Two years after Mu Ramen drew crowds for stellar tonkotsu, owners Heidy and Joshua Smookler are opening a Long Island City neighborhood restaurant called Ravenswood Tavern in the fall.
Named for the now-gone stretch that had been a mansion row, the 100-seat restaurant will set up in the former Alobar space at 46-42 Vernon Boulevard with a projected late fall opening. Joshua Smookler says he thinks a restaurant like this “is something that’s needed in the area.”
He says they’re doing a significant build-out which includes a kitchen expansion, where he’ll be making his version of comfort foods. It’s an approachable menu with detailed technique which will include pasta and dry-aged steak. Smookler, who did stints as an opening chef at Per Se and later at Cafe Luxembourg, says he’ll make a few pastas in house like tortellini constructed “like a soup dumpling, Italian-style.”
Other menu potentials include oysters Rockefeller and steak tartare, Little Gem salad, tagliatelle with lobster Bolognese, and mains like striped bass and smoked mussels. But it’s the meat that’s the standout, with smoked, bone-in short ribs, stuffed and roasted poussin, rack of lamb, and bone-in rib-eye for two.
Smookler’s research has already been chronicled, with The Meat Show’s Nick Solares checking out a dry-aged prime rib that had been aged for 200 days. No word yet as to whether there’s something that wild on the menu, but it would seem plausible that Smookler would cook meat confit-style in a vat of rendered dry-aged beef fat, as he does here.
Long Island City is gaining momentum as residents speak out for more restaurants. A few spots opening relatively soon include sushi restaurant Sapps, brick-oven pizzeria Levante, cafe Indie Food and Wine, one from Top Chef Season 7 runner-up Ed Cotton, Argentinian restaurant R40, and Williamsburg’s Black Star Bakery. The Jacx food hall is also in progress, though it’s not set to debut until 2019.