Knock on wood . . . The good folks at the groovy Grovewood Tavern and Wine Bar (17105 Grovewood Avenue, 216-531-4900) hope to have a new chef in the kitchen before the end of the month. Owner Beth Noragon says the search for culinary talent is going well; the as-yet-to-be-named chef will be taking the place vacated by former hotshot Mark Wilson, who started a new gig last week at Gates Mills Grille. Meantime, Noragon et al. are serving cheese plates and smoked salmon to accompany their wide selection of fine wines; domestic, imported, and, microbrewed beer; and select liquors. The regularly scheduled Wednesday and Thursday night wine tastings, under the supervision of wine-guy Lee Karr, continue apace at 8:30 p.m., and live entertainment is still on tap every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. (A set by Jessica Grant, the Buffalo-based singer/songwriter, who will perform from 9 p.m. to midnight on September 28, is still our pick for best accompaniment to a bottle of 1998 Caymus Conundrum.)
They'll keep a light on for you . . . Staffers at Cleveland's venerable Don's Lighthouse Grille (8905 Lake Avenue) have been busy keeping up with the times. The landmark building near the Erie shore has long been a popular destination for fresh seafood; now, Executive Chef Rory Haessley and GM Eric Schmiedl are focusing on bringing more contemporary touches to the menu and upping the ante for presentation and consistency. A pleasant introduction to the "new" Don's might be the September 27 Wine Dinner, featuring the wines of Napa Valley's Wente Vineyards and some mighty fine-sounding food. Among the tasty treats on Haessley's menu for the evening are Spicy Tempura Shrimp with Daikon Salad, Poached Salmon Roulade with black currant syrup, Pepper-Crusted Beef Medallions with Maytag blue cheese, and (yum, yum) blueberry shortcake. The 7 p.m. meal, complete with matching wines, will set you back a modest $60, tax and tip included. For reservations, call 216-961-6700.
Seems like old times . . . New Jersey native Joseph Panarello has signed on as executive chef for Century at the Cleveland Ritz-Carlton, taking the spot vacated earlier this summer by Regan Reik. Panarello goes way back with the restaurant's consulting chef, Troy Thompson, having trained with Thompson at the Ritz-Carlton in Philly and serving as Thompson's executive sous chef at the award-winning Fusebox in Atlanta. All of which is to say that Panarello is likely to be a very good match for Century's menu of luscious, modern-American cuisine.