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Motif's new spot, new Sushi on the west side 

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Motif's move

Back in February, I reported on Motif's closure at 2432 Cucharras St., after six years in business, and the subsequent Venue 32 via chef Andrew Darrigan that should arise in its place this summer. We also heard from Motif's Steve Draper, who was in the process of finding a new location for a rebooted rendition of his jazz club, now called Motif Jazz Cafe.

Speaking with Draper last week, we've learned he's just finished demolition and should soon be underway with construction at 182 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd., behind Walter's Bistro in the Country Club Corners shopping center. He's optimistic about an August 1 opening date. He's also named names as to who's going to help him usher in the new nightclub/eatery by night (Thursdays through Saturdays) and deli by day (weekdays).

Chef Skip Curtis will create a new small-plate menu, having toiled at Trinity Brewing Co. in the past, as well as handling production and distribution for Crunchy Betty's Natural Market, a local Etsy business. Nate Stunkard, who bartended at the first Motif, will act as GM. And a French gentleman and multi-media artist named Jean-Paul Devarenne will lead up the original cocktail list and bar.

Draper says Curtis is working on the menu design, but says the result will be "all unique, for sure," noting natural, organic and local ingredients where possible. He says prices will range from lower-cost items like french fries to middle, with a few pricier plates. Curtis' only limitation will be no fried items, as Motif won't have a complete kitchen, so he'll bake and sauté. Sunday jazz brunches, on a patio when weather permits, will be a highlight, says Draper.

The former music teacher once again talks up the quality of music that will be on offer, with "even better acoustics." Local musicians, including Air Force faces, will hold court, though some touring acts are expected too. He credits Denver's Nocturne jazz club with partial inspiration for overall atmosphere.

New nigiri

In the space that was once Sakura Sushi at 3117 W. Colorado Ave., in the Red Rock Canyon shopping center, Nara Sushi & Grill (375-3186) recently opened.

Manager Kim Chung says Nara offers a selection of sushi, traditional Japanese entrées, Korean items, and Asian fusion plates. Her husband and co-owner Jay Chung formerly operated Samurai Japanese on North Academy Boulevard. She says a combination of the recession and family matters forced the couple, originally from Seoul, South Korea, to sell Samurai, but they've since wanted to be back in the restaurant business.

Jay employs two other sushi chefs, for a combined staff experience of more than 40 years making sushi, Kim says, adding "We can do everything."

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