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Tasty restaurant gossip

Break out the expense accounts, because Morton’s The Steakhouse will open on the ground floor of the Downtown Brooklyn Marriott hotel in late 2008. The 14,500-square-foot lease to “the world’s largest operator of company-owned upscale steakhouses” comes as a surprise to fans of the Marriott’s Archives restaurant (333 Adams St. at Tillary Street in Downtown Brooklyn), which shares its decor aesthetic with those red meat temples.

But the Brooklyn Marriott’s Steve Kunz, director of restaurants, said that his Archives team is hard at work on ways to keep up with its planned downstairs rival that may include renovations in the dining room.

In fact, Kunz said there has already been a staff change in the kitchen.

“Three weeks ago, we hired Chef Ralph Romano,” said Kunz, who was impressed by Romano’s experience dishing up northern Italian cuisine at the upscale Tuscany’s Restaurant in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Kunz said he and Romano are crafting a new menu for Archives that will be unveiled at the end of January.

As for the new Morton’s — which will be serving up its signature USDA prime-aged, Midwest grain-fed beef, shipped from Chicago — it’s expected to have seating for 125 in the main dining room, 100 in its exclusive private boardrooms and 70 in its bar.

While GO Brooklyn likes dining out, we do understand that some folks would prefer to stay home, especially if they shelled out for an apartment in one of DUMBO’s glittery apartment towers. So, in a very neighborly move, Hecho en DUMBO (111 Front St. at Washington Street in DUMBO) has started delivering its tasty Mexican tapas, including our favorite, the tiny crab tacos called “picaditas de jaiba.”

Over in Park Slope, the gourmet grocery trend has been going strong for a while, but this past weekend a new contender, Union Market (402 Seventh Ave. at 12th Street in Park Slope), opened its doors. Early buzz is that the selection is great, but the aisles aren’t quite wide enough to avoid stroller jams. Shoppers who successfully maneuver the store can reward themselves with a pint at suds depot Beer Table (427 Seventh Ave. at 14th Street in Park Slope), which recently opened just up the street.

And in the unlikely case that we were to try actually making something — besides reservations, of course — ourselves, now we’ve got another new option for sundries. In Williamsburg, Lodge owner Aaron Woolf, along with Dan Cipriani and Luis Illades, have just opened Urban Rustic (236 N. 12th St. at Union Avenue in Williamsburg), a much-needed shop that stocks locally sourced food and features a deli counter and sit-down dining area.

But delivery is more our style, and it seems that pizza is the hottest dish in Brooklyn Heights. At Oven (60 Henry St. at Cranberry Street in Brooklyn Heights), rumor — well, a press release — has it that local celebs such as Paul Giamatti and Gabriel Byrne are lining up for the gourmet pies. We’ve had a few memorable meals there ourselves and only hope that all the famous faces don’t mean longer waits for us!

As far as making memories goes, nobody does it quite like the International House of Pancakes. As a brooding teenager, this GO Brooklynite loved the bottomless pot of coffee and ruining his appetite for dinner with short stacks of pancakes. Now the flapjack behemoth has opened a new branch at 276 Livingston St., at Bond Street in Downtown Brooklyn. Pass the syrup!

And it isn’t just our waistlines that are expanding this season. Tanoreen Caterers (7704 Third Ave. at 77th Street in Bay Ridge), the super-popular Middle Eastern eatery, is moving when its lease is up to a nearby space with more space.

Meanwhile, over in Williamsburg, Peter Luger (178 Broadway at Driggs Avenue in Williamsburg) just opened a second dining room five years in the making.

And back in DUMBO, Retreat (147 Front St. at Jay Street in DUMBO) has opened “Lowroom,” a party space where you can throw a bash and take advantage of owner Jason Stevens’s wide variety of liquors and extensive tapas menu.

— with additional reporting by Lisa J. Curtis

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