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February 24, 2012 
 
 
Cooking for the Stars

Who let the dogs out? Find out when cutting-edge fashion and chic VIPs meet adorable animals! Fashion for Paws, benefiting Washington Humane Society, is coming April 14. More info.

 
Art & Soul celebrity chef Art Smith opened three new restaurants in the past six months, including one run by Lady Gaga's parents. We sat down with Oprah's former chef between his travels to New York, California, and beyond to talk about new ventures, famous friends, and a second DC restaurant.
 
Chef Art Smith
Art confesses he's only spent two days at home in Chicago since December. It's been a busy year in general with the fall openings of a healthy fast casual spot in Palo Alto called LYFE (Love Your Food Everday) Kitchen and an upscale Southern restaurant in Atlanta called Southern Art. Just weeks ago, Art helped helm the debut of Joanne Trattoria in New York, an Italian restaurant owned by Lady Gaga's parents. Art explains that he was on Oprah's show in early 2010 for a segment on his weight loss when he learned that the pop star was going to be there the next day. (He tells us he lost 85 pounds listening and dancing to her hit Bad Romance.) "I said, 'Well, I have to cook for her." And he did—fried chicken and waffles. "She ran out of the dressing room: 'Chef Art, I love you!'" She later connected him with her parents, and the rest is history.
 
Hudson Fall MDINE
Chef Art Smith
So, what's next? The Florida-born chef says he'd love to open up places in Tallahassee and Miami. He's also thinking about opening a second spot in DC, though nothing is official yet. Last year, he even looked at spaces in Georgetown and tells us "I love a university setting." If he does open another DC spot, it would not be a clone of Art & Soul or any of his other concepts. Instead, he's thinking about a quick serve or casual spot. "There's something to be said about opening in a community that already knows you." In fact, Art has had connections to DC long before Art & Soul opened four years ago. He started in career as personal chef for former Senator Bob Graham (Florida governor at the time) and has cooked for many more Washington politicians including President Obama and the First Family. On top of that, his dad was a congressional page. "Washington really is my base," Art says. "I love it here."
 
Fashion4Paws 2012 MDINE

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Waffles, Pheasant Coming to Shaw
 
42° Catering chef/ owner Frederik De Pue
42° Catering chef/owner Frederik De Pue just signed a lease to open a restaurant called Table in Shaw (903 N St., NW). It'll be open breakfast through dinner seven days a week. The menu will change frequently, as Frederik plans to cook with whatever seasonal ingredients he buys that morning. During the day, the former Smith Commons chef envisions Table as a neighborhood place where people can come for a cup of coffee and pastry and hangout and use wifi. Breakfast will also include a number of egg dishes including frittatas and quiches as well as occasional waffles. (Frederik is Belgian after all.) In the evenings, the menu will feature eight to a dozen dishes like pan-seared hazelnut-crusted turbot or boneless pheasant cooked sous-vide for 24 hours. There will also be selection of charcuterie and cheeses.
Table
Frederik wants to give Table the feel of a home dining room with a stove in the center of the space. The restaurant will have no bar, but will serve wines and beers (no hard liquor). The building, formerly a car repair shop, will keep its "rough" look with concrete floors and exposed walls and ceilings. Frederik also hopes to have fresh herbs hanging from the walls. The roof deck will be used for additional seating when the weather is nice—perfect for the restaurant's summer opening.

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The Reef Renovates
 
The Reef
The Reef in Adams Morgan is about to undergo renovations to its middle floor (the one with the fish tanks) to keep up with changing neighborhood. Owner Brian Harrison declined to give specifics on the new look, but he does tell us he's changing the design aesthetic, putting in new hardwood floors, and reconfiguring the booths. Construction will take place on Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays over the course of four weeks, beginning in a week or two. The ground floor will also be renovated at some point next year; the rooftop will remain untouched. Brian tells us he wants to make the space look "young and fresh again," so it will be competitive with all the other new places opening in Adams Morgan.

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Fujimar Now Open
 
Fujimar
Lima has officially reopened as an Asian-Latino restaurant Fujimar. We dropped by the new spot for an opening party on Wednesday night. The new menu, which is inspired by the cuisine of Asian immigrants that came to Latin America, includes dishes like short ribs braised in sweet ponzu sauce and lobster with wasabi-mango butter. A sushi and ceviche bar uses seafood from the Hawaiian Pacific waters shipped by plane the day its caught. The drink menu includes a wide selection of sakes, Japanese beers as well as wines, and hand-crafted cocktails.
 

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