For your Amuse-ment

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It's not yet entirely clear when the doors will open at Starwood's 200-room Le Meridien (in the former Y at 1421 Arch St.), one of two new Center City hotels.

But here's early word on Amuse, the hotel restaurant.

The French-style bistro will be in the lobby, mixing the former Arch Street YMCA's neoclassic architecture with a sleek and modern look. The intimate main dining room will seat 35, and a private room can accommodate 25.

The name is a pun: English for "fun" and French for "amuse-bouche" -- that tiny gift from the chef that starts a meal. Amuse executive chef Dan Black will send 'em out to patrons with each drink at the 18-seat bar (click for the second photo), which will be smack in the middle of the lobby. Most signature cocktails are under $9.

Menus are still being drafted, but I got a peek at notes:.

Breakfast includes classics as well as the "Eye Openers" line of smoothies designed by Le Meridien consulting chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

Black's draft lunch menu consists of a mere seven starters and eight entrees; he has eight and eight for dinner.

Examples: salad Nicoise, onion soup gratinee, burger, duck confit, half-chicken, salmon, escargots. Dinner-entree prices top out at $21, except for ...

... the steak frites, the specialty of the house ($24, or $18 at lunch). Black will sear hangar steak and serve it with shallot-tarragon pesto and bearnaise aioli, and a ration of pommes frites.

Black is a grad of the Culinary and Hospitality Institute of Chicago and is a Diplome of Le Cordon Bleu. Last stop was the Equinox Hotel in Manchester, Vt.

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