Nicollet Mall chain Ling & Louie’s to close; new concept coming

Ling & Louie’s will close at the end of the year and later reopen as a new, sports-themed concept, owner Michael McDermott said last week. “We just felt it was best to put in a new concept that could better utilize the expanded rooftop and really create more of that bar scene and also something that could have a little bit of a broader appeal,” he said. Rendering of the new sports-themed concept. McDermott, who operated the Asian-inspired bar and grill under a licensing agreement with the national chain, said the main motivation for the change were the menu restrictions and ample space available. “We have four levels total,” McDermott said. “We’re just not using it to our full potential.” It's been a year of transition along Nicollet Mall downtown. The torn-up thoroughfare is undergoing a $50 million remake and Vincent, Masa and Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar have all also recently closed. The past year has also seen two openings: a Caribou Coffee/ Einstein Bros. Bagels partnership in the former Vincent space and a Five Guys Burger and Fries in RBC Plaza. McDermott said Ling & Louie’s stayed steady, particularly during the day hours. But he sees room for growth. After it closes on Dec. 31, a team of renovators will execute about $1 million in tweaks, ultimately creating Randle’s, which is named after former Viking John Randle and expected to open in February. The bar will be expanded as will the bar area with more communal tables in the plans. And the rooftop dining area, what McDermott considers the true prize of the space, will be nearly doubled, he said. McDermott hopes to have the rooftop construction finished by May 1. “The big thing about rooftops is you get that bar crowd, you get that after-dinner crowd,” McDermott said. “With Ling & Louie’s, people didn’t see it as a place to go and hang out at night. And Randle’s, we think Continue Reading

Fish Is Flown In Daily From Japan At New Murray Hill Seafood Restaurant

by Nell Casey in Food on Oct 18, 2017 12:22 pm fullscreen close A Japanese restaurant group that operates 50 restaurants worldwide brings a casual seafood concept to Murray Hill with the opening of Wokuni, serving an assortment of seafood that's flown in daily from Japan. Parent company Tokyo Ichiban Foods owns several aqua-farms in Hirado City, Nagasaki, where they raise Bluefin Tuna and King Yellowtail; other seafood items will be sourced from parts of Japan or locally, when appropriate. The fish will also be sold at a unique retail counter at the restaurant, a break in tradition from the chain's other restaurants in Japan. The extensive menu offers seafood—and some select non-fish dishes—in a variety of cooking methods, from fried tempura preparations to tartares to sushi and sashimi platters. Yellowtail can be find in dishes like a Carpaccio ($12) with yuzu citrus pepper sauce and or grilled in a sweet soy sauce, Buri Yuan Yaki ($17). The tuna shows up in the Magura Tail Steak ($28) glazed with teriyaki sauce and in several raw forms including a tartare ($12) and several cuts of sushi and sashimi. The restaurant is izakaya-style, with many dishes specifically designed to accompany glasses of sake and shochu, dubbed shukous. These include the cold Ankimo ($10), a steamed monkfish dish with ponzu, and Dashi Maki ($9), a Japanese omelette that's steamed and rolled into a log shape. 325 Lexington Avenue, (212) 447-1212; WOKUNI Dinner Menu by Nell Casey on Scribd Want more like this? Get the tastiest food news, restaurant openings and more every Friday with the Gothamist Weekly Digest. Subscribe Today! Contact the author of this article or email [email protected] with further questions, comments or tips. twitter facebook reddit print aqua-farms bluefin tuna King Yellowtail Murray Hill new restaurant and bar radar sushi Tokyo Ichiban Foods wokuni Please enable JavaScript to view Continue Reading

Chili King Chinese restaurant not closed, just getting new name and sign

The Park Street restaurant location that's gone through much upheaval since Inka Heritage left in 2016 after 10 years, is getting a new name and new chef. Xi Wang, who opened Koi Sushi last March on State Street, took over the former Chili King at 602 S. Park St., which landlord Jiang Xun Jang opened last February and leased to three employees six months later.  The Chili King name painted on the building by one of the former owners has been painted over and Wang said she has an application in to the city to get permission for a new sign. Wang, who goes by the American name Laura Filion, said that the restaurant remains open despite the lack of sign and will soon have a new name that has not been chosen yet.  "It could take one week, two weeks or three weeks," Wang said. Chili King is a Chinese restaurant serving American Chinese food along with Hunan specialties.  Wang said she put in all new tables and chairs and has a chef coming from California. The new chef will make some menu changes, she said. The same landlord owns many buildings housing Chinese and Japanese restaurants, including the Chinese restaurant Ichiban down the block. After the Peruvian Inka Heritage closed, the space was briefly home to the Cambodian and Thai restaurant, Angkor Wat, which lasted about three months. Continue Reading

Insiders: Brothers have the lowdown on Salinas

By Mark C. Anderson Updated 12:23 pm, Thursday, March 2, 2017 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-3', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 3', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Photo: Noah Berger, Special To The Chronicle Image 1of/3 CaptionClose Image 1 of 3 Brothers Juan (left) and Jesus Espinoza created their Salinas retail store as a spinoff of Deadend magazine, dedicated to lowrider culture. Brothers Juan (left) and Jesus Espinoza created their Salinas retail store as a spinoff of Deadend magazine, dedicated to lowrider culture. Photo: Noah Berger, Special To The Chronicle Image 2 of 3 Juan Espinoza displays a Deadend prayer candle in his Salinas store, a shrine to the lowrider world. Juan Espinoza displays a Deadend prayer candle in his Salinas store, a shrine to the lowrider world. Photo: Noah Berger, Special To The Chronicle Image 3 of 3 Insiders: Brothers have the lowdown on Salinas 1 / 3 Back to Gallery Jesus Espinoza was 22, his younger brother Juan just 20, when they attended their father’s funeral. “It was a realization life is short,” Jesus says. “You don’t know when you’re gonna go. It made me ask myself, ‘What am I gonna do to make people appreciate a purpose for me being here?’” Today a framed photo of Dad watches over Jesus, now 35, and Juan, 33, from a corner of their year-old Deadend Magazine retail store (16 Midtown Lane, Salinas; It’s the brick-and-mortar spinoff of the online magazine dedicated to lowriders. Deadend has grown into a brand that draws 83,000 Instagram followers, Continue Reading

East End food crawl provides plenty to chew on

Creative drinks, comfort dishes and elegant sweets set the scene for my end-of-the-year food crawl in Rochester's East End. Combined with the illuminated Liberty Pole backdrop, festive white lights along Gibbs Street and walking in one of the season’s first snowfalls, my group of friends couldn’t help but sense an element of magic for the holidays to come. Sean Zeng brought a unique concept to 200 East Ave. two years ago when he opened Bubble Fusion. The bubbles come in the form of gummy-bear-like tapioca pearls (batches are made fresh daily), that can be added to your choice of tea. And if you’re a bubble tea rookie, his staff happily walks customers through the long list of options from the digital menu. Milk teas (a black tea base made with non-dairy creamer) and premium teas can be ordered hot or cold, and there are also refreshing fruit teas (created with a green tea base naturally lower in caffeine.) Smoothies are also on the menu.The fusion is found in the sushi, which we found Zeng busily creating behind the open counter on the evening of our visit. In addition to the dynamic food and beverage combination, Zeng also had a specific vision for the atmosphere.  “Generally people go for sushi as a group, and I wanted to create an environment where they could come in by themselves, order food and bring laptops — more of a lounge café,” he says. Outfitted with a mix of tables, as well as couches in front of a fireplace, the modern space playfully hints at the bubble theme with oversized hoop-shaped lighting hanging from the high ceiling and a bubble pattern that covers the sides of the counters. More: Batavia food crawl hits tasty trifecta Park Avenue food crawl: With so many places to choose from, it's not as easy as ABC Thankfully, this Bushnell's Basin food crawl had time on its side Food crawl: Monroe Avenue offers many delicious choices While we placed our order, we Continue Reading

15 must-try restaurants that opened in 2015

It's hard to keep up with which restaurants have opened where in Acadiana. It's even harder to find the time, money and calories to taste try them all!I came across about 30 restaurants that opened in 2015 while compiling this story.Some have since closed, not even making it a year in the competitive Acadiana restaurant scene. Others are reincarnations of restaurants, like the former Acme Taco and Acme Burger moving and merging into Acme Taco & Burger. Or second locations, like Bon Temps Grill opening an express location in the Oil Center. Or huge franchises that most people know about, like Panera Bread Company opening at the corner of North College Road and Johnston Street. RELATED: 16 Acadiana restaurants opening in 2016This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the restaurants that opened in 2015. But nevertheless, there are many new, interesting places that opened this year that you may not have had the opportunity to taste yet.Here are a few: 1. Blu BasilThis Vietnamese restaurant opened in February as a second location of Saigon Noodles. Located in the Time Plaza Shopping Center, this restaurant has a cool vibe with blue lighting and a large bar.Start with a small plate to share, The duck sliders ($4 for one, $7.50 for two) or spring rolls ($5.50) are good options. Or you can skip the small plates altogether. The entree portions are generous, and you'll probably have leftovers.Pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup with herbs, vegetables and meat, is the go-to choice ($6.50-$12.50), but don't miss out on the rice plates, especially the pineapple shrimp fried rice ($16), which is actually served in a hollowed pineapple half.If you're looking for a real treat, look no further than the chef's specials, such as the Blu lamb ($24), or the hot pot menu, the Vietnamese version of fondue, which allows two guests to cook meat, veggies and noodles in a simmering metal pot filled with broth Continue Reading