaine, and Calamars à la Plancha. Light salads include Frisée & Canard (duck: confit, prosciutto and smoked) as well as crisp frisée; and for entrees Poulet Rôti à la Broche & Farfalle (rotisserie-roasted organic chicken and bow tie pasta) and Thon Mi-Cuit aux Epices Douces (tuna, sweet spices, arugula and Asian greens). For dessert: Chocolate Soufflé & Pistachio Anglaise and Tarte Fine aux Pommes (thin apple tart). La Goulue will feature 100 French and American wines by the bottle, 20 of which are available by the glass. La Goulue Christian Delouvrier will be Open for lunch and dinner Monday – Sunday, 12.00 PM – 10.00 PM. Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., Ste. 135, Bal Harbour. 305-865-2181

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