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Week of October 7, 2002

After cooking everywhere from the Noho Star to East Hampton's Star Room, Chelsea's Half King to Brooklyn's Red Rail, Marc Elliot has finally opened the place he'd been planning for twenty years. Oddly, he's called it Whim, although its long gestation suggests anything but. The Cobble Hill restaurant and raw bar is a casual, quirky neighborhood joint (he's using a makeshift stainless-steel glass rack outfitted with a shower curtain until the real oyster bar gets built), where Elliot cooks, shucks, and waits tables. Whim also refers to the loosely organized, mostly seafood menu, which changes often and encourages free-form ordering, be it a plate of fragrant cream-colored Belons ($2 apiece), deliciously briny and remarkably fresh, or a full three-course meal. Roasted-tomato soup ($5) is tangy and flavorful but raises that age-old tomato-soup conundrum — is it soup or sauce? Deep-fried mako "shark bites" suffer from a doughy batter that renders the fish indistinct. But Korean-style "lettuce wrappers" of minced chicken and scallops in luscious oyster-soy-garlic sauce ($7) are terrific, and a Thai-inflected green-curry wild salmon ($14) is moist, flavorful, and well-accessorized with soba and bok choy. And lemon-poppy-seed-banana-bread pudding made from the morning's muffins was so tasty we vowed to return for breakfast. — ROB PATRONITE
243 DeGraw Street
Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

· Cuisine: American, Seafood

Greg Kan never intended to become a restaurateur. He had a silk-making company to run, after all. But the disparity between New York Chinese food and the meals he'd enjoyed at his grandmother's table in Shanghai finally drove him to open Lozoo, a strikingly modern outpost of what he calls "traditional Chinese haute cuisine." To compensate for his lack of restaurant experience, he teamed up with Li Ping, formerly of Kelley & Ping, Kin Khao, and Obeca Li, and brought her to Grandma's for dinner. Out of that momentous meal evolved Lozoo's moderately priced menu — Maryland crab in whipped egg-white cloud garnished with cured duck eggs, barbecued sirloin with shredded sesame tofu, confit of sweet-and-spicy crispy eel. And the streamlined design, with a frosted-glass-and-stucco façade and two-tone walls (dark brown below a stainless-steel band, white above), is as much a departure from the uptown, upscale competition as it is from the humdrum strip of storefronts.
140 West Houston Street

· Cuisine: Chinese

Didier Virot gave up the prestige of an executive-chef post at Jean Georges to open the ill-fated Virot at the Dylan Hotel, which has since morphed into the tourist attraction called Nyla. But the hotel's loss is the Upper West Side's gain. On October 10, Virot (pictured) will follow in the pioneering Noza (north of Zabar's) footsteps of Tom Valenti, opening Aix four blocks north of Valenti's Ouest. There he'll gauge the neighborhood's appetite for blue-mussel cannelloni in spicy wine broth, crispy broiled squab with oatmeal-porcini cakes, and entrée prices ranging from $21 to $32.
2398 Broadway, at 88th Street
· Cuisine: French


Openings Archive

Week of September 30
Moto, Soy Luck Club, Petrosino
Week of September 23

Sciuscia, Podunk, Kloe Restaurant, Smoochies Lite & Creamy, Royal Jerk Grille, Village Shawarma
Week of September 16
O Mai, Dos Caminos, Link, Cafe del Bar, Kishti, Miss Saigon and Tacu Tacu

and more ...

Photos: Carina Salvi, Kenneth Chen, Patrik Rytikangas

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