FOOD- DISH- A yen for Ten: New sushi venue in Capshaw net

You suspect he's not kidding when the director of operations for a new restaurant owned by Coran Capshaw says, "There has been no expense spared to bring in the best."

That's the word from Michael Keaveny, who's overseeing the creation of a new contemporary Japanese restaurant and sushi bar. 

Located on the Downtown Mall directly above Capshaw's Blue Light Grill, it is named Ten– which means "heaven" or "sky" in Japanese. Featuring its own four-stroke Japanese symbol that looks like a funky "F" (or a stick figure man without a head), the new addition to restaurateur/real estate mogul/band manager Coran Capshaw's collection aims to be a perfect 10.  

"We're going to be bringing in fish from all over the world," says Keaveny, "so we can get the stuff that was swimming yesterday."

In addition to searching the world for fresh fish and commissioning a fresh look from Formworks Designs, the local firm that has done all of Capshaw's restaurants, Keaveny says he has also been searching the world for the best Japanese chefs.

Bryan Emperor comes fresh from opening an exclusive Japanese restaurant in Beijing, and has worked at both Nobu and Megu in New York City, two highly acclaimed Japanese restaurants. 

"God himself couldn't get a nine o'clock reservation at the New York restaurant Nobu on a weekend, not unless He had an in with [part owner] Robert De Niro," gushes Jonathan Gold in Gourmet. Of Emperor's other employer, Megu, New York magazine's Hal Rubenstein writes, "Megu offers so much magnificent food, that, though your initial disorientation never fully subsides, you wind up too exhilarated to care." Keaveny says another worldwide search is under way for Ten's sushi chef.

According to Keaveny, Ten will have room for about 70 people, adopt the "shared plate concept" of Bang and Capshaw's own Mas, offer a cocktail bar, and serve food until midnight. No opening date has been set yet, but Keaveny says they're shooting for the end of August. 

Mark Addy saved

Lots of people in mid-life dream of leaving the rat race and opening an inn or a bed and breakfast, but how many people actually do it?

Leslie Tal, 48, used to commute three to four hours a day to her job as a financial manager for a software company in NoVa, while her husband, Rafael, 56, searched for meaningful work. Then one day the couple and their three children decided to change everything. In search of a more serene lifestyle, they traveled the world looking for an inn to buy. For two years they searched, looking in Arizona, Florida, New Hampshire, Texas, Italy, and Israel. As it turned out, the perfect place was in their own backyard. 

"Rafael thought it was about as good as Tuscany," says Tal, talking about the view from the Mark Addy– a Nellysford landmark that has spectacular views of the Rockfish Valley– which the couple purchased in February. "It was the right place at the right time," she says.

The Tals bought the inn from John Maddox, a New York stage actor and caterer who opened the Mark Addy in 1993 with his mother, Joanne Maddox after carefully restoring the 19th-century farmhouse, elegantly decorating each room, and building a reputation for fine cuisine. After Joanne Maddox died in 2002, her son decided it was time to move on. The sale of the property meant it could have become a private residence again, but the Tals had other ideas.

"The reputation of the Inn was impeccable," says Tal.

In April, the Tals opened their kitchen to the public, with Rafael in the kitchen and Leslie working the floor. "I'm the schmoozer and gracious host," she says, "and he's the artist."

Rafael, a self-taught cook whose international background inspires his dishes, is a bit of a perfectionist, according to his wife. "He's also very big on presentation," she says. "He uses a lot of color from our gardens...everything is very pretty."

And tasty as well. According to Leslie Tal, guests have been known to gnaw unceremoniously on the bones of the Inn's Tuscan lamb chops, and the filet mignon braised and grilled in a brandy cream sauce makes mouths water.

Now that the Tals have perfected their menu, they're eager to get the word out. "Our strategy from the beginning was to go slow, not too much volume, so we could refine things a bit," says Leslie Tal. "But we're ready for a little more volume now."

Here that, Dishers? The Mark Addy Inn is calling your name, the lamb chops are waiting, and those heavenly Rockfish Valley sunsets just might put a little more serenity in your life. 

"Heaven" above the Blue Light Grill? Capshaw's new restaurant aims to be a perfect Ten, Japanese style.