DOMINIQUE is now at Dominique's in name only, at least in Washington. That most visible of French restaurateurs, Dominique d'Ermo, has taken in a partner, Henry Prati (formerly of Aldo's and the Rotunda), to run his downtown restaurant.
While Prati runs the day-to-day operations, d'Ermo will concentrate on his other projects: raising chickens to classical music, supervising his new Dominique's in Annapolis (which opened early this month) and his older one in Miami Beach, manufacturing canned soups, writing his fifth cookbook, maybe even turning his life story into a book and a film.
THE SWEET SPELL OF SUCCESS --
Two men waiting for the bank-card machine were comparing notes on which nearby restaurants they liked.
"Otto Scalini is nice," offered one.
"Prime Rib is easier to say," countered the other.
"That's true," agreed the first.
And all this time I thought it was the food, decor and service that counted.
WHITE SALE (AND RED SALE, TOO) -- Chardonnay restaurant in the Park Terrace Hotel has been known since its opening for its extraordinary list of American wines. Now, through Labor Day or as long as stocks last, some of the older and rarer of those wines are being offered at 5 to 50 percent off (for consumption on the hotel's premises only).
STALKING THE ELUSIVE HERB -- I was wondering where Herb Kaplan, who ran G. Pinchot's, had gone when his restaurant was turned over to Herb White and renamed Herb's (are you still with me?). Well, Herb Kaplan's back at the West End Cafe, which he started in the first place.
If you want further details: Janet Terry, chef of the West End, left to open Samplings, and was replaced by Melissa Ballinger, who had also been at the West End in its early years and was returning to the kitchen after stints at Prime Plus and Bridge Street Cafe. Now all I need to know is, where are Grandma Kaplan's blintzes?
MAYBE THEY'RE JUICING IT UP -- India not being known for alcohol consumption, I found it curious to see an advertisement for Aaiti -- "authentic Indian cuisine" -- boasting of its Happy Hour. Furthermore, that Happy Hour is 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. weekend nights. On second thought, if Aaiti is authentic enough that the Happy Hour means lassi and mango juice, such a nightcap could certainly make me happy.
HALF OF ZERO IS STILL ZERO -- A flyer recently distributed by International Dining Club Ltd. announced, "Flash! Many New Restaurants Just Added" for its July special discount-dining membership offer. It should also have warned, "Many Old Restaurants Should be Deleted." Of the 60 restaurants I had heard of (the list includes more than 120), at least three have been closed for many months. When I called the company to ask why these defunct restaurants were still in the ad, I was told that the manager would not be back for a week; the person in charge would only say, "I'm sorry, I can't talk about that."