Complicated Food Bugs Cicada Chef

Remember Bono's on Melrose? The place that became Silvio's, and then Ashley's and then Caruso's? Well, it's about to be reborn--this time without an apostrophe.

Jean Francois Meteigner, former chef at L'Orangerie, plans to open Cicada Feb. 1 after the liquor-license transfer goes through. He will cook the sort of food he grew up on. "I'm half French and half Italian," he says, "and was raised on both kinds of food. So that's the way I am going to do the restaurant. It's something I started at L'Orangerie, cooking with less butter and more olive oil . . . French food without the calories."

The menu will be simple, with some country French, some Provencal, a lot of traditional family cooking of France . . . even a few recipes from Meteigner's Italian great-grandmother. "People make food complicated because they don't know how to cook," says the chef. "The main thing in cooking is if you cook a fish, the main flavor should be the fish, not the sauce."

Prices will not be like those at L'Orangerie. "Expensive restaurants aren't doing well right now," says Meteigner. "People don't want to be snubbed at the door and then killed at the end of dinner with the bill." He expects entrees to be between $15 and $20, with dinner pastas from $9 to $12.

Meteigner's partners are Bernie Taupin, Elton John's lyricist, and Stephanie Haymes, formerly general manager at Le Dome.

And the name? "It's like a big bee," says Meteigner, "that sings at 7 at night, when it's warm in the summertime."

TERMINATING: Construction is almost over--Arnold Schwarzenegger's Santa Monica restaurant is scheduled to open in December. And the box-office big guy, and husband of television journalist Maria Shriver, has finally come up with a name. The restaurant at 3110 Main St. will be called Schatzi's on Main (schatzi is German slang for darling .)

"Construction is right on schedule, all the equipment is being delivered," says a source. "Now Arnold just has to decide on a chef and Maria has to give final approval on the silverware."

SAME PLACE, NEW MENU: "I'm basically trying to create a situation where we fit into almost anybody's diet," says Bruce Marder, owner of West Beach Cafe. He has changed the format of his Venice Beach bistro. The small (eight items), constantly changing menu has become a big "The Best of West Beach Cafe" menu that doesn't change--even between lunch and dinner. "Some people eat this, some people don't eat that, so the menu is basically whole foods, organic meat, organic vegetables and kind of diet conscious."

Marder has also redone the menu at Rebecca's, his nuevo Mexicano restaurant in Santa Monica. "It's been five years," he says. "We've kept some of the better things and changed some of the others." What about Marder's other restaurant, DC 3 at the Santa Monica airport? That restaurant, says Marder, is doing a lot of catering. "You've got to do what you've got to do."

A NEW CHAPTER: Like its sister restaurant in New York, the Beverly Hills Stringfellows has filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code. According to an industry source, owner Peter Stringfellow has no plans to close his Beverly Hills nightclub/restaurant, but high operating costs (we've been told that the monthly rental on the property is $72,000 per month) make running the club difficult. Neither Stringfellow nor general manager Roger Howe could be reached for comment.

EARLY RETIREMENT?: The veteran Windsor Restaurant has quietly closed its doors. "It's temporarily closed, but a reopening date hasn't been set," says Windsor's Vivian Ben Nun. "The Windsor is owned by several partners and at the moment they are reorganizing, shifting the ownership." She adds that the former owner, Ben Dimsdale, still retains ownership of the building, "so I am assuming that however it's settled it will reopen eventually."

ON THE BURNER: Dominic DeNichilo has taken over the space next door to his Da Vinci Ristorante in Beverly Hills and plans to use the additional 500 square feet for extra seating. "The permits have been approved and we should start working on it in the next couple of weeks," says DeNichilo, who has expanded his menu to include what he calls "cuisine geared toward the health conscious." . . . Antonia Robertson, executive sous-chef at the Four Seasons at Beverly Hills, will represent the United States this month in Paris at the prestigious Prix Culinaire Pierre Taittinger International Culinary Competition. Robertson, chosen from among the 23 American chefs who entered, is only the third woman finalist in the 25-year history of the competition.

BARGAINS: The West Beach Cafe's hefty hamburger and heap of fries, one of the best burger experiences in town, for $8; osso buco with polenta at Ca Brea, $10.50; shabu shabu lunch at Shabu Shabu in Little Tokyo, $7.94.

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