Jeffery Beers'–designed Toy in New York City co-mingles fine dining with a nightclub's dramatic mirrored fractal ceiling. Photo by Eric Laignel.
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September 2012 Birth Announcements

Juliet Glass / September 2012

PORTLAND, MAINE
The culinary luminary, Carmen González, spices things up in New England with the June launch of her Latino-accented Carmen at the Danforth (163 Danforth Street). Her first restaurant in several years, the 40 seater is tucked into The Danforth boutique hotel and is broken into four distinct areas, each with varying styles that wander from the masculine black-and-gray color scheme of the front dining room to the more rustic mood in the space housing the private chef’s table. Apps ($8 to $15): local monkfish croquettes with romesco sauce; salad of avocado, heirloom tomatoes, local greens, queso blanco croutons, and creamy cilantro vinaigrette. Mains ($24 to $28): Maine hake with boniato mash, artichokes, and criolla sauce (an Argentinean sauce made with peppers, onions, tomatoes, and garlic); grilled skirt steak with hand-cut yuca fries and chimichurri sauce. Desserts ($8 to $10): crema de chocolate with caramelized pineapple and salty nuts; flan with caramel sauce.

BOSTON
Chef Bill Brodsky, who made a name for himself during his tenure at Cape Cod’s tony Wequassett Resort and Golf Club (Harwich, MA), launched his first Boston restaurant, City Landing, at the waterfront location of 255 State Street in July. The airy contemporary space, decked out with dark woods and tiled columns, offers 175 guests lush banquette seating. The menu reflects Brodsky’s New England sensibility and fine dining background, recalibrated for a more casual experience. Apps ($10 to $16): Northern shrimp n’ grits (roasted peppers, linguiça sausage, and polenta); mini butter-poached Maine lobster roll on Portuguese bread with micro celery. Mains ($14 to $36): coffee- and brown sugar–cured beef tenderloin with avocado/heirloom tomato salad and mole rojo; pan-roasted flounder with tomatoes, asparagus, artichoke crisps, and Champagne mustard/butter sauce. Desserts ($6 to $10): coconut cream tart with caramel/Bourbon/toffee sauce; warm blondie sundae with white chocolate/espresso ice cream, almond praline, and dulce de leche sauce.

NEW YORK CITY
In June, Matthew Hamilton (recently chef/co-owner of Belcourt) and his wife, Po Kutchins, opened their first hometown restaurant, the tiny 30 seat Lulu & Po (named for daughter and mother) at 154 Carlton Avenue in Brooklyn. The casual spot sports a modern rustic look, playing wood-paneled ceilings off poured cement flooring; Edison lights and subway tiles round out the design. Apps ($5 to $12): grilled mozzarella with bagna caudà and tomato sauce; calves’ liver crostini with juniper butter and red onions. Mains ($15 to $17): seared fluke with tomatoes, guanciale, and Parmesan; skirt steak with chimichurri sauce. Desserts ($5 to $8): syllabub; strawberry rhubarb shortbread with whipped cream.

In June, twin brothers and nightlife visionaries Derek and Daniel Koch (Dual Groupe) teamed up with China Grill Management to replace Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC Hotel’s Tanuki Tavern and Carte Blanche with Toy, an Asian themed restaurant with all the trappings of a stylish nightclub, from a live DJ to aerialists dancing in cages suspended over communal tables. Seating 195 indoors and outside on the terrace, Jeffrey Beers International designed the space to be downtown fashionable, layering glass, laser lighting, and scrims for a bit of sexiness and suspending overhead a mirrored fractal ceiling (imagine crumpled tinfoil magnified). Executive chef Doron Wong of China Grill Management (and a Susur Lee disciple) serves a shareable menu of modern Chinese with Japanese influences. Apps ($7 to $17): whiskey-glazed spare ribs; steamed spicy beef/scallion dumplings with soy/ginger dipping sauce. Mains ($13 to $29): steamed whole fish with ginger and black bean sauce; mahogany chicken with green market vegetables. Desserts ($11 to $14): chilled coconut soup with pineapple/lychee salad, black tapioca, and Thai basil syrup; candied ginger panna cotta with carrot soup and ginger snaps.

LAMBERTVILLE, NEW JERSEY
Chef (and accomplished painter) Dennis Foy, who earned a following while at various restaurants in Manhattan, and wife Estella Quinones unveiled their latest project in July, a 28 seat jewel box, d’floret (18 South Main Street). Quinones keeps the interior simple with cloth-draped tables, iconic chairs by famed Danish designer Arne Jacobsen, and Foy’s own oil paintings on the walls. From an open kitchen Foy turns out modern American cuisine informed by shifting seasons. Apps ($12 to $16): quail liver mousse with red onion gelée and black olive aïoli; grilled shrimp with avocado coulis and confit tomato. Mains ($24): seared grey sole with celery root puree and spiced apple reduction; slow-roasted Cajun-spiced chicken with french fries and local greens. Desserts ($10): warm apple/walnut tart with vanilla ice cream; mille-feuille cheesecake with roasted strawberries and black pepper.

AKRON, OHIO
Dante Boccuzzi, the culinary powerhouse behind a trio of Cleveland area eateries—Dante, Ginko, and The D.C. Pasta Co.—launched D.B.A. (for Dante Boccuzzi Akron), a modern American endeavor at 21 Furnace Street in July. Co-owners are Joel Testa (a local developer) and business manager Morgan Yagi (who also owns Hibachi Japan in Cuyahoga Falls, OH). The owners’ shared passion for rock and roll is reflected in the 90 seater’s playful design. The dinner menu is printed on a vinyl album cover, and dessert menus arrive in a CD case. Guitar photos on the ceiling help muffle sounds, drum kits double as planters, and road cases are used as serving stations. Chef de cuisine Torsten Schulz worked alongside Dante in both Milan, Italy, and Los Angeles and more recently decamped from The Blvd in Beverly Hills. Apps ($5 to $19): Hawaiian tuna tartare with purple potatoes, poached egg, and chive rémoulade; cold heirloom tomato soup with basil, balsamic vinegar, and crispy bread. Mains ($16 to $30): green spaghetti with garlic-braised rock shrimp, spinach, and poor man’s cheese (toasted bread crumbs with herbs, garlic, and shallots); mussels with chile peppers, crabmeat, cilantro, and lime. Desserts ($9): double-baked chocolate brownies with apricot sorbet and stone fruit compote; roasted peanut/banana parfait with toffee ice cream and salted caramel.