Four years ago, Andy Himmel's world fell down around his ears -- literally -- when the roof caved in on the building he was transforming into Boulevard Blue. As anyone who has dropped by that Larchmere Boulevard institution lately can attest, Himmel recovered from the setback handily. And the 27-year-old entrepreneur launches his second restaurant, Paladar Latin Kitchen, on August 2 in Woodmere's Eton-Chagrin.
Chef Matt Mytro's Nuevo Latino menu sounds mouthwatering, with such starters as tuna-watermelon ceviche and chimichurri-crusted calamari; salads like chipotle-marinated skirt steak and mojo-marinated salmon; and entrées such as slow-roasted pork Cubano and sofrito-basted scallops, with roasted cauliflower, a cheese-enriched huancaina sauce, fingerling potatoes, and preserved lemons.
Also featured: three varieties of made-to-order guacamole, brought to the table in their traditional molcajetes; an eclectic rum bar and a handsome 30-seat patio.
Despite the prevalence of peppers in the Latino pantry, Mytro promises the food will not be fiery. "We can let the ingredients speak for themselves," he says.
Paladar is at 28601 Chagrin Boulevard. Lunch and dinner will be served Monday through Saturday; dinner only on Sunday. Call 216-896-9020 for reservations.
Good neighbors . . . Paladar takes up about half the space that once was Bossa Nova. The other half belongs to partners Jack Ngo and Ben Wu, who will be opening Pacific East-Eton in November. Like the original on Coventry, the Japanese restaurant's forte will be its sushi bar. Meantime, Freeman Ngo (Jack Ngo's brother) will continue to operate the five-year-old Cleveland Heights location.
Summer sensations . . . Former Big Apple chef Moha Orchid has launched the warm-weather menu at his Lakewood restaurant, Venezia (16300 Detroit Avenue, 216-226-0006). Among the seasonal attractions, you'll find chilled watermelon-tomato gazpacho with cilantro, cukes, peppers, and lemon ($5), Tuscan white-bean salad with garlic, tomatoes, and sausage ($6), and Chilean salmon (warm or chilled) with vegetable salad and berry sauce ($18). Of course, signature dishes like Osso Bucco Milanese ($18) and Tagliatelle al Cinghiale ($16), with a rich demi-glace and plenty of shredded pork, anchor the menu year round.