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Acclaimed Brooklyn Star Chef Returns With an Izakaya in the West Village

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Chef Joaquin Baca is behind a new izakaya opening in the West Village tonight

An aerial view of a spread of small plates topped with Asian-inspired fare over a wooden table Andrew Bui [Official]

Chef Joaquin (Quino) Baca is back at it again. The former Momofuku chef is heading up a new izakaya opening in the West Village tonight, just a few months after his most recent Bushwick restaurant Teo closed.

Baca jumped over to Manhattan for the new small plates spot called Būmu, opening this evening at 61 West Eighth Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues, where acclaimed omakase Neta once stood. In a nod to the former tenant, the new izakaya has a raw bar menu with uni, salmon, and kanpachi, but has also added skewers like baby octopus and crispy pork belly to that, as well as small plates like fried oysters with smoked yam purée, pickled jalapeño, and cilantro.

Bigger entrees come in the form of grilled mackerel and a few favorites from his short-lived Bushwick restaurant, including cast iron okonomiyaki with smoked tobiko, bacon, and mayo. Chris Johnson (Maialino, the Eddy, Mettā) was brought on board for drinks, which run from natural wine and sake to cocktails and craft beer from a lot of local New York makers. See the menu below.

It’s a 53-seat space with a copper horseshoe-shaped bar, booths, and high-top tables. It’s bigger than the petite 38-seat space Baca previously opened in Bushwick; the chef opened Teo in late December but it closed less than five months later. Baca told Eater his investors abruptly pulled out of the deal, saying they thought it was “too ambitious” of a project for Bushwick. Teo had marked the chef’s pivot back to Asian cuisine, the food he says he fell in love with while working alongside David Chang at Momofuku.

Before Teo, Baca previously ran Southern-focused Williamsburg restaurant the Brooklyn Star,but that closed in May 2018 after a nine-year run. Before opening his own projects, the chef spent years helping expand the Momofuku empire from the kitchens of critically acclaimed restaurants Ssäm, Noodle Bar, and Ko.

Būmu opens at 5 p.m. today with the following hours: Sunday to Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Thursday to Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.