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‘Educated’ Fare With a Dada Twist

TIMES STAFF WRITER

“I want to educate, not imitate,” says chef Sam Marvin. “Salmon and swordfish are on every menu in L.A.”

So when he opens late next month in the former Andreas space on Melrose, Marvin plans to teach his customers that there are other fish in the sea--25,000 varieties to be exact. There won’t be any pasta or pizza or contemporary bistro fare on what he calls his “creative California” menu, either.

“I know I have good taste in food and I’m sure a lot of people will enjoy eating what I like to eat,” says Marvin, who was sous chef at Patina on Melrose before moving on to the Monkey Bar, where he cooked until eight months ago. “Just because people want simple food these days, doesn’t mean they have to settle for the same old thing. Why not eat sardines and ika and angel fish?”

Marvin also plans to serve Champagnes by the glass, and the wine list will feature unusual finds from around the globe. “I am not going to put a Fetzer or a Mondavi or a Cakebread on my list,” he says. “You can find those anywhere.” Investors in the 75-seat space include several sports figures, including former NFL linebacker Jerry Robinson.

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Marvin is considering naming his place Modada, after dadaism, the absurdist, anti-establishment art movement founded in 1916. “Everyone who opens a restaurant these days is using their own names--Russell’s and Jackson’s and Mortons,” he says. “It’s a lack of creativity.”

In keeping with the dada spirit, the chef has hired young artists to design plates and glassware, and he’s got a fledgling fashion designer creating an entire uniform collection. No black pants, white shirts and ties for his staff. “No uniform will be the same,” Marvin says, “but they’ll all tie into the collection.”

More Sporting News: NBA basketball stars and former UCLA roommates Don MacLean (Washington Bullets) and Trevor Wilson (Sacramento Kings) have opened Sandbag’s in Westwood. At the gourmet sandwich shop, the turkeys and roasts are baked daily and all sandwiches are served in brown paper bags.

Going Coconuts: Sources say Twin Palms in Pasadena has become so wildly successful that partners Michael Roberts and Kevin Costner are already making plans to clone their concept in Orange County. “People have approached us about developing spaces,” confirms chef Roberts, “but it’s really all in the very, very preliminary stages.”

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According to Roberts, other future Twin Palms sites being discussed include Las Vegas, Arizona, even Marseilles. “There are a number of places that I think are ready for this concept,” says Roberts, “and most of them are dry and hot.”

Happy Anniversaries: La Salsa in Beverly Hills celebrates its 10th anniversary Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a live mariachi band, salsa music, dancers and 99 cent margaritas. . . . Gilliland’s Cafe celebrates its 10th birthday this month, too. Customers who dine at the Santa Monica restaurant in August will receive a package of owner Gerri Gilliland’s new Irish soda bread mix.

Noted: The restaurant community was saddened to hear of the recent death of Gilbert Le Coze, chef-owner of the highly respected Manhattan seafood restaurant Le Bernardin. The French-born Le Coze, 49, died of a heart attack while working out at his health club.


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