Don Johnson's elegant ode to modern Vietnamese cuisine is actually going to see the light of day. Test dinners are happening at Ana Mandara even as we speak: Lucky guinea pigs and groundhogs are munching down on chef Khai Duong's delicious food in preparation for a big celebrity-studded opening.
The Angelenos are coming! The Angelenos are coming! Chaya San Francisco opens today on the Embarcadero. This is the third in a growing family of Franco-Japanese restaurants, and I can't wait: Having visited Chayas Venice and L.A., Harry hands-down (and thumbs-up) approves of owner Yuji Tsunoda's tasteful treats. Chef Shigesumi Tachibe will bring his East-West flavors to the 170-seater, which includes a chef's table in the kitchen. If that seat's a little hot for you, you can hog a stool at the 21-foot zinc bar and hunker down for a few more weeks of winter.
Smoke 'Em If Ya Got 'Em
Yountville's Live Fire is blowing into town. Fred Halpert will send up smoke signals at his new location in the old Pickled Ginger space. The successful concept focuses on smoked, grilled, and otherwise perfectly abused and violently tender meats. Due to popular demand, the menu will not feature wood-roasted groundhog.
Out of the Hole
Well bite my tongue and see my own shadow! No sooner do I list the dark, vacant, and forgotten restaurant real estate in town, than change-of-ownership papers get posted -- notably at Alta Plaza, Evita Cafe, and Gramercy Grill. Watch this space for more on those spaces.
Know something Harry doesn't? E-mail Coverte@aol.com and sweep the dirt out from under the rug.