Friday, September 25, 2009

Le Rêve: Ron Bechtol on Weissman's surprise announcement

Posted on Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 6:35 PM

Pat Sharpe broke the news this afternoon on her Texas Monthly blog: Andrew Weissman will close Le Rêve; the announced wine bar in the Sandbar space will not happen. Though well-off foodies will mourn it, the decision actually means more Weissman in more accessible venues, to hear the chef tell it. Ron Bechtol digs deeper next week, but in the meantime, here are his notes from a minutes-ago phone call:

We knew that something was up when our waiter at Il Sogno last Tuesday night was Chris, a stalwart of Le Rêve. “We're only open Thursday through Saturday now,” he said. Okaaaaay â?¦

And now comes a call from Andrew: â??There's a lot going on right now,” he said. “We're closing Le Rêve and will be out by November 1." For all the right reasons, of course.

Among which was the feeling of being an absentee father for two young kids, the fact (and having spent time in the kitchen I can confirm the fact) that the setup at Le Rêve was far from ideal, and the apparent offer of exciting possibilities at Pearl: A continuation (even expansion) of the concentrated empire that will soon see Sandbar joining Il Sogno (by November 1 â?? or even sooner) is possible, with a Spanish tapas joint up in the air at the moment. Location to be determined.

“I'm not totally closing the book on Le Rêve,” he said. “Maybe one day an Upstairs at `Wherever`â?¦ operation where I can do fine dining for just a few people.” But Andrew considers the closing, even if temporary, a “win-win” for family and staff.

“Fabien `Jacob, whom Current readers know from Travels With Frenchie` can become wine director, James moves up as manager of `an expanded` Sandbar, all the `usable` equipment from Le Rêve moves right over to Sandbar, and I can be there at Il Sogno to keep Luca `Dellacassa` from making all the mistakes I made.”

“Why not leave while I'm on top?” he confided â?? with a justifiable degree of pride. If you want to experience “the top,” you have about a month. Make reservations at le Rêve now, before the downtown corner goes dark. -- Ron Bechtol

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