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Flight of Fancy: Bistro takes off

Contemporary art from Shanghai adorns the walls of David Du's much-anticipated new restaurant, Dd33 Asian Bistro, now serving dinner and winning wows for its city-chic décor, top-shelf liquors and trend-setting fusion cuisine.

Diners are discovering an oasis of originality amid the franchises of Innsbrook/Short Pump, and they're ordering Mongolian pork chops, miso-glazed Alaskan sable fish, duck quesadillas and chili-coconut shrimp more quickly than Chef Michael Tam could have predicted in the opening weeks.

At the bar, Tokyo Margaritas, Fortune Cookies and other custom drinks are piquing interest with their unusual citrus and liqueur flavorings.

Lunch service is expected to begin in early December.

The bistro is open nightly at 3601-A Cox Road in the Twin Oaks shopping center, where another local eatery, Ipanema Grill, also runs a solid and bustling operation. Combine these two with longtime favorite Patina Grill, and the neighborhood has become a new culinary destination for the independents on the western edge of metro Richmond.

A Fabio With Taste

Forget that long-haired goon; foodies prefer executive chef Fabio Trabocchi of the Ritz Carlton's Maestro restaurant at Tyson's Corner. He'll be in Richmond demonstrating recipes from his new cookbook, "Cucina of Le Marche," Dec. 4.

The book-signing event is sponsored by Fountain Bookstore and Mise En Place in Shockoe Slip and begins at 6:30 p.m. Expect to sample some of Trabocchi's authentic Italian fare and hear tales of life and cuisine in his hometown. The $70 price includes cookbook. 249-1332 or

Vino Mangia Vino

Chef Andy Howell of Avenue 805, long known for his lively personality, brings together Mediterranean fare made with seasonal ingredients and "the sexy wines of Alcesti," as he describes the unlikely marriage, in a wine dinner set for Dec. 7. "We respectfully suggest that you attend," he urges the faithful.

Guests will indulge in a five-course meal featuring six Sicilian wines for $45 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are held with a credit card. 353-2505.

Caffeine, New Thai, Meals To-Go

Robert Fisher, former co-owner of Coffe Nostra, has a new coffee business in the same spot, The Black Hand Coffee Company at 606 N. Sheppard St. where he's serving made-to-order espresso drinks and pastries daily.

Where Saigon 2000 used to be, the new Thai restaurant Chadar is in business at 8030-A W. Broad St. 270-9393.

Rebecca's in Maidens Loop is a new carry-out business offering lunches and dinners-to-go in Goochland. Rebecca Lette is offering boxed lunches such as ham with fruit chutney on a warm biscuit, or roast beef with Stilton on a kaiser roll, with side dish and cookie. Dinners are based on monthly menus and can include beef Stroganoff, meatloaf, baked chicken and pork tenderloin. Side salads, gourmet cheeses, quiches, cheesecakes, pastries and other items can be purchased at the shop.

"These are a fresh alternative for the home or office," Lette says, "with all freshly prepared foods that are beautifully presented." She says a crème brûlée croissant is a particular favorite with customers.

The storefront is at 2746 A Maidens Loop off Route 522 near the bridge. It is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Outdoor dining is available, and customers can call ahead for larger orders or catering. (804) 556-5066. S

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