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Bites: Menu6

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Diners will follow their favorite chefs around town like doting pups, regardless in which kitchen they happen to hang their toques. That's good news to guys like Michael Herschman, who seem to put down roots as deep as tumbleweeds. It's no shocker to report that Herschman "gets around," but wherever he manages to land, you can bank on the fact that his fans will be first in line. That's certainly been the case at Menu6 (12718 Larchmere Blvd., 216.791.6649, menu6.org), the chef's latest culinary crash pad. And there's good reason. Enjoying the most creative control since his Mojo days, Herschman is whipping up a landslide of impressive dishes. Set inside the former Boulevard Blue spot, Menu6 boasts a compelling conceit: six menu categories, each comprising six items (more or less, anyway). The "food-forward" fare is part steakhouse, part Asian-spiced Pacific Rim. This means that in addition to a platter of Herschman's killer sweet-and-spicy calamari ($7), diners can carve into a prosciutto-wrapped filet ($24). Foie gras appears in multiple guises, as in the Kentucky "foied" chicken ($9), a succulent piece of liver-goosed fried chicken awash in truffle-scented jus. Also found in that "Hot, Cold, Small" section of the menu is a dish of crispy fried shrimp ($8). Four large prawns are tempura battered and fried, dusted with aromatic spice and lined up in a pool of delicious peanut-coconut milk sauce. Raw-bar fans have their pick of oysters, clams, scallops and American caviar. Diners who covet a stiff char on their steaks might want to skip the Meyer Ranch ribeye ($28). Rather than grill the steak, the kitchen packs the meat in salt and roasts it, a technique often used for fish. Don't worry, cavemen: There's a fat bone-in rib steak with your name on it. Rounding out the appealing menu are entrées built around duck, lamb, quail and crisp-skinned finfish ($19), which is presented in a deep bowl of miso noodle soup. A front-to-back remodel has given the room a fresh look. Most dramatic is the addition of a community chef's table, situated directly in front of the open kitchen.

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