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SMALL BITES DE MORI EVOLVES.

Byline: Larry Lipson

Silvio De Mori, who hugs everyone who comes into De Mori in Beverly Hills, has made a couple of important staff changes.

The successful hidden restaurant at 421 N. Rodeo Drive, now has one of L.A.'s most famous maitre d's, Bernard Erpicum, late of Spago and the St. Regis Hotel, sharing the front-of-the-house spotlight.

And in the kitchen, new chef Andrew Kirschner is crafting superb dishes off a brand-new menu, including a soup of Jerusalem artichokes and chestnuts ($8); smoked duck breast with foie gras, roasted apples and polenta ($24); seared Arctic char with a cauliflower puree, caviar and asparagus ($23); and the tenderest lamb loin imaginable with a cakelike rendition of minted chestnut couscous topped with eggplant caviar ($24).

Reservations and information: (310) 274-1500.

THAI MEETS CHINESE: Victor Sodsook, who was chef and co-owner of the Siamese Princess in Hollywood, one of the town's premier Thai restaurants in the '80s, and his partner Chris Chapman, have resurfaced in Century City.

Sodsook and Chapman are now working with Bill Lee, owner of Yin Yang, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., (310) 556-3333, and Jade West, 10131 Constellation Blvd., (310) 556-3388, both in Century City and both Chinese.

Look for more Thai-influenced dishes soon at both restaurants.

LOVE AND BURRITOS: Last-minute Valentine possibilities today include an offer from the fast-food chain Chipotle (there's one at 5430 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills, 818-710-0466), where anyone buying two burritos who gives his or her friend a kiss at the cash register gets one of those burritos free.

Also, because popular Joe's, 1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, is sold out for dinner, it's serving a special three-course Valentine lunch today at $18 per person. Details and reservations: (310) 392-8624.

OPENINGS: In the spring of this year, a Buca de Beppo opens at Valencia's Town Center, the 17th location in California for the chain that features ``immigrant Italian fare.'' ... On Feb. 26, the long-awaited Grace comes to the former Muse space at 7360 Beverly Blvd. with partner-chef Neil Fraser's food and Richard Drapkin and Amy Knoll as management partners. Information: (323) 934-4400. ... In early April, Jimmy's Tavern will debut at 10543 W. Pico Blvd., West Los Angeles, evidently supplanting the plans of Tres Margaritas, an upscale Mexican restaurant slated for the former Primi site. Jimmy is the well-known Jimmy Murphy who owned the fashionable Jimmy's in Century City for many years. His chef is talented David Fouts, and son Sean Murphy will be general manager. Information: (310) 446-8808.

And one reopening: Landmark pizzeria Little Toni's, 4745 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, shuttered due to a kitchen fire, hopes to reopen on or about March 1. Information: (818) 763-0131.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 14, 2003
Words:445
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