As you read this, Zack Bruell is putting the finishing touches on Chinato, his contemporary Italian restaurant at the corner of Prospect and East 4th. Over the past few months, Bruell and his team have converted a cold, blunt warehouse space into a warm, light-filled trattoria. The large room is now divided in half, with a roomy bar and lounge on one side and a dining room with an open kitchen on the other. Gauzy drapes will offer some separation from the busy streets beyond the massive windows. In the dining room, booths, banquettes and tables will be nestled among the original three-foot-thick support columns. Floating panels will lower the ceiling while dampening sound, a must considering that the space will feature concrete floors. Named after the infused wine of Piedmont, Chinato will serve authentic Italian cuisine as seen by Bruell. Classic dishes will be updated and refreshed. "This is the kind of Italian restaurant you'd see in New York, but it won't be expensive," says Bruell. "We want to make everybody feel comfortable." Dinners might include a selection of crudo (raw, seasoned fish), seafood fritto misto, fennel sausage pizza, house-made pappardelle with creamed cauliflower and Amarone-braised beef. Dinners might begin as soon as next week, with lunches to follow shortly. Andy Dombrowski (chef de cuisine) and Rob Rasmussen (GM) will make the move from Bruell's University Circle establishment L'Albatros.
Numerologists will have a field day when Six opens early next month in the former home of Boulevard Blue (12718 Larchmere Blvd.). The "food-forward" restaurant will feature a menu boasting six categories, each comprising six items. That numerical formula will extend to the dessert menu and wine list. If this sounds complicated, rest assured that the chef in charge is an old pro at delivering big flavors on plates of all sizes. Not since his Mojo days has Michael Herschman had such creative control of a kitchen. Hired by owner Said Ouaddaadaa, Herschman will offer some familiar treats from his Pacific Rim repertoire. "The menu will be market-driven, allowing me to change it frequently," explains the chef. Diners will select from sections titled "Raw," "Hot, Cold, Small," "Greens," "Water and Feathers" and "Land." Herschman says we can expect "killer steaks, wonderful seafood and everything in between." Highlights include prime steak carpaccio, sweet and spicy calamari, seared Asian duck breast and bone-in rib steak. The space is getting a front-to-back remodel, with the most obvious changes to the bar and dining room.