Cuba de Cuba is closed

Written by Scott Joseph on .

This probably won’t come as much of a surprise, especially to anyone who ate there, but Cuba de Cuba, the downtown bistro, has closed. In my review, I mentioned that I liked some of the aspects of the physical space, and that it was actually more of a restaurant than I thought it would be, but the service and the food were lacking.

Several of my sources told me that Cuba de Cuba’s owner had been trying to sell the business almost from the time it opened. Apparently a buyer was found. The windows are covered with black plastic sheeting, so look for something else to open there soon.


New Restaurant Coming From Luma's McGlamery

Written by Scott Joseph on .

EXCLUSIVE -- Brandon McGlamery, the chef at Luma on Park who did so much to make that restaurant one of the top dining venues in town, is planning another restaurant near to that Park Avenue location.

The new restaurant will feature “wood-fired, Italian inspired” cuisine with almost everything cooked in two brick wood-burning ovens. The ovens are being hand-crafted in Naples, Italy, by an artisan oven maker. McGlamery says he and the new restaurant’s chef de cuisine, Matthew Cargo, are planning a trip to Italy soon and will visit the new ovens.

The restaurant, as yet unnamed, will occupy the former Ann Taylor women’s wear retail space. McGlamery and his partners, which include Brian France, the Nascar executive who is also a partner in Luma, are aiming for a fall opening.

McGlamery says the restaurant will be “more accessible” with a lower price point but with the same sort of creativity found at Luma. There will be no cross-over of dishes between the two restaurants, although they may share local ingredient sourcing.

Cargo has been working with McGlamery for four years and has represented Luma at various events. I’ve been impressed with some of the dishes he’s created.

Watch for more details as they develop.


White Wolf Cafe Will Present an Evening of Molecular Gastronomy

Written by Scott Joseph on .

The menu for a special dinner being presented by White Wolf Cafe Friday evening might need a little explaining. Some of the ingredients listed include air, clouds, dust and dirt. Truffled dirt, to be exact.

They’re some of the ingredients that chef Jason Schofield has planned for an evening of molecular gastronomy and sous vide cooking to be presented Friday, May 27, 2011, in the White Wolf’s Harrison Graham dining space.

What is molecular gastronomy? At its simplest it is the incorporation of chemistry and physics into the preparation of food. That’s certainly nothing new; those principles have been applied for eons -- just consider the transformation of egg yolks and oil into a semi-solid mayonnaise, for example.

But newer techniques go way beyond simple emulsification. Chefs might incorporate liquid nitrogen, dehydrators or even carbon dioxide to create new forms of familiar flavors.

Pizzeria to Occupy Former Hot Olives Space

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Old_Hot_OlivesArmando Martorelli, owner of the very good Trattoria Toscana on Park Avenue, is taking over the old Hot Olives space in Winter Park’s West End. The new restaurant will be called, curiously enough, Armando’s, and will be primarily a pizzeria with other foods, such as pastas and antipastos.

Martorelli told me that he has installed an authentic Neopolitan brick pizza oven that is combination gas and wood-burning. The restaurant will also feature a large antipasto table in the center of the room filled with cheeses and meats and fish dishes, the items found in typical Italian trattorias.

One of the building’s distinguishing characteristics -- its openness and feeling of al fresco dining even though under the roof -- will be changed and the restaurant will be more enclosed. There will be, however, according to Martorelli, an indoor and outdoor bar (it’s visible now to those driving down New England Avenue, he says.)

The existing site also had a notoriously small kitchen that hampered previous tenants. Martorelli says he is converting the current kitchen to basic dishwashing and storage duties and will expand the new kitchen in about the only way possible -- by moving it outdoors.

Armando’s is aiming for a September opening. Martorelli says he plans to keep Trattoria Toscana open, at least for a while.