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Posted at 4:30 PM ET, 03/31/2009

Signature Changes at the Mandarin Oriental

By Tom Sietsema

The Asian-themed Cafe MoZU is expected to close early this summer and reopen the same month, with a new look, lower prices and flavors reminiscent of Maryland's Eastern Shore, says Eric Ziebold, the chef of MoZU's sister restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the high-end CityZen.

Ziebold, who originated the idea and announced the news at a staff meeting this afternoon, says the name of the replacement is South by Southwest, which is both a nautical term and a nod to the venue's location in the city.

A preview of the menu reveals blue crab soup, chicken and dumplings, braised rabbit leg with grits and hush puppies with honey butter. Desserts will highlight "small bites" of American classics and seasonal pies: carrot cake, strawberry shortcake, peach cobbler and grasshopper pie. Dinner entrees average $22; desserts are $5 each. The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Ziebold pitched his bosses the idea of doing "something indicative of where we are" and being more a part of the community. The chef hopes the "relaxed" South by Southwest, which has windows overlooking the Potomac, will help lure the hotel's neighbors in Northern Virginia.

The rebranding means both restaurants in the hotel will be looking for employees. CityZen's current No. 2 in the kitchen, Rachel Harriman, already has been tapped to be the chef de cuisine at South by Southwest.

-- Tom Sietsema

By Tom Sietsema  | March 31, 2009; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  | Tags:  Tom Sietsema  
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Not to be overly picky (and i look forward to trying the new restaurant), but South By Southwest is a music festival in Austin, not a nautical term.

Posted by: stantonpark | March 31, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Not to be even pickier, but the festival did not just come up with the name out of a vacuum. "South by southwest" means the angle of direction that lies between south and southwest on a compass.

Posted by: arleneivana | March 31, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Will they still do their classic brunch?

Posted by: shipsa01 | March 31, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like a good plan.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | March 31, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Fantastic idea. I'm much more interested now in checking this place out when it opens.

Posted by: A-lo | April 2, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

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