We’re always on the lookout for restaurant news here at Food Republic. And news we often receive — we’re constantly pitched on restaurants that have pledged to open their doors in the near future, only to eventually learn about inevitable roadblocks and delays that have us questioning whether we should cover a restaurant during our fall preview — one that we may have already mentioned in our spring preview, months before. Such is the unpredictable nature of the restaurant world.
We’ve worked diligently to assemble this short roundup of promising restaurants that we are certain have recently opened for business and of the newest announcements we’ve come across regarding restaurants certain to open in the near future. Well, fairly certain. Take a look and be sure to reserve your table today!
Renowned chef Ken Oringer’s Japanese concept Uni has reopened in Boston’s Back Bay, transforming from an intimate sashimi bar to a 96-seat restaurant with a sleek and modern feel — the interior will use elements of dark rustic wood and colorful tattoo-inspired art. While continuing to use the freshest seafood from Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji market and local New England fishermen, the team will now offer creative nigiri and maki, as well as a variety of street food–inspired plates from the kitchen. Diners can expect dishes like seared Korean rice cake, brown butter roasted abalone and Vietnamese bologna bánh mì tartine. The bar program is run by Jason Kilgore (most recently at the Hawthorne) and intermingles classic cocktail technique and playful tiki-style concoctions showcasing blended spirits, fresh juices and house-made sours to complement the umami of the menu. There are also more than 20 types of sake available. 370 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215; uni-boston.com
Frenchie Covent Garden
Gregory Marchand’s hugely popular restaurant Frenchie (along with Frenchie Wine Bar and Frenchie to Go) opened its first site outside Paris earlier this week on Henrietta Street in London, where the chef has spent several long periods cooking. Marchand has cooked at the Savoy Grill, Mandarin Oriental and Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, where his nickname “Frenchie” first stuck. The menu at Frenchie Covent Garden will echo its Parisian counterpart with simple and generous, yet precise dishes heavily influenced by the chef’s travels from London to New York (where he cooked at Gramercy Tavern) through Spain and Hong Kong — while utilizing British produce. The opening-day lunch menu at the 60-cover, two-floor restaurant included Cornish cod with button mushrooms, shitake and Meyer lemon, as well as Yorkshire chicken with salsify and kumquat. The beverage program features an ever-changing, carefully selected wine list focused on Old World wines, craft beers and seasonal cocktails. 16 Henrietta St, London WC2E 8QH; frenchiecoventgarden.com
Portland’s dining scene has never been stronger, but award-winning chef José Chesa and his wife, Cristina Baéz, can officially lay claim to opening the city’s first dedicated xurreria. The two will bring authentic Spanish xurros (churros) to Portlanders as celebratory treats, morning indulgences or satisfying snacks. Fried at about 180 degrees C (hence the name), the xurros are made to order, ready to be dipped in house-made drinking chocolate, marshmallow cream or caramel/peanut butter sauce and alongside hot coffee from Local Roasting Co. A number of filled xurros are also available, including traditional crema catalane, dulce de leche and chocolate with Jacobsen’s salt. The menu also showcases coca bread, a flatbread native to Catalonia. The team has recruited longtime friend David Martin as a chef and partner — the three met while working at three-Michelin-starred Restaurant Racó de Can Fabes in Sant Celoni, Spain, back in 2004. From fine dining to xurros — now that’s true passion. 2218 NE Broadway St., Portland, OR 97232; 180pdx.com
Helmed by nationally renowned and James Beard Award–winning chef Paul Qui, Otoko is the third of three restaurants to inhabit the South Congress Hotel. The intimate, 12-seat space will blend Tokyo-style sushi and Kyoto-style kaiseki as part of its multicourse omakase menu, based on availability and seasonality. Beverage pairing options include beer, wine, sake, non-alcoholic or reserve wines and premium sake. While reservations for the restaurant, opening in March, will be available to the public on a month-to-month basis beginning on Monday, Otoko email subscribers receive exclusive access to reservations beginning tomorrow morning. 1603 S. Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78704; otokoaustin.com
Charleston, South Carolina
Michael Toscano left his post as executive chef and owner of New York City’s Perla in spring 2015, relocating to Charleston with his family. He and his wife will take over the Leaf Restaurant space this spring to open Le Farfalle, a neighborhood restaurant featuring regional Italian food. All pasta will be made in house, and there will be a focus on local and seasonably appropriate vegetable and seafood dishes. The venue will also continue to offer outdoor seating on the back patio. Sample dishes include agnolotti al sugo d’arrosto with roasted chicken and fungi misti; nontraditional porchetta with a pickled cherry pepper glassato; and a house-made couscous alla trapanese with saffron, lobster, crab and swordfish. 15 Beaufain St., Charleston, SC 29401
New York, New York
Kossar’s Bagels & Bialys
After a four-month renovation, and just in time for its 80th birthday, the iconic Kossar’s Bagels & Bialys is reopening tomorrow morning. While New York City’s bagels are frequently the topic of much acclaim, its bialys are often not given proper recognition. In addition to a storefront refresh (which is bright and clean, yet retains a classic feel), Kossar’s has added several noteworthy items, including the option to have your bagel or bialy “schmeared” on site with a variety of spreads, including peanut and almond butter, hummus and a large assortment of smoked fish and salads. The shop will also boast a line of house-made flavored cream cheeses that include lox, double onion, “everything bagel,” sundried tomato, horseradish and pickle, and more. Staples like chocolate babka, rugelach, challah and mini black and white cookies will remain on offer, and the store will debut a selection of classic Jewish sandwiches. Stop by the oldest remaining bialy bakery in the U.S. (and the only dedicated bialy bakery left in NYC) to taste what just might be the most overlooked baked bread out there. 367 Grand St., New York, NY 10002; kossars.com