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Chef Johnny Vinczencz, chef/owner of Johnny V Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale is planning his return to Hotel Astor, South Beach, where he was discovered in the mid-1990s and earned the title of “Caribbean Cowboy.” Johnny V South Beach, currently being refurbished by award-wining designer Ady Artime of Southern Interiors (Sundy House – Delray Beach, El Monte Sagrado, Taos Mexico), is scheduled to open November 2006. “Fort Lauderdale has been very good to me,” says Vinczencz, who will continue to own and operate his restaurant there, “but I miss South Beach. My partners and I had been searching for the right Miami location for some time. When the chance arrived to own the restaurant where I made my name as a chef, I couldn’t pass it up.” At Johnny V South Beach the Nuevo American menu -- regional American fare with South Florida’s Latin and Afro-Caribbean accents -- will feature sections like El Mar, with dishes like seared local black grouper with three citrus dulce de leche; Key West shrimp and plantain mofongo with stone crab salad, and spicy spiny lobster with yellow tomato gazpacho. Tres Maneras will feature threesomes like “beef short rib” vaca frita, empanada and ensalada, and “Tomate” – tomato soup, salad and sorbet. Carnes de Primera, includes cuts of prime stockyard steak infused with Caribbean and Latin twists like chimichurri prime sirloin or Wagyu rib eye with mojo. Dessertsrange from sweet plantain cream pie to grilled papaya “pizza” with aged balsamic. The chef de cuisine will be Kelly Sheehan, recently with Ouest in New York; Pastry chef Malka Espinel will continue to create desserts at both locations and ,Dwayne Adams will oversee day-to-day operations at both Johnny V Las Olas and Johnny V South Beach. Johnny V South Beach, Hotel Astor will serve dinner nightly. 956 Washington Avenue on South Beach.


Blue Oyster Grill - a seafood restaurant located in the former Mark’s Place location on 123rd and Biscayne Blvd is slated to open in October. It is partners Alex Portela and Eloy Roy’s third restaurant after Oggi Caffe in North Bay Village – open since1989 - and Caffe Da Vinci in Bay Harbour - both Italian eateries. The chef at the 150-seat indoor and 50-seat outdoor restaurant is Minor G. Vargas, a San Jose, Costa Rica Culinary Arts graduate who previously worked at Joe Allen’s in South Beach and at Hotel Costa Verde, Puntarenas, Costa Rica. The menu will feature mainly seafood with dishes such as seaweed spaghettini served with Maine lobster chunks, fennel, Pernod liqueur and lobster sauce. (market price), but will offer a variety of meat and other fare. Blue Oyster Grill will be open for lunch : Monday - Friday from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm, and dinner seven nights a week 5:30 – 11:30 pm. 2286 NE 123 Street at Biscayne Blvd.,, North Miami

SouthWest NY Miami, a 8,600 sq. ft., indoor/outdoor restaurant originating in New York owned by Merchants Hospitality Inc. , and offering contemporary southwestern cuisine is slated to open its doors September - October 2006, at Dolphin Mall, 11401 NW 12 Street, Doral. The company plans to develop additional restaurants in South Florida and New York City within the next two years.
Drawing inspiration from colorful traditional Southwestern, Latin and Caribbean themes, the 170-seat indoor dining room with retail take-out reminiscent of a bustling marketplace is designed by Wid Chapman Architects. A 75-seat outdoor café area includes domino and chess tables, an outdoor bar and a fountain. Open since August 1999, SouthWest NY was among the first restaurants to re-open after the World Trade Center attacks and has remained one of the area’s most popular restaurants. “Miami, like New York City, is truly international, and given the success we have enjoyed in New York, it was a natural to expand here,” says co-owner Abraham Merchant, president of Merchants Hospitality Inc. Executive Chef is Wade Burch, who worked with Larry Forgione at Manhattan Prime in New York City and has been with Merchant since 2003, will oversee the restaurant’s kitchen staff and training program and will cede the baton to Executive Chef Michael Jamison, formerly with Marriott Corporation and currently at SouthWest NY. The menu: Spanish, Mexican and Native American influenced dishes. The drinks: icy cocktails with more than 50 types of frozen margaritas. SouthWest NY Miami, Dolphin Mall, 11401 NW 12 Street, Doral, Miami. (305) 640-0500

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