Paul Ruppert is the name behind the late, lamented Ruppert’s as well as the soon-to-close Passenger, one of the city’s premier cocktail bars. Makoto Hamamura cooked in the now-shuttered CityZen kitchen under chef Eric Ziebold for seven years. The fortuitous pairing of Ruppert and Hamamura has produced the most delightfully idiosyncratic restaurant to debut in the last year, a charming, cozy 25-seater across from Ruppert’s new Upshur Street Books.
As a cook, Hamamura is even more exacting than he is creative, giving his French-Japanese synthesis a welcome clarity and focus. When conception and execution are equal, as in the chef’s twist on bouillabaisse, or a riff on tuna tataki, you might think you were in one of those hushed spaces where foodies go to worship.
Happily, you’re in a real neighborhood—and crammed next to someone else who’s also probably swooning.
- Hamachi tataki
- Grilled quail with mission figs
- Bánh xèo (Vietnamese stuffed crepe)
- Seared scallops with chorizo-tapioca dumplings
- Szechuan-style duck with pea shoots
- Apple rangoon with crème fraîche ice cream
- Molten chocolate cake with salted caramel