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In With the New
North Siders were a bit surprised when the casual, seafood-centric LA Grill closed suddenly last year, then became a short-lived Italian joint, Mento's, for only a few weeks before going dark. Now the place, at 5516 Lakeside Ave., has another identity, New India,
and new owners, cousins Santokh and Malkiat Singh.
It's still a no-frills setting, but early raves for the food might indicate a level of stability in the food-conscious neighborhood. "We just want to let people know that we are here," Santokh says, "and that we have clay oven and tandoori dishes and many vegetarian items." They serve a lunch buffet daily as well as dinner, 5-9 p.m. 266-1170.
In Mechanicsville, another transformation has at least one Style Weekly reader raving about the shepherd's pie and beef stew at Dublin's
, an Irish pub in the old Mechanicsville Shopping Center. The place has a long, beer-soaked history as a less-than-fabulous watering hole, but new owners have upgraded the atmosphere, added darts and pool, and brought to the area a welcome a new gathering place with traditional flavors.
Also east of downtown, The Vine has opened. It's a salsa club at 6233 Mechanicsville Turnpike and promises the city's first authentic salsa experience. 539-8720. Once Upon a Vine South
opened last month in the Stratford Hills Shopping Center. Brothers Tomy and Ben Harris join Bob Kocher in the venture, which builds on the long-established buzz of the North Side location on MacArthur Avenue. The new shop has a boast-worthy inventory that's especially needed south of the river. "We have the largest beer box in Richmond with 14 doors," Ben Harris says, "and a huge selection of international beers and Virginia wines." The shop also sells deli meats, savories and sweets, specialty glassware and seasonal brews. Emily Casey brings her beer-buying expertise from the mothership store to the new location, which is open daily. 864-9463.