February is a watershed month in the restaurant biz, a time when many start something new, overhaul existing agendas or close up shop completely. Among the deceased, consider Red Cat (478 Queen West) a dead cat. Watch for this chic chinois space to be re-invented as a vegetarian venue.
Midtown, shuttered, chi-chi Cucina (1055 Yonge) no longer courts the Rosedale set. And ex-Ellipsis, ex-Toque and ex-Abracadabra Elaina Asselin can add Michael Carlevale's Boston Tavern to her list of exes. Wherever this savvy chef resurfaces is sure to be spectacular.
Down in Clubland, innovative chef Chris Mathias has amicably left Innocenti (587 King West) to take a year off and concentrate on what he does best - cooking. He's planning a new spot for the spring of 2001. Meanwhile, Innocenti's Caroline Grenke assures me that newcomer Paul Rickards, formerly of the muddled Fez Batik, will continue in the style of Mathias's sophisticated Mediterranean menu.
Across town, tiny Tavola Calda (671 College) is temporarily shuttered for renovation and expansion. It's about time. As the Ital-Argentine trat's popularity increased, the lineup for one of TC's nine seats grew exponentially.
Dhaba (999 Albion, 740-6622) continues to win acclaim. Named NOW's best new restaurant of 99, this sensational Indian find attracts NOW readers who repeatedly make the 45-minute drive to Rexdale. With this in mind, charming owner-chef P.K. Singh wants to move closer to his customers and is looking for an existing mid-size eatery with a licence and patio south of Eglinton. Do us all a favour - somebody find Dhaba new digs!