Starr's next restaurant: El Rey
He's going back to Mexico.
Stephen Starr's Mexican restaurant at 2013 Chestnut St. (see previous here) now has a name:
And a concept: Home-style cuisine from Puebla to Veracruz from chef Dionico Jimenez, formerly of Xochitl, in what Starr told me will be a gritty-looking roadside bar setting. (The Midtown IV, the previous occupant, could have fit that bill.)
The banquettes are getting vibrant-colored Naugahyde upholstery, and the lunch counter is being transformed into a 12-seat bar. The place will be decorated with flea-market finds from Southern California and Mexico. Shawn Hausman Design, which did Chateau Marmount and The Standard in L.A. as well as Starr's Parc and Butcher & Singer, is behind it.
There also will be a back-room bar with a speakeasy feel and private entrance.
Expect in-house-made tortillas, tacos, tortas, guacamoles, and molés, and such dishes as queso envuelto (panela cheese, mushrooms, zucchini blossoms, onion, wrapped in banana leaves and served a la plancha); cazuela de carne (skirt steak, salsa, black beans, avocado, cactus); chilapachole de Jaiba (blue crab in a spicy broth), and chiles en nogada (roasted poblanos stuffed with ground beef, almonds, dried fruit, walnut sauce).
Starr is basing the name on the fictional Mexican town featured in the Jim Thompson pulp novel The Getaway and Robert Rodriguez film From Dusk Till Dawn, which is alternately spelled El Ray and El Rey.
Opening will be in late April.