Swan’s new song, beef to beat all, Café de Japon and Jean-Louis remembered

Marche Bacchus, the charming wine shop/restaurant (2620 Regatta Drive, 804-8008), has long been a popular spot for local chefs, Francophiles and wine enthusiasts. The house’s policy of charging guests a $10 corkage fee for wines chosen from the shop enables them to offer great wines with food at a nominal cost.

Now, food there is better than ever, thanks to their young chef Joseph Swan, a protégé of Alex Stratta of the Wynn’s late, lamented Alex. The chef has revamped the menu here, and knocked my socks off with dishes such as a colorful Heirloom beet, goat cheese and hazelnut salad; grilled Scottish salmon atop an artichoke barigoule; and amazing short ribs on blue cheese potatoes, as tender as the ones at Alex.

If you’re just there to sip wine and eat charcuterie and cheeses, don’t fret. Those—along with dishes including Caesar salad, shrimp and grits, and a classic moules frites—remain on the menu.

And there’s more good news for Francophiles. Mark Oct. 16 in your calendar for the 10th annual Jean-Louis Palladin Foundation Fundraiser, this year held at Alizé (951-7000), Andre Rochat’s restaurant at the Top of the Palms. Proceeds from the dinner benefit the James Beard Foundation.

This is, by my lights, one of the most impressive dinners anywhere, with more than a dozen of our star chefs contributing to a seven-course dinner, which includes spectacular wine pairings such as Emil Beyer ’09 pinot gris from Alsace, and a Broadbent Malmsey Madeira.

Just a few of the participating chefs are Pascal Sanchez of Twist—who is creating an array of hors d’oeuvres before seating—Luciano Pellegrini of Valentino, Joung Sohn of Eiffel Tower and our newest hit chef, Gregory Pugin of Le Cirque.

Fans of U.S.-bred Wagyu beef, a clone of Japan’s world famous (and absurdly priced) Kobe beef, will be pleased to learn that a spectacular breed of the meat is now being served at Boa Steakhouse in the Forum Shop at Caesars.

The beef—the only pre-bred Wagyu herd to boast 98 percent Wagyu genetics—is grass-fed, hormone-free and richly flavorful, a product of Emma Farms near Aspen, Colo. It’s not inexpensive at $18 per ounce, but the meat’s density and marbling make a 3-ounce portion quite satisfying. The beef is also high in omega 3-and omega-6 fatty acids, so there’s no guilt.

Finally, for anyone out there who has lived or spent time in Tokyo, we now have Café de Japon (5300 W. Spring Mountain Road, 341-8038), a kissaten, or Japanese-style coffee shop. I’d eat in these places at least once a week when I lived in Japan, and the café offers many of the dishes on which I once subsisted, such as spaghetti with an oddball tomato sauce, pork cutlets and coffee zeri. That’s jelly to you, pally.

Hungry, yet?

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Chips and Salsa, Los Jarochos

Dishing With Grace

Chips and Salsa, Los Jarochos

By Grace Bascos

This is a modest place, named for the state of Veracruz on Mexico’s Gulf Coast. The restaurant does great tacos al pastor and barbecued lamb, but nothing tops the chips and salsa: hot, salty corn chips astride a dish of pale-green salsa fragrant with chili and garlic. You’ll want seconds.