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Grand Opening
The fourth Sun Ray Grill opened in the refurbished American Can Company (3700 Orleans Ave., 274-0091) on June 30, eight years to the day after proprietor Dana Deutsch launched the original in Gretna. Each of the locations, says Deutsch, establishes its own identity by answering its neighborhood's desires. The favorite entree so far in Mid-City is the spit-roasted pork loin with red onion jam and sweet potato crisps. An outdoor covered patio was prime real estate when I spoke to Deutsch during mid-August's mild spell. Sun Ray Grill No. 4 is open for lunch, dinner and in-between daily.

Strong Start
Saltwater Grill & Oyster Bar
(1320 S. Carrollton Ave., 324-6640) hosted a strong lunch crowd when I dropped in two weeks ago, roughly four months after it opened. Proprietors and seasoned restaurant professionals Russell Davis, William McIntyre and Floyd Murphy set out to offer Uptown a quality neighborhood restaurant highlighting Louisiana and Gulf seafood. Other than its bed of dry romaine lettuce, my shrimp remoulade with sliced avocado was a winner, the avocado's bland richness cushioning the red remoulade's sharp mustard. At the time of this writing, the Saltwater Grill was open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday; look for Sunday brunch soon.

Grand Opening II
Eighty percent of the proceeds from Sekisui Samurai's (239 Decatur St., 525-9595) grand opening, to run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7, will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Louisiana. For $60, guests will enjoy cocktails, sakes, wines and Japanese beers, as well as an unlimited buffet. Call 846-WISH for tickets and more information. Sekisui Samurai, partly named for the location's predecessor, Samurai Sushi, is the 14th Sekisui restaurant in the Southeast; it features a sushi bar and a full menu of traditional and contemporary Japanese cooking executed by Chef Sean Yeh.

Letter Perfect
This week's cookbook pick is The Great Book of Chocolate: The Chocolate Lover's Guide With Recipes (Ten Speed Press, $16.95), authored by David Lebovitz, a former Chez Panisse pastry chef. It's a narrow paperback, compact enough to shove into a backpack before jetting off to Paris (Lebovitz devotes an entire chapter to chocolate in Paris) or into a purse en route to the doctor for your cholesterol results (another chapter details chocolate's health benefits). Or you could always try cooking. The Deep Dark Chocolate Truffles sound awfully good.

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