Outer Reef — Dana Point, Calif.
Chef John Tesar announced his new coastal seafood restaurant, Outer Reef, is coming soon (spring 2020) to Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa. Inspired by Tesar’s Dallas restaurant Spoon Bar & Kitchen, Outer Reef will include a 1,000-gallon shark tank, extended bar area and a patio with fire pits, illustrating that West Coast “elegant-without-trying” look.
Menu at Outer Reef
Outer Reef will also place its menu focus on the West Coast, from Alaska to Baja with raw items like pounded big eye tuna with nduja crouton and geoduck sashimi with botanical citrus vinaigrette; “barely cooked” dishes such as grilled octopus and live diver scallop with shallot brown butter. Bigger fish dishes will include tandoori-rubbed swordfish and kimchi-glazed halibut.
ZIZI — New York City
The recently opened second act from the team behind Brooklyn’s Zizi Limona, ZIZI is a Mediterranean-by-way-of-Manhattan restaurant in Chelsea helmed by owner Sharon Hoota and Executive Chef Liran Leibman.
The menu at ZIZI
ZIZI’s menu draws on the colors, flavors and textures of cuisine from Turkey, Spain, Israel, Tunisia, Morocco and Greece. The current winter menu features burrata (shown), eggplant arancini with Indian ketchup and a giant Jerusalem bagel served with brown butter, yogurt, chickpeas and skhug. Cocktails are driven by arak, the cherished Middle Eastern spirit.
By George — Atlanta
Cliff Robinson Photography
Hugh Acheson wasn’t born there, but he represents the South like no other chef. Last fall, he opened By George in The Candler Hotel with a menu of all-day cuisine with a focus on French cooking. The restaurant’s name is a nod to the building’s 1906 architects, George Murphy and George Stewart, who worked in the lavish, ornate Beaux Arts style, made popular in Paris at that time. The interiors of 3,000-square-foot By George reflect a luxurious look with plush banquettes and marble columns, indicating a trend move away from overly rough-hewn restaurant décor.
Menu at By George
Cliff Robinson Photography
By George’s shareable dinner menu features small plates — duck and chicken liver pate, Southern oysters, vichyssoise with rye croutons — and bigger entrees like Georgia trout with sunchoke and sauce meuniere and steak Diane (pictured) with pommes mousseline. Wines for By George are overseen by longtime Acheson collaborator, sommelier Steven Grubbs. Look for a new Cognac and Armagnac program by Beverage Director Kellie Thorn.
Olivetta — Los Angeles
Husband-and-wife duo Matt and Marissa Hermer describe their latest project, opening this month, as “evoking the spirit of a European holiday”(said Marissa) and “a mix of carefree sophistication” (said Matt).
Designed by Tom Parker, the interior conjures both Mediterranean sun and the bright lights of Hollywood with a dash of whimsy divided into distinct spaces: the Sun Room (pictured), the Living Room for cocktails, the Bar Room and Dining Room, all rich and luxurious to the max. The music here is on vinyl and the vibe is soulful. That’s thanks to a curated music program by Geffen Records President Neil Jacobson.
Menu at Olivetta
Helmed by Executive Chef Michael Fiorelli (Love & Salt), the kitchen at Olivetta celebrates old-world components like grilled branzino (served with green herbs and lemon conserva), rye macaroni with fennel sausage and grilled octopus with salsa verde, fried peppers and olive-oil- poached potatoes. Veggie dishes like roasted baby carrots and a vegan “double double” burger (pictured) round out the menu along with sommelier Erik Railsback’s wine program from local growers.
Ernesto’s — New York City
Ernesto’s, now open, is the Basque-inspired first solo project from Chef Ryan Bartlow, known for Akelarre in San Sebastian, Alinea and most recently Frenchette. Inspired by his time in Spain, Bartlow and partners Davitta and Alexandra Niakani (pictured) collaborated with designer Michael Groth on the design.
Ernesto’s dining room is an expansive, light-filled 40-seat space with Art Nouveau curvature and custom lighting, including an iron candelabra dating back to the 18th Century and an original lithograph from famous painter Joan Miro. In the coming months, a smaller café space will open adjacent to the dining area for mornings and afternoons.
Menu at Ernesto’s
The Basque-inspired menu includes small bites like housemade txistorra (fast-cure sausage), toasta de gambas (shrimp toasts, pictured) and chips with sliced Iberica. Larger plates and entrees include piquillos rellenos with braised lamb neck inside, steaks, fish and braised dishes all paired with intensely Spanish flavors like espelette oil, almond sauce and salsa verde.
Kochi — Hell’s Kitchen, New York City
Sunghul Shim, formerly of Per Se, Bouley and most recently Neta, has gone solo with Kochi, an open-kitchen space with a 12-seat marble chef counter and a 24-seat dining room where guests can get a taste of traditional festival cuisine of the Korean royal court with a $75 nine-course tasting menu.
Menu at Kochi
Tarakjuk, pictured, is a vichyssoise-like soup made with pine nuts and potatoes, served with a corn fritter. Other items skewered dishes like raw scallops with tiger’s milk, grilled mackerel, pork belly with pickled daikon and many other absolutely royal selections. The beverage menu from Jooyoung Yang includes signatures cocktails, champagne, wine and sake.