Byline: Toni M. Lublin / Rebecca Kleinman / Georgia Lee
When the original Indigo Grill opened 15 years ago, Herb Schmidt, a devoted regular, remembers the lines out the door. “Indigo had a cult following, terrific fresh fish and the atmosphere of a real neighborhood joint, very bohemian. It was missed when it closed in 2000,” said Schmidt. Now, Schmidt and his fellow Indigoites are coming back in droves to check out the “new” Indigo Coastal Grill, which reopened last month in its original North Highland, Va., location. Its name notwithstanding, Indigo boasts a colorful interior of upbeat blues, oranges and reds. A horseshoe-shaped bar never fails to draw a crowd to the restaurant’s center; come spring, Indigo will move its act outdoors to a pair of patios.
This time around, the seafood’s spiced up with French Caribbean influences, seen in entrees nipped with ginger, candied orange peels or green tomato marmalade. The preparation of the seafood is fairly simple, generally poached or grilled using hardwoods, such as a hickory-wood grilled grouper filet with a side of homemade linguini and clams in chive broth, or poached sea bass garnished with blue potatoes, and squash splashed with balsamic vinegar. For pasta lovers, there’s ravioli stuffed with smoked oyster, mushrooms, and crawfish, served in a lobster broth and topped with coral reduction. Entrees range from $15.50 to $21.50 and appetizers from $7-$12. 1397 North Highland Avenue, (404) 876-0676.
For the South Beach vacationer seeking some particularly posh R&R hotel experience, the Shore Club in Miami Beach may be perfect. The Shore Club’s decor, vibe and crowd are worlds apart from the famous Delano Hotel, just a few blocks away. Celebs come here to hide out and chill out, rather than hold court a la Madonna in her Miami days.
“Our objective was to create a warm hotel that allows for intimacy,” said Michael Hoffman, managing director and owner’s representative.
British architect David Chipperfield designed the two renovated Art Deco buildings and new central tower to be a kinder, gentler alternative to the slick, almost clinical look of South Beach’s popular boutique hotels. The interiors are abloom with exotic South Pacific flora, water lilies, and a mini orchard of flowering trees complemented by candy-colored furnishing from B&B Italia. Even the elevators aim to soothe, with pastel-toned, padded-leather walls and teakwood floors.
Approaching over-the-top, however, is the 6,000-square-foot, three-story penthouse with 360-degree views, rooftop terrace and pool — and then there’s that blindingly turquoise view, which just about justifies the $10,000-a-night tab.
Guests have no need to leave the property’s self-contained set-up, which has three restaurants: the latest branch of Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s Nobu sushi empire; Sirena, with its antipasto bar and sexy al fresco dining area, and Ocean Grill, featuring catches du jour such as lobster, scallops and whole yellowtail snapper.
There’s also a Scoop boutique for men and women, a Me + Ro accessories shop, a spa owned by supermodel Christy Turlington and a well-stocked gym. Nightly rates start at $295. 1901 Collins Avenue, (877) 640-9500.
It’s Greek To Me
Pano Karatassos, the entrepreneurial force behind The Buckhead Life Restaurants Group, which owns, among other Atlanta faves, Bluepointe, Nava and the Buckhead Diner, has finally gotten around to opening a restaurant worthy of his Greek heritage: Kyma (that’s Greek for “wave”). A year of travel and research throughout the islands preceded Kyma’s December opening; Karatassos’ son, Pano I Karatassos, heads up the kitchen.
One of Kyma’s specialties is psaria sti skara, grilled whole fish, priced by the pound (with the typical order costing between $16.50 and $26.50). Diners select from 10 to 12 varieties of fresh fish, such as lavaraki, a tender, flaky white fish similar in flavor to wild bass, and tsipoura, a fuller but still delicate-tasting white meat fish similar in texture and flavor to Royal Dorado. The fish are flown in daily from three Greek ports. The whole fish is grilled over a hardwood fire, while being basted in an vinaigrette of extra virgin olive oil, lemon and oregano. “The preparation of grilling the fish is quite simple, which is part of the beauty of letting the true flavors come through,” said Karatassos.
In Greece, dishes are meant to be shared. A wide range of tapas-like mezedes ($7.50 to $14.95) and pikilia, traditional Greek spreads ($3.75-$4.50), including taramosalata (red caviar mousse) and tzatziki (yogurt, with cucumber, garlic, and dill) are perfect for circulating around the table. Of the 15 mezedes, try spanikopita (filo-wrapped spinach with leeks, scallions, feta cheese and dill), or dolmadakia yialantzi, grape leaves wrapped around a mix of pine nuts, currants, rice, leeks and fennel.
The interior conjures many an echo of the Greek islands, with its white-marble filled foyer, marble columns and a blue-seaglass backdrop behind the bar. While it may not beat a trip to Mykonos, Kyma will do fine for a Hellenically inspired night out. 3085 Piedmont Road, (404) 262-0702.
Designer and social activist Kenneth Cole talks the talk and walks the walk. Known for often controversial advertising that mixes socially conscious messages with fashion, Cole’s latest philanthropic effort is The Kenneth Cole Fellowship in Community Building and Social Change at Emory University.
Cole, an Emory alumnus who graduated in 1976, returned to his alma mater last month to host the first annual Kenneth Cole Leadership Forum, which kicked off the new fellowship program. Twenty-one Emory students will be chosen annually for a year-long program of learning and field experiences in community building and social change.
Under the theme “The Impact of Terrorism on Community Building and Social Change,” the forum kicked off Wednesday evening with an address by former New York governor Mario Cuomo, Cole’s father-in-law, and ended Thursday with a speech by former President Jimmy Carter.
Carter, responding to a question about Bush’s comments on the “axis of evil,” described Bush’s statement as “simplistic, counterproductive and ill-advised.” Carter warned against stigmatizing and labeling entire groups of people, which could increase distrust of the U.S. or arouse fears of a military attack.
Panelists and speakers included former senator and ambassador to Saudi Arabia Wyche Fowler and James Laney, president emeritus of Emory University and former ambassador to South Korea. Topics addressed homeland security on the national and local levels. Cole said he chose terrorism as the theme of this year’s forum as the most important issue of the moment. He has also addressed the Sept. 11 attacks in a recent 12-page ad campaign that ran in the New York Times. The ad prompted both positive and negative responses.
“The ad was consistent with what we do on other issues,” said Cole, in a post-seminar interview. “We made an effort to talk about Sept. 11. Some people see that as inappropriate, while some think to ignore it is inappropriate. The issue affects everyone. Although more people have died from AIDS, not everyone is vulnerable to [it], while everyone is vulnerable to terrorism.”
Past advertising campaigns have dealt with issues such as AIDS, homelessness, abortion and the death penalty.
Cole, who quit law school to join his father’s shoe business in the early Eighties, said he had no regrets about his choice. “Some people perceive fashion as frivolous,” he said. “Fashion and pop culture reflect where we are both collectively and as individuals. I like to think I can make it bigger than just a focus on oneself. I can probably do more good where I am now than I could have as a lawyer.”