The private dining room at Jack Dusty in Sarasota embraces the coastal energy.
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Birth Announcements: April

Juliet Glass / April 2013

Sarasota, Florida
The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota shuttered Vernona, spent $3.1 million on a revamp of the space, and reopened it as Jack Dusty Coastal Cuisine and Crafted Cocktails. The 236 seater boasts floor-to-ceiling windows offering vistas of the bay and barrier islands. Reclaimed oak wood floors and tan-and aqua-hued fabrics and carpet reinforce the coastal vibe. The property’s executive chef, Dwayne Edwards, masterminded the briny menu, implemented by chef de cuisine Jeff “Gator” Thomas. Apps ($10 to $20): crab and fried green tomatoes; oysters with collard greens, andouille, and hollandaise. Mains ($15 to $30): whole hog snapper with grilled vegetables, coconut, and curry broth; blackened grouper étouffée with red beans, rice, and braised greens. Desserts ($8 to $10): seasonal fruit shortcake with whipped cream; sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream.

Boston
Chef/owner Michael Schlow (Radius, Via Matta, Alta Strada, and Tico) takes on Mexican cuisine with the debut of Barrio Cantina at 1363 Boylston Street. The 169 seat space opened with a lush, colorful interior of honey-hued and gold-flecked walls, vintage Mexican film posters, and lush crimson velvet curtains. Schlow collaborated with his corporate chef, Luis Morales, to create a robust menu of Mexican fare in all its permutations (traditional, Tex-Mex, and Californian). Apps ($7 to $11): shrimp and sweet potato tamales with pineapple salsa; tuna seviche tostados with cucumbers and avocado. Mains ($7 to $20): adobo-grilled pork fajitas with red rice, boracho (drunken) beans, and garden vegetables; braised short ribs with spicy chiles and tomato.

New York City
Chef Wylie Dufresne of WD-50 opened his second place in March, Alder, a traditional tavern passed through an experimental filter, at 157 Second Avenue. The 56 seater is inspired by Dufresne’s childhood Cape Cod vacations, and incorporates a green color scheme and weathered wood fencing salvaged from co-owner Stephen S. Daniel’s Cape Cod farm. Former WD-50 chef de cuisine Jon Bignelli is now Alder executive chef and a driving force behind the nothing-over-$25 menu. Apps ($9 to $20): foie gras terrine with poached apple, chartreuse yogurt, and English muffin; kumquats stuffed with black sesame, parsnips, and merguez sausage. Mains ($18 to $25): rye pasta with shaved pastrami; smoked arctic char with ber­bere lentils and napa cabbage. Desserts ($8): vanilla ice cream with arare crisp (Japanese cracker) and red pepper oil.

Restaurateur Yann de Roche­fort, owner of Boqueria (two locations in New York City and one in Washington, D.C.) partnered with chef Dani García of the Michelin-starred Calima (Marbella, Spain) to open Manzanilla Spanish Brasserie at 345 Park Avenue South. García and chef de cuisine Santiago Guerrero (formerly of Calima) dialed back the multicourse tasting menu served at Calima into a more traditional three course menu calibrated for New York City diners. With a navy and white tiled floor, latticework screens, and a wood-clad ceiling, the 150 seat bi-level restaurant takes its design cues from Andalusia, Spain. Apps ($8 to $14): squid ink and cuttlefish croquettes with coriander/citrus aïoli; slow-poached egg with glazed artichokes and Ibérico pork lard. Mains ($24 to $36): monkfish a la plancha with stewed white beans and mussels; slow-cooked suckling pig with crispy skin and squash/orange puree. Desserts ($10): Spanish vanilla rice pudding with raspberry cotton candy and crunchy caramel; bittersweet chocolate cake with toffee/Bourbon ice cream.

Richie Notar, along with partners Jim Pallotta, Jon Krasner, and Michael Barrett, opened Harlow, a global seafood parlor, at 111 East 56th Street. A leafy indoor garden area with deco wrap-around chairs seats 80. The main dining room, with stained glass windows, dramatic chandeliers, and a marble oyster bar, seats 120. Notar Hospitality corporate chef Danny Ye is a Nobu veteran, most recently as executive chef of Nobu at the Capri in Southampton, New York. Apps ($10 to $31): braised baby octopus salad with jalapeño vinaigrette; seafood pie of clams, mussels, lobster, cod, pearl onions, snap peas, marble potatoes, and carrots with puff pastry crust. Mains ($28 to $38): turbot a la plancha with Manila clams and salsa verde; Australian Wagyu strip loin with chimichurri sauce. Desserts ($9 to $11): Pimm’s frozen cocktail with watermelon granité, sweet cucumber, and ginger/lime foam; caramelized bananas Zapin with semisweet chocolate, caramelized chocolate peanuts, and peanut butter gelato.

Philadelphia
Fitler Dining Room brought American cuisine with a French accent to its namesake neighborhood at 2201 Spruce Stree. The cozy 32 seat space uses repurposed materials to evoke the 1920s and ’30s. Old billiard balls are reborn as beer pulls, and marble salvaged from Philly’s Liberty Mall courtyard gets a second act as a countertop. Executive chef Robert Marzinsky decamped from Stateside. Apps ($8 to $14): Jerusalem artichoke soup with chestnut, lobster, and carrot; beef tartare with walnuts, piave vecchio cheese, sunchoke chips, and chanterelle mushroom conserva. Mains ($18 to $26): truffle/leek-stuffed skate wing with glazed potatoes, pearl onions, and vermouth nage; bone-in short rib with cipollini, carrots, mushrooms, fondant potatoes, and spiced jus.

Bentonville, Arkansas
Louisville, Kentucky–based 21c Museum Hotels unveiled 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville and its signature dining spot The Hive, an homage to the flavors of the High South. Executive chef is Matthew McClure, a native of Little Rock, who worked at many of Boston’s finest restaurants (No. 9 Park, Troquet, and Harvest) before returning to Little Rock to cook at Ashley’s. The New York City–based Deborah Berke Partners (the same firm that designed the company’s Proof on Main in Louisville) created a convivial modern look for the 125 seater. Apps ($6 to $12): pimento cheese with bacon jam and toasted white bread; cauliflower soup with raisin butter, toasted brioche, and mint. Mains ($13 to $26): rabbit and dumplings with roasted mushrooms, almonds, and lemon; ham-brined pork chop with sweet potato puree, braised greens, and pecan relish.