Ian charts S'more comings and goings on the local restaurant landscape

Gut Check

The June 2008 issue of Food & Wine magazine features a recipe from Mathew Rice, pastry chef at Niche and its bakeshop, Veruca. Rice's semifreddo s'mores — toasted-marshmallow semifreddo with salted chocolate sauce and graham crackers — are this issue's "Last Bite." A full-size photograph of the dessert graces the final page of the magazine. This, of course, is the first of two honors Food & Wine is bestowing on the Niche family. Next month's issue will honor chef Gerard Craft as one of its "Best New Chefs."

ALISTAIR NESBIT AND Brendan Noonan, the duo behind the Scottish Arms, have opened the Shaved Duck at 2900 Virginia Avenue (the former location of Pestalozzi Place). As you might expect, the Shaved Duck — which has to be considered the prohibitive favorite for "Best Restaurant Name" 2008 — features lots of duck on its menu. The beer list is quite impressive. The restaurant is open for dinner 5-10 p.m. Tue.-Sat. Call 314-776-1407 for reservations or more information.

Fumanchu, the latest effort from local restaurant magnate Mike Johnson, is now open at 7336 Manchester Road in Maplewood (the former location of the Grateful Inn). Named for the classic — and controversial — fictional character Dr. Fu Manchu, Fumanchu offers pan-Asian cuisine. The restaurant is open for lunch Mon.-Fri. and for dinner nightly. Call 314-647-3323 for more information.

NEWS FROM THE LOFT DISTRICT: Beso Mexican Grill & Cantina has taken over the space formerly occupied by the short-lived Red (1130 Washington Avenue). The new restaurant is open for lunch Mon.-Sat. and for dinner daily. Call 314-588-7864 for more information. Next door to Beso, Copia Urban Winery remains closed after an arson fire gutted the restaurant and wine bar at the very end of last year. However, a new sign posted outside Copia announces it will reopen this fall.

Are you opening a new restaurant? Know of a place that has closed? Something else for me to chew on? Drop me line at [email protected]. And be sure to check this column's virtual doppelganger for daily updates at http://blogs/riverfronttimes.com/gutcheck.
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