Manifesto and De-Novo get new chefs, menus

Beth Stallings, Columbus Crave

There are a lot of changes in the works for the FAB Dining Group-the restaurant collective that owns Downtown eateries Manifesto, De-Novo, Oliver's and The Meat Bar. Two of the company's four eateries have new chefs at the helm and new menus on the way.

It's all part of a shakeup to help her restaurants from getting complacent, says owner Yavonne Sarber.

At Manifesto: Formerly the head chef at Flip Side at Easton, chef Max Rice III is the new chef at Tuscan inspired and scotch bar Manifesto.

"He is a big time farm to plate guy," Sarber says, adding Rice has a close relationship withMKM farm in Baltimore, where he grows and sources a lot of ingredients."He's going to take Manifesto in that direction. The integrity of the food is going to change dramatically." While the Italian style dishes will remain, the tone will be more rustic, Sarber adds. Rice will roll out a new menu toward the middle of January. After that, Rice plans to host monthly scotch and wine dinners at the barn on on MKM farm.

"He lives and breathes food. He's really personable," Sarber says of Rice.

De-Novo Bistro & Bar: Around the corner, the Fab Dining Group's longest-running restaurant, De-Novo, has a new chef as well. Sous chef Alex Smith has been promoted to head chef, and last week rolled out a new menu.

"Something wasn't quite right," Sarber says of the previous menu. "It was really, really Southern. And although it was delicious, it's wasn't what De-Novo was supposed to be."

When it opened, De-Novo was an American-French bistro with a focus on what she calls "eccentric dishes" like kangaroo and rabbit, but also familiar fare, like Kobe beef sliders. Smith is bringing that focus back to the High Street restaurant. The menu features dishes like pan seared sea bass, braised rabbit and brick chicken, as well as camel Bolognese and kangaroo au poivre.