Sunday, April 20, 2008

Mole master on next mission

Got a message in the mailbag over the weekend that Geno Bahena—the "king of mole"—is planning to open yet another haute cuisine Mexican eatery in Lincoln Park at Halsted and Webster.

I'm still trying to track down the name, but if it's any indication of his previous projects like Tepatulco Restaurante (2558 N. Halsted St., 773-472-7419) in Lincoln Park as well as the now shuttered Ixcapuzalco, Chilpancingo and Mi Sueno Su Realidad, it's gonna be a tongue twister.

Stay tuned . . .

New look, menu unveiled by 312 Chicago

Dean Zanella, executive chef of 312 Chicago, returns with a new menu and look for the restaurant on Wednesday. (Photo: 312 Chicago)

312 Chicago (136 N. LaSalle St., 312-696-2420), which closed for a week for a complete overhaul, reopens Wednesday. The changes are part of a major renovation of Hotel Allegro, and includes a new menu from Executive Chef Dean Zanella.

Highlights of the new contemporary Italian menu include grilled boar sausage with dandelion, white bean and radish salad as a starter, as well as a lobster panini and a grilled filet of beef on Sicilian potato cake, with gorgonzola and barolo wine sauce.

Bob Puccini Design is behind 312 Chicago's new look, which includes a wine wall that becomes a focal point of the space, while the upstairs library has been transformed into a private wine-tasting room cleverly encased in wine displays. The newly refreshed bar is updated with charcoal-granite countertops, a black back bar with alabaster inlays and a focus on displaying wine through a new cruvinet system.

How did we overlook her?!

While all the Chicago foodies and dining writers are going absolutely rabid over Stephanie Izard's performance on Bravo's "Top Chef," there's another local culinary cutie competing on a similar show.

Twenty-four-year-old Jennifer Gavin, who's in the running to become executive chef of Gordon Ramsey's new LA restaurant on his "Hell's Kitchen" reality series on FOX, is originally from Chicago and a line cook for a five-star country club.

She's a little buck wild and may not have as much experience as Stephanie or some of the chefs she's competing against on "Hell's Kitchen," but let's show her some love too, ok?!

"Hell's Kitchen 4" airs on FOX every Tuesday at 8pm CST. Miss an episode? See them all here.