Food-o-File

Mezzaluna (310 Colorado, 472-6770) has been one of Austin's busiest restaurants for years, regardless of who's been the chef there. Former Austinite Ed Behrhorst returned to Austin after long working stints in San Francisco and Houston and was snapped up by the San Gabriel Restaurant Group to take over the Mezzaluna kitchen. While in San Francisco, Behrhorst worked with another former Austinite, Reed Hearon, at his first Bay area restaurant and was sous-chef for four years at Wolfgang Puck's wildly popular Italian eatery, Postrio. In Houston, he spent more than a year as chef at Boulevard Bistro for Monica Pope. The new chef has been gradually making the Mezzaluna menu his own and the well-received transformation should be complete in another week. Behrhorst's cuisine is defined by robust, rustic Italian flavors; his risottos are exemplary. He is definitely one to watch...

The renowned Sunday Brunch at Fonda San Miguel (2330 N. Loop, 459-3401) will have a three-dimensional aspect this Sunday, April 6. Mexican chefs Roberto Santibanez of Placido Domingo's restaurant in Manhattan, Ricardo Muñoz, executive chef at the National University of Mexico in Mexico City and Venezuelan Luis Sandoval of Fonda San Miguel will collaborate on an array of distinctive dishes for the buffet. Owner Tom Gilliland reports that the three chefs "have been exchanging ideas for weeks" in preparation for this special spring celebration. The $24.95 brunch is served 11am-2:30pm and reservations are suggested...

Loyal fans of chef Raymond Tatum's cooking need not suffer withdrawal pains. Tatum has teamed up with restaurateur Eddie Wilson and is serving his version of upscale Southern/Southwestern cooking every Tuesday night at Tatum's Tonight in the Threadgill's Upstairs Banquet Room, (6416 N. Lamar, 451-5440). The $25 fixed price includes soup, salad, entrées, dessert, tea, and coffee. Cocktails and wines by the bottle or glass are also available. The banquet room seats 40 people and reservations are necessary. The size of the room combined with Tatum's signature dishes could make this a hot ticket for business entertaining and dinner gatherings...

Devotees of the food and service at Suzi's Chinese Kitchen on S. Lamar were pleased when successful restaurateur Suzi launched Suzi's China Grill (7858 Shoal Creek, 302-4600) early this year. Patrons are attracted by the blazing woks in the open kitchen, the bar, and comfortable patio. Expanded kitchen facilities at the new location have made a more extensive menu possible, including several choices of dumplings, salads, and noodle dishes. Though the lettuce wraps and the basil shrimp at the new Suzi's are very impressive, the Szechuan string beans are the best vegetable dish I've had so far this spring...

Back in business at the new location for less than a year, Laura's Bluebonnet Kitchen (5408 Burnet, 467-9552) has expanded their hours of operation to include dinner and added a liquor license. Owner Laura Patterson is serving up her famous homestyle cooking at lunch and dinner every day with the addition of beer, wine, and margaritas, plus weekend brunches complete with bloody marys...

And speaking of cocktails, adults of discerning taste will be instructed in martini fact, fiction, history, and symbolism in addition to the basics of mixology and distillation in a Martini Madness seminar offered through the Texas Union Informal Classes on Friday, April 11, 7pm-9pm. The class is taught by Patricia Barroll, VP of Carillon Importers of Teaneck, NJ. Adults over the age of 21 can register by calling 471-0270.

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