You've inquired about it. You've begged for it. You've demanded it. And now you've got it: our first-ever Ethiopian restaurant. A Taste of Ethiopia has opened at 1072 NE 167th St., in North Miami Beach, a culinary mecca that has become the most ethnically diverse in the area. Co-proprietors Celia Witter and Tewodros Girma, who is Ethiopian, are now serving mostly vegetarian cuisine, but they'll be adding beef and chicken dishes soon.
•It may be time to close the book of complaints on Bambú, but not without the final word, which comes from proprietor Karim Masri himself. Ever the gentleman, Masri called to soothe lingering indignations (hey, isn't that the publicist's job?). "Point well taken," he admits. "When I piss my friends off, I call up to apologize. I don't want to just brush this off and have animosities with you or anyone else." As far as his intentions with Bambú go, "I want to be fair and democratic. I've never been pretentious at Astor Place, which is entering its fifth season. I will not have ropes at the door at Bambú. Rob Boone is a genius of a chef. All we want is a chance." Make that second chance, but nothing says forgive me like squab dumplings.
•Rumor Mill: Pastry chef Kevin Kopsick has left The Strand, but no one's admitting whether the departure was voluntary. Like many culinary gadabouts, Kopsick has stinted at some of the best restaurants in town: Norman's, The Heights, and Baleen. His talent with lemon-infused desserts is undisputed, but his tenure never seems to last as long as his hair, which he wears in a ponytail. Meanwhile executive chef Michelle Bernstein has taken over pastry duties -- could be she's feeling particularly sweet herself, given the diamond-and-sapphire ring she's sporting.
•So you thought it was settled. Well, Charles Thompson did too. He's the African-American diner who was told that "black people don't tip well" in the now-infamous Thai Toni incident. Thompson even accepted an apology from the South Beach restaurant's owner, Toni Takarada, when they both appeared on Leeza, and the two agreed to settle the case with a professional mediator. But Takarada has since canceled or skipped the first two settlement meetings. And it looks as though Takarada is avoiding commitment to a third possible date in late March. As it stands now, Thompson isn't optimistic. "I thought he [Takarada] was sincere," Thompson says, "but I don't trust him at this point. He spoke out to the public, saying he was sorry and he's not sorry. He broke the law, and he still has to pay for what he did. Not in dollar form -- I don't want money to cloud the issue -- but in our court system, the only way to get attention is the monetary thing." So Thompson has filed papers in civil court, charges to which Takarada might have to plead no contest since he's already admitted his guilt to a national TV audience. Incidentally, while I was talking to him on his cell phone, Thompson was walking past World Resources, Takarada's newest eatery on Lincoln Road. He spotted Takarada sitting at a café table, so I immediately hung up with Thompson and phoned World Resources for a comment. Not surprisingly I was placed on hold, then informed that Takarada wasn't in after all. Frankly I'm not sure he's ever been -- at least when it comes to matters of the civilly correct.
Send your tasty tidbits to Jen Karetnick at 2800 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33137. Or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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