Side Dish

The west side of South Beach once again has proved nonlucrative: Jonathan Eismann's Westside Diner has closed. Eismann's product was the second attempt to make something of this spot, following Johnny V's Kitchen, run by Astor Place chef Johnny Vinczencz. "It was very disappointing, because it was a real labor of love. But the check average was so low, and there was a high-speed intersection there," Eismann explains, citing two reasons for the eatery's failure. So two celebrity chefs later, we're left with a vacancy. Eismann, meanwhile, has teamed up with the Bond Street restaurateurs to open two additional restaurants in Manhattan, one of which will be a Pacific Time, which, Eismann notes, "has been very good to me."

•Although it recently bragged about being in its tenth year of business, Darbar Indian restaurant in Coral Gables has disconnected its phone. And after twelve years, Oliver Saucy and Darrel Broek are rumored to be putting their renowned restaurant Café Maxx up for sale, along with their second eatery, East City Bistro in Delray Beach.

•To make way for Suva, the new restaurant co-owned by Marisa Tomei and China Grill Management, NOA was supposed to have gone DOA. But CGM figured fans of the pan-Asian noodle shop would be upset, so instead the company moved NOA into the space formerly occupied by Lou's Philly Cheesesteaks, which it also owned. Lou's was going to be transformed into Crave, a comfort-food restaurant, but those plans were scrapped. As for Lou's followers, there weren't many, it seems, but they've been accommodated, too: NOA's menu now offers Philly cheese steaks.

•Defeating potential construction delays and despite the lack of temperature control -- the place had no heat -- Tuscan Steak opened its doors in New York City on December 1. The restaurant marks a milestone for Miami, as this is the first time a concept from down here was brought north to the Big Apple rather than vice-versa. In other expansion news, Don Shula's steak house is adding significantly to its ten-restaurant empire. Two steak houses are scheduled to open in Washington, D.C., in February and March, and four more are in the works for Philadelphia, Chicago, Salt Lake City, and Key West. Given the Dolphins' current exemplary record, the timing might be perfect for Shula to take the advantage.

•It probably will be hard to score a reservation at Azul, the Mandarin Oriental restaurant that opened this past week on Brickell Key, but you can be assured that no one will be left out in the cold. The restaurant actually has a drawer filled with pashminas of every color so that women who feel chilled can not only cover up, they can match their outfits. If the devil is in the details, then she will be particularly fashionable at Azul. #108;


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