Side Dish

The House of Steuart
Harry Denton's has hired a new chef, and this one's a heavyweight: Matthew McLinn cooked for Schwarzenegger at Arnie's Schatzi on Main in Santa Monica and also wrastled the beef at Morton's in Hollywood. Now, Harry (Denton) has been going strong for at least decade on Steuart Street with his beautiful views and bountiful food, but maybe it's time for a little remodel. ... Harry (Coverte) knows a great feng shui consultant with very reasonable prices.

Down the street at the old Roti, some of the promised changes don't look so, uh, promising. Chef James Ormsby is off picking exotic herbs abroad while the corporate identity specialists are having a field day. I mean, I always thought a "red herring" was something out of a hard-boiled detective paperback, but now it's the name of this refurbished restaurant. Huh? My well-thumbed copy of Murder Ink describes a red herring as "a purposefully misleading clue meant to distract one from the real villain." Hmm ....

Chasing Czanne
If you thought the perfume counters at Macy's already emitted a heady stench of unsolicited sample spritzes -- well, wait 'til you get a noseful of all the flowers they've trucked in there. The theme of this year's 53rd annual show is "The Colors of Provence."

Provence ... hmm, that's in France. Which means one of two things: dead painters or good food. Now, I love the Impressionists as much (or less) as the next Joe, but I'm going downtown for the grub. Through April 10, chefs will be demoing their dishes in the Cellar. Local spatula wielders include Hubert Keller of Fleur de Lys and Roland Passot of La Folie.

Harry's Helpful Hints
Hats off to restaurants that have taken to setting complimentary bottles of water at dinner tables. A personal pitcher of Hetch Hetchy saves a whole lot of hassle from the server's point of view and prevents waste too: I'm tired of hearing neighboring diners whine for more water, only to watch the poor busser juggling their untouched water glasses back to the tub after the meal.

And no one asked me, but something else I could do without is this whole drawstring pant shanghai. Apologies to my friends at Gap and Old Navy, but what looked good on your Balinese vacation definitely doesn't wash once you've lost your tan and gained back those 10. And don't you dare wear them to dinner.

It's so hard to open a restaurant. All those grand, well-formed ideas change -- some for the better and some for the worse -- once you hire in a staff and unlock the doors. Many houses undergo a tremendous transformation in the first three to six months following their grand openings. Cases in point: Both Entros (on Brannan) and Moki's (on Cortland) have lost key staff in the past week. It's so hard to raise children in this day and age.

Post Script
Sol y Luna Inc. filed Chapter 7 on March 2. That's bankruptcy to you and me. Best to put that unpaid invoice in the circular file.

By Harry Coverte

Know something Harry doesn't? E-mail and sweep the dirt out from under the rug.

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