They’re pronounced Sen-TRAL, Kom-SAH and Sah-KAY

Superstar chef Michel Richard of Washington, D.C., was in town last week to celebrate his 63rd birthday, and to make a big announcement: He’s opening a branch of Central 24/7, his mega-successful D.C. restaurant, at Caesars Palace, in the space now occupied by what is a glorified coffee shop called Augustus Café.

Richard, who is originally from France, started his career in America as a pâtissier with a pastry shop in West Hollywood, Calif. He later went on to open Citrus in L.A., and Citronelle in Santa Barbara, before making the move to the East Coast.

Central 24/7 will feature the chef’s famous fried chicken and short ribs cooked sous-vide, as well as many more of his takes on American classics. It will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a late-night menu. Look for the restaurant to open in late summer.

Over at Comme Ça (in the Cosmopolitan, 698-7000), chef David Myers prepares classic French bistro dishes. Plats du jour are highlights here. The restaurant has recently made several improvements to its Tuesday cassoulet, a hearty bean dish prepared with sausage, pork belly and duck confit with a breadcrumb topping.

But I love the Wednesday plat, coq au vin, a half chicken stewed in a rich Burgundy sauce with bacon and onion, served in a copper pan. If you love real country French cooking, this is the best $28 dish around.

I recently tasted through a number of boutique Oregon sakes at Social House at Crystals, from a relatively new producer called Momokawa.

Sake—Japanese rice wine—is far less expensive to produce than wine, since rice harvests aren’t usually subject to the fickleness of nature, and since this is a domestic product, a lack of import costs keeps the price down as well. These sakes are about $12 retail, and include varieties such as organic nigori (unfiltered, and a cloudy white color), the clear, dry Silver and the fruity Asian Pear.

We were lucky to match them with the peerless cooking of Social House chef Joe Elevado, a Nobu alum who has really come into his own in his new restaurant at Crystals. In addition to wonderful fluke, yellowtail and tuna sashimi, he is doing dishes from his native Philippines, including the deep-fried pork shank called crispy pata, and lumpia, tiny cylinders filled with spicy ground meat—really a perfect beer dish.

Hungry, yet?

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Gimme Some Sugar

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Sugar Factory corporate bar manager and mixologist Ken Hall has been enjoying gummy, cherry-flavored Swedish Fish candies since he was young, but “little did I know that it would lead to this!” he says. Hall recently installed the Swedish Fish as well as 13 other cocktails at the Sugar Factory’s flagship American Brasserie at the Paris. “When I started working on this menu, I just thought about the theme of the restaurant and tried to come up with cocktails that fit within that parameter.



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