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Restaurant Openings & Buzz

Week of Oct. 14, 2005: Beet, Blossom, Aquaterra, 24 Prince, Cube 63 Brooklyn, Bobby Van's Steakhouse & Grill.

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Openings
Beet
Park Slope’s Thai-restaurant contingent grows with the opening of Beet, chef-owner Pasu Rodsomarng’s sequel to his nearby Mango Thai. The menu features all the usual mix-and-match curry suspects, satays, and salads, plus a smattering of French-Thai fusion fare like cognac-ginger beef and red-snapper fillet with champagne-vanilla butter sauce. There are gratis beet chips to start and a trio of custards to finish (Thai tea, green tea, and pumpkin). The sleek beet-themed design is the work of prolific architect Thida Thongthai Chan, who’s made stylish Thai canteens (Land Thai Kitchen, Ma*Ya Hurapan Kitchen, Galanga) her specialty.
344 Seventh Ave., nr. 9th St., Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-832-2338


Blossom's chocolate-ganache terrine.  

Blossom
It’s a familiar tale: Despairing of finding a vegan restaurant to satisfy their culinary and aesthetic requirements, erstwhile actors Ronen Seri and his wife, Pamela, decided to open their own. Juice bar–café by day, candlelit restaurant by night, Blossom (opening this weekend) is equipped with a fireplace, a private dining room upstairs, and organic wines and beer (liquor license pending). The meatless menu spans the globe with dishes like pumpkin gnocchi with wild mushrooms, South Asian lumpia with curried seitan, and a southern-fried-tofu-and-tempeh-bacon BLT.
187 Ninth Ave., nr. 21st St.; 212-627-1144


Aquaterra chef-owner Tony Acinapura and his Sunday sauce.   

Aquaterra
There seems to be life post-Rocco’s for the overexposed cast of The Restaurant. Manager Laurent opened iCi in Fort Greene. Rocco DiSpirito himself holds forth on WOR’s “Food Talk.” And chef Tony Acinapura—the guy depicted as slaving over the red sauce while DiSpirito worked the room—has opened an Italian-American place of his own. Aquaterra (roughly, “surf and turf” in Italian) traffics in such retro-traditional fare as lemon chicken and rigatoni with Sunday gravy, with a few newfangled twists on the formula. The house salad, for instance, combines grilled pizza with prosciutto, escarole, Gorgonzola dolce, and walnuts. Bruschetti topped with oil-cured tuna or roasted squash populate the bar menu; panini with fillings like sweet soppressata, hot peppers, and provolone are served at lunch; and Nutella, toasted hazelnuts, and a shot of espresso soup up an ice-cream sundae.
209 E. 56th St., nr. Third Ave.; 212-644-4447

And . . . The owners of 24 Prince, opening this week, think they’ve nailed just what Nolita’s been missing: a loungy restaurant with homey décor and a comfort-food menu of meat loaf and mashed potatoes, fried chicken, and macaroni and cheese (24 Prince St., nr. Mott St.; 212-226-8624).

Cube 63 Brooklyn is a Cobble Hill outpost of the Clinton Street flagship and features a similar menu of sushi, sashimi, noodles, and “tea special” combination lunches (234 Court St., nr. Baltic St.; 718-243-2208).

The burgeoning Bobby Van’s chainlet has established a Wall Street presence with its new Bobby Van’s Steakhouse & Grill
, a duplex restaurant in the old Vine space. Meats are dry-aged in-house and served upstairs in the steakhouse proper and downstairs, along with burgers and lobster rolls, in the more casual grill, a onetime bank vault with the original safety-deposit boxes intact (25 Broad St., at Exchange Pl.; 212-344-8463).


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