The tiny restaurant — which actually resembles "some Malibu mansion’s generously appointed kitchen ... surrounded by nothing more than a charcoal-colored counter and 20 swiveling seats," as Urban Daddy described it earlier this week — is located at the back of the Aeronaut Brewing Company Foods Hub, an expansive, industrial space just outside Union Square in Somerville.
The location isn't where Tasting Counter's unique qualities end. There are no servers; the kitchen staff, who are like actors in a play showcasing fine dining, present the dishes, thus eliminating the need to leave gratuity. The $150 - $180 tickets, preferably acquired in advance, are all-inclusive. Like a theater or music performance, guests are encouraged to arrive on time for their meals.
While Tasting Counter will accommodate dietary restrictions and needs, the kitchen asks guests to trust them on the menu items. According to UD, the courses may include sake-brined sea bream, and sea urchin custard with black truffle sauce.
"Similar to Omakase style (from the Japanese phrase meaning "I'll leave it to you" ...), we recommend entrusting us to create an innovative dining experience for you," the website reads.
The concept is a natural progression for chef Peter Ungár. The Bristol Lounge and Aujourd'hui alum has operated The Dining Alternative for the past decade, where he hosts small, private dinner parties featuring elaborate tasting menus. Ungár's goal for the restaurant is to work toward leaving no carbon footprint, while sourcing at least 50% of products from Massachusetts.
Unsurprisingly, Aeronaut's brews come with the meal ticket; or, you could choose 100% natural wines, sake, or non-alcoholic beverages.
For the first couple weeks, Tasting Room is only booking nine-course dinners from 8 - 10 p.m., but eventually, there will be three-course lunch offerings Tuesday - Saturday from noon - 2 p.m., and the space will be open for dinner from 6 - 10 p.m.