After a year of hosting “diversion dinners,” two-time James Beard semifinalist chef Mike Randolph (Half & Half and Público) is continuing the practice of serving intimate 16-person dinners at his new weekends-only fine-dining concept Privado. Sixteen tickets are sold online for each Friday and Saturday dinner service, with extra seating available at the bar, which serves an à la carte menu and libations. Guests and chefs commingle within the open kitchen concept while enjoying an evening of up to 15 imaginative courses that are revealed on the night of the event.
Chicago’s iconic Pump Room has been reinvented into Booth One by Richard Melman’s Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises. The newly reimagined space inside the Ambassador Chicago draws inspiration from the original restaurant, most notably with its name paying homage to the exclusive booth once synonymous with famous celebrities and dignitaries. The new restaurant features a modern take on classic dishes, along with rotating daily specials. Menu highlights include black truffle scrambled eggs and classic beef Wellington. Currently serving dinner, the space will open for breakfast, lunch and brunch in 2018.
Aiming to show Dallas the other side of Mexican cuisine, NL Group recruited high-profile chef Jose Meza Arroyave from the St. Regis Punta Mita Resort in Mexico to bring Mexico City-style cuisine to Jalisco Norte. Menu standouts include rice crackling tuna tostada; four different types of tamales; cabbage leaf tacos with roasted cauliflower; and arroz con leche, a classic Mexican dessert with vanilla ice cream, tequila raisins and walnuts. Jalisco Norte’s bar program offers agave-forward cocktails and a creative salt program that assists guests in beverage pairing.
Former Burch Restaurant executive chef Daniel del Prado has opened his first restaurant in Minneapolis, bringing his Argentinian and Italian roots to the forefront, as well as the first full liquor license, to the Linden Hills neighborhood. The menu focuses on Argentina’s traditional smoke-and-fire cooking techniques in dishes such as seared scallops with saffron cream, and grilled octopus with bone marrow and tomato jam. Homemade pastas, cinnamon fried calamari, and grilled Spanish mackerel round out Martina’s innovative offerings.
Why stop at a dessert cart when you can also offer a Live Greens cart that invites guests to create bespoke salads tableside and a coffee truck on the patio for walk-up signature coffee service? This is just a sampling of the creative thinking behind Habitat in Miami Beach, the brainchild of chef Jose Mendín and partners Sergio Navarro, Maximiliano Silva and Juan F. Ayora, of the newly formed Food Comma Hospitality Group (FCHG). Headed by chef de cuisine Angel Palacios and Navarro, the kitchen at Habitat is divided into Sea, Land and Fire, and delivers fresh, local ingredients using masterful, Michelin-star techniques. Palacios and Mendín experiment with a variety of components on the menu, including testing the pH of water, smoking flour and injecting small spheres with burrata, to deliver dishes such as cobia sashimi, Habitat caprese with mozzarella spheres, and Wagyu beef milanesa carpaccio.
Renowned chef Masa Takayama has opened his first downtown restaurant in New York’s TriBeCa neighborhood in an effort to answer his own desire to for a place that serves his favorite comfort foods. Centered around a robata grill, Tetsu is a modern robatayaki serving dishes such as tuna butsu guacamole, fried pork spare rib with garlic and beef tripe tomatillo, while they gather at a 36-foot-long Bubinga wood bar facing the kitchen. The restaurant also offers Masa’s first-ever burgers, in beef or lamb, grilled with a Masa-designed cast-iron device and only offered between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. daily. Scheduled to open in 2018 is Masa’s downstairs omakase kitchen called Basement, which will seat up to 34 customers and feature elaborate proteins.