Chef Lou's on 8th Street - Ahi 

On the Southside of 8th Street ...

Chef Lou Aaron is moving in.

After spending the last 13 years revolutionizing the old-school drive-in burger business by expanding the genre's typical menu with homecooked classics like spaghetti, prime rib and a list of take-and-bake meals, the man who gave Idaho the ice cream potato is venturing into business in BoDo. On August 28, Chef Lou's at Eighth Street opens in the former Bistro@BoDo location—a space that just can't seem to shake its association with various incarnations of "the Klatsch"—but with a makeover. It's roasted-pepper red and yellow inside these days, with seven new booths and plenty of plants and pictures.

Chef Lou, as he's known around town, left the higher-end restaurant business in 1994 after serving as top chef for Murphy's Seafood Bar and Grill and explains his current expansion as a natural direction for his career and those of his staff.

"I have some employees who have been with me for a long time at Westside, and I saw it as an opportunity for them to grow," says Chef Lou. "It fell into my lap and BoDo is really hot, it's growing, and it was just a natural for us to go over there."

Describing the menu as American food with a Southern influence, Chef Lou says, "It's familiar stuff with a fresh twist. I'll be utilizing quite a few of my recipes from television, and while we're taking a couple of things from Westside, like the Monte Cristo, it's not Westside at all."

Clark Ketchum, McGrath's Fish House's former corporate chef who also did a stint with Ram International (Murphy's parent company), will run Aaron's new kitchen, delivering up a fresh sheet addendum to a menu that initially will feature only breakfast and lunch. Breakfast includes the usual eggs, omelet, and pancake options, but with more pizzazz than the first meal of the day is used to seeing. Scrambles are mixed with salmon, trout and shrimp, French toast is dipped in egg nog. The pancakes are lemon ricotta. Even oatmeal has a unique Chef Lou approach as oatmeal brulee. Lunch will, of course, feature a menu of salads and sandwiches, but with a heavy emphasis on starters.

Anticipate brunch near the end of September, and dinner service is planned to begin just about the time Thanksgiving rolls around.

Chef Lou's at Eighth Street, 409 S. 8th St., 208-331-2080. Open Monday through Saturday, 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. starting August 28.

Fish For the Bird 'Burb

Now we bring you news of a restaurant that is open. But first, I have to lament that perhaps I spoke too soon three weeks ago when I dared to muse about the fact that nearly a year had passed since I'd written about the opening of a new sushi joint. Since that comment, there's been news of the raw every week. (Dare I instigate the dough-throwin' contingency by saying they're losing in the pizza vs. sushi battle?)

This, however, is news beyond Boise's borders in a 'hood that really did need a sushi restaurant. Ahi Sushi opened August 3, offering traditional sushi and Japanese cuisine in Eagle. The restaurant is run by husband and wife team Randy and Tawnie Makua and a third business partner, Kenji Aoshima. It features what Tawnie Makua says are traditional Japanese-style rolls as well as more traditional sauces for a "regular sushi bar" kind of feel. But because not everyone in Idaho embraces food in the raw, Ahi's menu offers a substantial number of fully cooked menu items. Just less than half of the rolls feature only cooked fish in addition to a list of non-roll items sans raw meats.

Randy Makua, who acts as head chef, started rolling under a traditional Japanese sushi chef in San Diego 13 years ago, before becoming the first to offer catered sushi in the southern California city. And apparently, the Makuas' staff enjoys working under the couple. Ahi's rolling team is composed of employees who followed the couple to Idaho from San Diego.

Ahi Sushi, 1193 E. Winding Creek, Ste. 104, Eagle. 208-938-3474.

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