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Richard Blais, the brilliant young chef whose namesake restaurant crashed and burned after less than six months, is now chef at Bazzaar. I like this new venue about 100 times more than the earlier one -- a sleek and gloomy Johnson Studio space that, despite its smooth eclat, was a poor stage for Blais' playful cuisine. Bazzaar is a completely kinky-looking space whose downstairs is full of plushly upholstered velvet furniture in bright blues and reds. It's perfectly appropriate for the man kinky enough to turn foie gras into a milkshake. We ate upstairs in the regular dining room and my first compliment goes to the killer staff. Our server Ben, Waitron of the Week, is a place-kicker on Georgia Tech's football team with a wry demeanor and nicely gelled hair. If he decides not to be an engineer, he could make a career out of waiting tables. Blais' menu at Bazzaar -- arranged into micro-, mini- and macro-plates -- is smaller overall and the cuisine is not quite as capricious as it was at Blais. Nothing is served in baby food jars or tuna fish cans. It all seems a bit more grounded, but with fabulous flashes. Ravioli made of layered prosciutto, for example, is served over fresh chopped figs with parmesan whipped until frothy and garnished with micro-arugula. Minced Kobe beef tartare with Asian pear is served with a raw egg that's been injected with sesame oil and cracked open on the plate. Delicate salmon is bathed in lime juice, served over cubes of sweet watermelon and topped by a hunk of avocado lathered with horseradish turned into foam. Cubes of tofu are "chicken-fried" so they are crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside and served with "inflated" edamame -- light green cream that captures the essence of the Japanese soy beans -- and a hot pepper jelly (substituting for the usual sweet-and-sour emulsion). My favorite dish was the short rib, tender but not degraded, served in a shallow pool of beet juice, seasoned with dill and rye, and coated with horseradish foam. Wayne ordered mouth-melting halibut served over al dente "linquine" made of squid studded with springy prawns in an herbal-lemon butter. For dessert, I had Key lime pie "deconstructed" into its three elements, while Wayne ordered a chocolate tart. Go for the pie. But, whatever, go. I have a feeling Blais won't be in our town long and you must experience his cuisine.

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