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SAT-When chefs depart

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Saw on SavorSA ( http://www.savorsa.com/2010/01/bliss-... ) that Mark Bliss had left Silo and was curious what the long term impact of losing an executive chef will be on a longtime personal favorite. I was wondering what Brian West (ex Cafe Paladar) has done for Las Ramblas, and what La Fritte will be without Damien Watel.
If anyone has recent personal experience with these places "after the change" I'd be interested in hearing about it.

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  1. Sam, what's up with La Fritte and Damien Watel?? Had an excellent lunch at Bistro Vatel on Tues. and was sad to learn that Ciel will NOT re-open as is stated on the website. Did the failure of that venture lead to him selling La Fritte or what?

    1. I'm sick about Ciel closing, 'tho not surprised. Last time I was there, we were 2 of 6 diners at lunch (11:30-1:00). Loved the food, but no one can stay open selling only
      6 lunches. Did the "fork problem" have anything to do with the lack of business? Friends
      did think the prices were high for lunch, but the food was so good, I didn't care. Too bad
      for Damien, as he's one of the best chefs in SA, imho. What's going to happen to Ciao
      on the north side? Is it still open?
      I do believe that there must simply be too many new restaurants in the Stone Oak area
      for them all to be successful. Their rents must be enormous, since the price points seem
      to have been raised by $3-5. Sam and Ms.Ghost what's your take on that area?

      2 Replies
      1. re: amazinc

        Never made it out to Ciel/Ciao 2, just seemed a bit too far out of the way. The Rogers Ranch/Stone Oak area definately seems THE place for launching new restaurants (Watermark-which I did enjoy, Auden's kitchen opening next week). The northwest side by comparison has much more limited fine dining options.
        I heard Damien was opening an eatery at the SA Museum of Art in a couple weeks; here is the SA Current article on La Fritte( http://www.sacurrent.com/dining/revie... ), they say they're not changing anything but the parking, which was always a problem but you wonder what the net effect really ends up being when your "franchise player" leaves the team.

        1. re: amazinc

          Had an excellent lunch at Ciel some months ago--can't remember how long--with the same wonderful menu BUT the location was hard to find. We got off 1604 at Stone Oak thinking it was not too far from that intersection....once we were almost to 281, we found it, but not after having had to turn around. Having been in the real estate biz, the old "location, location, location" phrase does, unfortunately, have merit. It wasn't THAT hard to find if determined, but I guess not enough were..........would have been nice if they had perservered because the ambience was lovely. Service was DEFINITELY not as polished as Bistro Vatel, but we didn't expect that. We were just glad there was a location closer to us than the original. Just sorry it didn't work out!