When construction began recently for Alex Crabb's upcoming venture Asta, Zeus was revealed after a wooden wall was torn down. An outline of the god had been on the wall since 1987, painted by the son of the owner of Despina's, a former occupant of the space on Mass. Ave. Crabb might find a way to keep him there. The 45-seat restaurant will have "kind of a raw look," featuring exposed brick, a restored high ceiling that had been hiding above a two-foot drop ceiling, lots of wood, and a concrete floor. One wooden chair is already in the space so Crabb can keep an eye on how it fits as construction moves forward. Though he got the set of chairs from Fall River, they're originally from an old church (now condos) right in the restaurant's neighborhood. With construction now underway, Asta is slated to open in mid or late November, although Crabb would like to push it earlier if possible.
A five-year veteran of the kitchen at L'Espalier, Crabb hasn't begun to plan Asta's menu in detail yet, but he has revealed that the intimate space will exclusively feature tasting menus of three, five, and eight courses, putting him in good company with other tasting-menu-only restaurants like Menton and Journeyman. Last month, Boston Magazine unveiled a preview of a few possible dishes: whole squid with black chickpeas and scallops with farro.
In addition to his time at L'Espalier, Crabb has quite a varied restaurant background, from Atwood's Tavern to Lineage to the legendary Noma in Copenhagen. Asta is his first foray into restaurant ownership.