Flaming orange peels. Burned bread. First kisses. Forget Jurassic World and Mad Max. Summer's biggest blockbusters are yet to come—and they're all offscreen. Prepare for the drama coming to a dinner table (or a glass bar top) near you later this month.
? Petit Crenn, San Francisco
If San Francisco's haute Atelier Crenn is all about artistry and "poetic culinaria," then this Hayes Valley all-day bistro will be more along the lines of comfort food and "butter." Michelin-starred chef Dominique Crenn is loosening her chef's whites at this laid-back neighborhood café inspired by her Breton mother and grandmother and the food she ate growing up in France. In the morning, she'll offer the region's storied kouign-amann, crepes and œufs à la coque, and in the evening, she'll kick it up a notch with bistro classics, like steak tartare, fish en croute and a five-to-eight-course family style tasting menu.
? Mother of Pearl, New York City
"Tiki is one of the underrepresented niches in a city saturated with cocktail bars," Ravi DeRossi says. So he's teaming up with his old Death + Co alum, Jane Danger, to give the city a more refined take on tiki with this Alphabet City bar, one white bamboo floorboard and pineapple frond at a time. Expect drinks like the rose-hued Imperial Bulldog, an aquavit and cachaça number garnished with raspberries and, of course, those fronds. The team is also working on hyper-seasonal cocktails (read: rotating weekly or even daily), cold press juice-spiked drinks and thematic menus with the bar's chef, Andrew D'Ambrosi of Bergen Hill.
? Café Spiaggia, Chicago
Next up on Tony Mantuano's renovation spree? The 30-year-old sister restaurant to his Italian icon, Spiaggia. After giving Spiaggia a makeover last year, Mantuano is doing the same for his more casual café in the Near North Side neighborhood. He's installing a wood-burning grill—and a new pastry chef who will dole out desserts from a cart—but don't worry, the gnocchi with wild boar ragù isn't going anywhere. This update is more of an expansion than a complete overhaul, so keep an eye out for more selections, food- and wine-wise, that still honor Café Spiaggia's Italian street café roots.
? U.P., New York City
The Cronut King has a bit of advice for New Yorkers. Look up. Really, look U.P. for "Unlimited Possibilities," the dessert-driven chef's table nestled on the second floor of his new West Village bakery, Dominique Ansel Kitchen. Open once the kitchen closes for the day, this intimate, eight-person counter will feature a slew of whimsical sweets from Ansel, all paired with boozy beverages from Cocktail Kingdom's Don Lee. The menu will change twice a year, but first up is a menu all about firsts, from first kiss (a luscious vanilla cream and raspberry dish) to first job (nougat with malt and that office staple, coffee). Reservations are available now, but the chef's table opens officially on July 17.
? Masseria, Washington, D.C.
The XO trend continues. Nick Stefanelli, formerly of Bibiana in D.C., is tapping the Chinese condiment for his Puglia-inspired restaurant coming to the capital city's Union Market district later this month, but his creative musings don't stop there. He's drawing on the old peasant art of grinding down burned bread scraps into pasta, then modernizing it with coffee-spiked sausage and chiles. The menu is a tribute to the rustic farm food Stefanelli grew up with, but it gets a decidedly cheffy twist from the young chef.
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