Intended to evoke the feeling of a lively Japanese street market, Azumi Ltd.’s new dining concept Inko Nito features four communal social spaces and an open robata grill. Conceived by the creator and co-founder of Zuma restaurants worldwide, Rainer Becker, and developed with executive chef Hamish Brown, Inko Nito serves a contemporary robatayaki menu that’s bold yet approachable. Menu standouts include panko fried chicken with chili garlic yogurt; prime beef short rib with peanut chili oil and scallions; and whole branzino with yuzu, wasabi and jalapeño sauce. A full wine, beer and sake selection is complemented by six signature handcrafted cocktails on tap.
Cloak & Petal
A 7,500-square-foot social gathering space has arrived in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood. The design is reminiscent of an abandoned Tokyo subway, complete with subway tiles and two striking life-size Hanami-inspired cherry blossom trees behind the bar. Owners Cesar Vallin and Isamu Morikizono of Tajima recruited executive chef Trace “TJ” Jerome, who brought 21 years of culinary experience from Japan, to create a menu that includes small plates such as pork belly kakuni and spicy salmon battera along with a variety of sashimi, nigiri and shareable platters.
Andrew Thomas Lee
James Beard Award-winning chef and author Hugh Acheson, joined by executive chef Alex Bolduc, has opened his eighth restaurant. Located inside the Omni Hotel at The Battery Atlanta, Achie’s offers seasonally rotating Southern-inspired menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner that cater to hotel guests and locals alike. Menu highlights include buttermilk biscuits with Benton’s country ham, poached eggs and béarnaise sauce; a catfish po’boy with Old Bay mayo, fennel slaw and roasted tomato cocktail; and a lamb burger with pickled pimento, mint mojo verde, caramelized onion, feta and arugula.
Mira Setiabudhi has brought authentic Indonesian cuisine and atmosphere to Los Angeles with the opening of Rinjani. Guests enjoy authentic flavors created using old-world techniques and a Californian sensibility in the intimate, 30-seat restaurant. Rinjani’s menu combines the flavors of traditional Indonesian cooking along with an array of traditional beverages. One of the menu favorites is rijsttafel, a signature Indonesian dish designed to be shared, which includes coconut rice served alongside an array of popular Indonesian items. Accompanying all dishes is a wide selection of sides that include Indonesian crackers, egg in chili sauce, fried tempeh, potato fritters and rice cakes.
Traditional Caribbean dishes, playful cocktails, 120 rums, punch bowls and housemade sodas are all on the menu at Kaya, a new Jamaican restaurant from chef Nigel Jones of Kingston 11 in Oakland, Calif., and Daniel Patterson’s Alta Group. Named after Bob Marley and the Wailers’ sixth album, the restaurant aims to convey the irie spirit of a dinner party enjoyed with friends. Tropical flavors are enjoyed via small and large plates such as grilled wild Gulf shrimp with tamarind sauce and jerk chicken with plantains, rice and peas. Creative desserts such as chocolate-habanero soft-serve with pomegranate molasses and lime cap off the island experience.
The restaurant industry’s move toward fine-casual dining in recent years inspired the owners of Michelin-starred Plumed Horse Collection to open Pasta Armellino, a fine-casual Italian restaurant located steps from The Plumed Horse and the newly introduced Plumed Horse Chocolaterie in Saratoga, Calif. Chef Peter Armellino is now providing high-quality, affordable dishes in a casual setting by focusing on the simplicity of pasta and highlighting seasonal, artisanal ingredients. Guests enjoy a variety of Italian and American wines selected by sommelier Jeffrey Perisho, including those from the newly released Plumed Horse Collection.
Santa Barbara, Calif.
James Beard Award-winning sommelier Rajat Parr has teamed up with acclaimed chef Jessi Singh, formerly of Babu Ji in San Francisco, to open Bibi Ji, a wine bar, bottle shop and all-day restaurant in Santa Barbara’s wine country. Bibi Ji, a term of endearment for women in Indian families, is a nod to the women in Parr’s and Singh’s lives who cultivated their love of food and hospitality. The restaurant’s bright interior boasts golden chandeliers and vibrant pops of color, while the menu showcases locally inspired seafood with Australian and Indian influences. Wine offerings from artisanal producers in Europe, Australia and Santa Barbara play well with the creative menu and are offered for retail in the restaurant’s wine shop. Fans of Babu Ji will recognize dishes such as Colonel Tso’s cauliflower and the tangy and crispy stuffed shells of gol gappa.