First, the casualty list. I am getting really tired of reporting on all the great local restaurants that are closing around town. I only wish people got tired of eating chicken strips at Bennigan's. Nouveau Noodles, the multiethnic East Mountains restaurant that was much mentioned in our last Readers Choice Restaurant Poll, has closed. Last week, owner Robert Griego sent a farewell e-mail to his loyal customers, saying, “As many of you may know (or have seen when you are here) that business has steadily declined, and the trends are getting worse rather than better.” The closure means Griego is looking for a new location in which to hold the series of wine classes he had planned for Nouveau Noodles. I expect we haven't seen the last of Griego, who was formerly a manager at Blue Corn Café and Brewery (now known as Chama River Brewing Company).
In addition, both locations of Zeus Juice (Central and Girard, Central and Fourth Street) were shuttered recently. The juice bars also sold nutritional supplements and health food supplies. No official word yet on new projects for the Zeus folks, or what tenants might replace them.
It's lights out for the two remaining family-owned locations of Rex's Hamburgers (Wyoming and Academy, Coors and Montaño). A company spokesman declined to elaborate on the closures. Phone numbers for several other locations, which had been franchised, were disconnected.
On a happier note, AmerAsia (Lead and Cornell, 266-8400) has a new owner--one who's worked there since the dim sum restaurant opened in 1981. Hyangami Yi bought the place from founder Mickie Sharp, who retired to concentrate on her artwork. I dropped in for lunch recently and am happy to report that the change has been smooth. The only thing that's changed in years is that they're serving dinner on Friday and Saturday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, over in Old Town, Seasons Rotisserie and Grill (San Felipe and Mountain, 766-5100) is expecting to be closed from Sunday, April 3, through Wednesday, April 6. The brief closure will allow them to replace a water-damaged wood floor in the downstairs dining room. When the restaurant reopens on Thursday, it will boast not only a shiny, new floor, but also a new booze and food menus for the just-opened rooftop patio. Tantalizing new menu items include french fries coated in melted Asiago cheese and drizzled with white truffle oil; a grilled steak salad with baby spinach, arugula and Gorgonzola; a tempura-battered soft shell crab sandwich. And if you like tequila (or if you're willing to be persuaded), try a new cocktail they're calling the Angry Bee. Mixologist Randy Koleski infuses 1800 Reposado tequila with green chile, sweetens it with a honey syrup, adds freshly squeezed lime juice and Cointreau. It's a very New Mexican twist on the margarita. Check it out.