Side Dish 

Limani Becomes Duro

Just when Limani is named one of Style Weekly's 50 best restaurants, it changes direction entirely. Chef/owner Matthew Tlusty has closed the fish grill Limani and reopened with a new theme, new menu and Superman-inspired color scheme of red, yellow and blue.

Duro, "a unique pasta experience" takes off at 3123 W. Cary with a soft opening this week and a daily schedule of lunch and dinner coming soon.

Tlusty, formerly of The Russian Tea Room in New York, says this concept was intended to be his second restaurant but the high cost of shipping fresh fish forced his hand. Now he's creating salmon manicotti, braised lamb shanks on rosemary fettuccine and other specifically non-Italian dishes using fresh pastas and orzos. "I'm not competing with Amici," he says of his Carytown neighbor. "This is something totally different."

Tlusty has deliberately overstaffed the front and back of the house, using Craigslist to advertise for "people who must love burning and bleeding," he laughs. In a survivor-style system, he'll winnow out the weakest performers and keep the rest on the payroll.

"Limani had phenomenal customers," Tlusty says, "and we were a little sad about closing. But Duro [which stands for a type of pasta flour] is doing everything the way I want it. Everything here is me."

Julian's Closes

Another Richmond tradition, Julian's, has closed. For 60 years the West Broad Street landmark was the gathering place for post-cotillion dinners, birthday parties and other group events. Its waitresses served baskets of buttery hot rolls with every meal, and regulars adored the red-sauce Italian dishes and pizzas.

But the building is being sold and the restaurant's West End location at 11129 Three Chopt Road is reportedly on the market as well.

Fun With Food

Franco's Ristorante: Spring Wine Tasting Dinner April 27. Passed hors d'oeuvres and a five-course sampling of the new spring menu with wine pairings. $85 per person is all-inclusive. 270-9124.

Wickham's Garden Café: Heart-healthy dinners to go are now available at the Valentine Richmond History Center at 1015 E. Clay St. The spot is popular with hospital workers, MCV students and tourists, who can pick up wraps, salads and soups in addition to the new Personal Chef to Go entrees packaged to heat and serve. Breakfast and lunch weekdays from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. 649-9550

Lewis Ginter Robins Tea House: Evening dining will be available during Historic Garden Week April 25-28. Dinner in the teahouse includes Thai chicken curry, seafood tempura and Oriental beef salad. Garden admission and reservations are required. 262-9887.

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