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Posted at 11:20 AM ET, 08/24/2009

Sou'Wester Set to Sail

By Tom Sietsema

Guests at the Mandarin Oriental will be among the first to get a taste of the replacement for the Asian-themed Café MoZU, which is quietly opening Sept. 8 for those staying in the hotel and officially serving the rest of us beginning Sept. 14, announces Eric Ziebold.

The chef of CityZen, the Mandarin Oriental's luxury retreat, is taking some ribbing for the name of the new venue: Sou'Wester. "We wanted a nautical theme," explains Ziebold, who last month was forced to abandon his original choice, South by Southwest, when officials of the Austin-based music festival of the same name complained.

As reported earlier, Rachel Harriman, Ziebold's former sous chef, will be the top toque at Sou'Wester. She'll be whipping up chicken and dumplings, rockfish with collard greens and fried apple pie, which Ziebold describes as "McDonald's on steroids."

Carlton McCoy, a former captain at CityZen, has been named the sommelier at the new restaurant. A preview of his cocktail program has us smacking our lips. Among McCoy's creations are "Southern Tea" stoked with tea-infused Maker's Mark and peach syrup, and a "lemonade" swirled with lavender syrup and limoncello.

Happy hour at Sou'Wester will run from 3 to 5 p.m. seven days a week. Tentatively called "Country Time," the event will feature $7 cocktails and snacks -- including tater tots fashioned from cured, aged, smoked, braised and minced ham hocks.

FYI: CityZen closed for its usual summer vacation after dinner service Saturday night. (It reopens Sept. 11.) Hoping to clean out the kitchen before the restaurant went dark, Ziebold sent out extra canapes and lobster, duck and rouget courses -- "all the odds and ends" -- to his hundred or so lucky customers.

-- Tom Sietsema

By Tom Sietsema  | August 24, 2009; 11:20 AM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  | Tags:  Tom Sietsema  
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