Don Bruce, Don Marvin and Don Steve: Capo, the combined effort of Bruce Marder and Marvin Zeidler (of Broadway Deli, et al.) and Steve Wallace (of Wally's Wine Shop), is finally open in Santa Monica. Many city zoning battles later, you can now eat dinner there Tuesday through Saturday. The decor is described as rustic but elegant, and Marder is actually in the kitchen cooking Italian dishes such as escargot (hey, shouldn't that be lumache?) green onion soup, risotto with zucchini blossoms, baby chicken diavolo and venison with wild mushrooms.
* Capo, 1810 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica; (310) 394-5550.
Cafe N'Awlins Goes Upscale: The amiable Mark Antoine Foster, chef-owner of Cafe N'Awlins in Burbank, is bringing his Cajun-Creole cuisine to Silver Lake soon. He has taken possession of an old fire station on Rowena Avenue and plans to turn it into a fine dining establishment with seating for 200, a New Orleans-style courtyard out back, patio out front and a gift shop. The food will be more upscale, with dishes like fish pompano and duck etouffee. He's building his own kitchen with large glass windows that will let diners spy on the action inside. Cafe N'Awlins at Station 56, as it will be monikered, should be open sometime in January. If all goes well, it will even have live entertainment. On a smaller note, Foster is taking his food to the mall--Burbank's Media Center Food Court, to be exact. As of this week, you can get quick Louisiana bites to go such as po' boy sandwiches, muffulettas, gumbo, jambalaya, shrimp Creole, barbecue ribs and red beans and rice.
Hamilton's Turns Into Ash's: Perennially tanned actor George Hamilton is going international with his restaurant Hamilton's; he's decided to link up with Hyatt Hotels. The nearest of the new restaurants will open at the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort in Indian Wells (near Palm Springs) this summer. The original Hamilton's on North Raymond Avenue in Pasadena, however, will remain independent. Meanwhile, over in Beverly Hills, Hamilton's Fine Cigars and Coffee Shop (which began life just up the street as a wine and cigar bar) will pass to George's son, Ashley. Says dad Hamilton, "It's a place where he and most of his friends meet now. He likes coffee a lot." Although George loves his Cognac, there will be no alcohol at Ash's place. "I'm going to let him run it the way he thinks it should be," says the elder Hamilton.
Kudos to Hefter: Lee Hefter, chef at Spago, Beverly Hills, has just been named one of America's best new chefs by Food & Wine magazine. Out of 10 honored toques, Hefter is the only chef from L.A. (or anywhere in California, for that matter). Congrats.
Does Dad Smell?: Would he like to? If he has a thing for garlic, take him to the Stinking Rose in Beverly Hills on Saturday for a pungent little hands-on cooking class. For $25 a head, the whole family can slice, dice, roast and eat bagna calda (a roasted garlic "bath" served as an appetizer), 40-clove garlic chicken, garlic mashed potatoes and cannoli under the direction of chef Tony Lia and chef-consultant Jim Yoppolo. Class runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
* The Stinking Rose, 55 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills; (310) 652-7673.
Denim Dress Code: The Regatta Grill at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort, Dana Point, has an ultra-casual Blue Jean Brunch every Sunday. Chef Jeff Littlefield (from Fifty Seven Fifty Seven in the Four Seasons Hotel, New York) thinks people should be able to hang loose on Sunday mornings. For Father's Day, the regular menu of eggs Benedict, French toast, multiple salads, seafood station, pastas, pastries, etc. has been expanded to include a prime rib carving station, barbecue baked pork loin, honey-glazed ham and pan-seared sea bass. The holiday price is $36 for adults, $18 for children from 5 to 11, and free for kids under 5. It's perfect weather for the patio (which seats 70), but you can also grab a view of the ocean from inside. Blue Jean Brunch hours normally run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., but on Father's Day the brunch hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
* The Regatta Grill in the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort, 25135 Park Lantern, Dana Point; (949) 661-5000.
Sport Daddy: Rockenwagner wants to seduce your dad with a raffle for an extended test drive of the new Porsche 911 Carrera Model 996 at Ogner Motor Cars of Woodland Hills. For those more interested in the food than the cheap (or free) thrills, there's a three-course prix-fixe brunch on Sunday for $25 ($12.50 for children under 12). Brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. At dinner (from 5:30 to 10 p.m.) there are two specials (Porterhouse steak, braised lamb shank) in addition to the regular menu and the white asparagus menu. But please, don't overeat and speed home.
* Rockenwagner, 2435 Main St., Santa Monica; (310) 399-6504.
Three Days of Dad: At Le Chardonnay, Father's Day is being celebrated Friday, Saturday and Sunday. All three nights you can have a four-course prix-fixe dinner for $49.50. The main course is your choice: beef tenderloin with morel mushroom cream and Cognac sauce or grilled swordfish with Oriental vegetable dressing.
* Le Chardonnay, 8284 Melrose Ave., L.A.; (213) 655-8880.
And Finally . . . : Woodside has a $39 three-course prix-fixe Father's Day special of Vidalia onion tart, veal Porterhouse and brownie banana cream pie. Hours are from 5 to 10 p.m.
* Woodside, 11604 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood; (310) 571-3800.
For more Father's Day specials, see the Restaurant Bytes column online at http://www.Calendarlive.com in the Dining Out section.