Squeeze me

Squeeze me

Correction Appended

There used to be an honest-to-god juice bar in town, called Liquid, and when it closed almost exactly three years ago it left a giant smoothie-shaped hole in the local scene. (As anyone who’s ever visited that spot’s current tenant, Atomic Burrito, can tell you, wheat grass is no longer in the house.) Accordingly, juiceheads will be happy to hear that their banana-strawberry-papaya-and-mango-all-together cravings have found a champion in Andreas Gaynor. In a somewhat unusual arrangement, Gaynor plans to operate a juice bar during daytime hours in year-old Downtown cocktail bar Kiki.

Feeling the squeeze? Andreas Gaynor will pulverize all kinds of fruits and veggies, then serve them up at Kiki, starting next month.

“I’m so lucky that Jeannie has the vision to let me do it,” says Gaynor. He’s referring to Kiki owner Jeannie Brown, whose establishment is known for fresh-fruit cocktails and for being, as Gaynor puts it, “so good-looking.” Besides the turnkey style of the space, he’s banking on his smoothie experience at his former Downtown ventures City Centro and Fusion. (Having Bikram Hot Yoga right next door, disgorging its health-conscious, dehydrated and dangerously relaxed patrons into the street, surely can’t hurt either. If Salad Creations ever materializes across the street, as it’s been threatening to, we’ll have to dub this block of Fifth Street the Downtown Health District.)

You’re looking at some true, actual juice here, says Gaynor. “We are going to stay away from syrups and powders,” he pledges. “We’re going to have chunky juice, pure juice where it’s not so cold. You can choose what you want and we’ll put it together for you. It’s made in front of you.” Some of the fruits and veggies will be organic, and if you feel the need to pile on the nutrition you can add supplements to your drink. We can almost feel the vitamins coursing through our veins.

Start imagining flavor combos now; Gaynor plans to open December 15.   

Orzo, they say

As we reported back in September, the onetime Ciboulette spot in the Main Street Market has new owners (Charles Roumeliotes, Katherine Korloff and Ken and Laura Wooten) and a new name (Orzo Kitchen & Wine Bar). And, after a remarkably speedy transition, it now has open doors, too. We stopped in last week, on the second day of Orzo’s lunch service, to take a look and a taste.

First impression: It’s recognizable as the onetime Ciboulette. The retail wine area’s in the same spot, and the long counter and deli cases still stretch from front to back, sheltering an open kitchen. But now a half-dozen or so seats cosy up to the wine bar, and dark wood tables line the opposite wall.

Menu: Some pastas, some sandwiches, some salads. We went for a cheerful carrot-ginger soup and an artful appetizer: grilled baguette slices with artichoke-fava bean spread, truffle oil, and a nest of baby arugula. Had we been feeling hungrier, we could have gone for pan-roasted salmon; had we been feeling saucier, we could have gotten a glass of wine—say, the 2004 Sibacha Garnacha. We did, however, manage to find some room for the very satisfying chocolate pot de crème. (Wait, is this a work day? we thought, somewhere around the fourth spoonful.)

Service: friendly and professional, with that note of near-surprise that’s unique to freshly opened restaurants. (“One for lunch? Really?”) We consider it an indicator of the saturated local scene that a place like this, which is perfectly stylish and tasty and has a something-for-everyone Mediterranean menu, will have to work so hard to distinguish itself. We’ll see how it pans out.

Got some restaurant scoop? Send your tips to restaurantarama@c-ville.com or call 817-2749, Ext. 48.

Correction: Dec. 12, 2006

In the November 28 issue, Restaurantarama misspelled the name of one of the owners of Orzo Kitchen & Wine Bar. She is Katherine Kroloff.