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Chef Nookie Will Give Cambridge a Taste of Steinbones

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Photo: Steve "Nookie" Postal/Aaron Kagan

Chef Steve "Nookie" Postal recently sat down with Eater - over ramen at Sapporo, for the record - to talk about his exciting new restaurant plans in Cambridge and beyond. As he mentioned back in July, the Fenway Park executive chef and Around the World in 80 Plates finalist is opening a restaurant in Kendall Square, which may or may not be called Commonwealth, that will be part market and part seasonal, rotating restaurant whose concept changes every year based on votes. He's also opening a Jewish-barbecue restaurant called Steinbones in New York City. And when he told people here that, they complained "Why not in Boston?" Well, that may change.

Nookie says that if the people of Boston want Steinbones, then maybe they'll get Steinbones after all. And so he's doing a Steinbones pop-up at Crema in Harvard Square on December 15 to give locals a taste: stay tuned for further details and to find out how to score a spot. At the pop-up, Nookie will try out one or more of the sandwiches he's created for the restaurant concept, possibly including chopped short rib pastrami on a challah roll topped with bagel seasonings. Other possible Steinbones sandwiches: brisket, grilled chicken thigh, lamb rib. In lieu of hush puppies, there will be fried matzoh balls, cole slaw will be represented with charoset slaw, based on the dish commonly eaten at Passover and frequently made of apples, nuts, spices and wine. Sauces will be based on Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray soda - a deli classic - and Manischewitz, a sweet wine with cultural cache among many American Jews.

Not all of this will be present at the pop-up - Nookie is still working on the menu - but he says this is just the beginning. He hopes to open more than one location of Steinbones, which will also use hormone and antibiotic-free meat. How likely is a Steinbones in Boston? "If people are freaking out about it, we might do it," he says.

And what's up with Commonwealth? Nookie says construction of the new building is ahead of schedule, and he hopes to be open by October 2013 if not sooner. And the rotating restaurant on the premises will have about 35 seats and will be located in an outdoor private courtyard, which means it will be limited to about five months out of the year. Possible themes: burgers, German beer hall, ramen. It might be called Whim.

So how would you feel about Steinbones opening in Boston for real? By all means, weigh in via comment.

Commonwealth (Cambridge)

11 Broad Canal Way, Cambridge, MA 02142 (617) 945-7030 Visit Website

Crema Cafe

27 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA