Journeyman — a tiny restaurant on the edge of a Union Square back parking lot — has gone through a number of evolutions in its five years. Always focused on beautiful, high-end tasting experiences, the restaurant did away with the menu entirely a couple years back. Diners still had a multi-course tasting experience, but it was more of a mystery what would appear on their plates. A year later, Journeyman became the first local restaurant to use Nick Kokonas' ticketing system, where diners would buy dinner tickets ahead of time.
Now, the biggest evolution of all is coming, according to a newsletter from the restaurant. "There's going to be a new restaurant in Journeyman's space," write owners Diana Kudayarova and Tse Wei Lim. This means a few things:
For one, Journeyman is launching a yet-to-be-named "casual sibling" in its own space on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays every week. Throughout 2015, Journeyman held some fun pop-ups, a departure from its usual pricey dinner. "We loved seeing the dining room fill with friends and neighbors and turn into a raucous party," they write. "We'd love to see it happen more." So on Mondays through Wednesdays, Journeyman will feature an a la carte menu with dishes of various sizes.
But there will be a physical transformation as well — Journeyman is ditching all of its stoves, replacing them with a wood-burning fireplace. There will be no more sous vide cooking or molecular gastronomy, promises the newsletter — just "great ingredients, and glowing embers, and, as always, skill and care and attention to detail and imagination and grace."
From now until February 15, Journeyman will be doing its usual high-end service Thursdays through Sundays, with themed pop-ups taking place Mondays through Wednesdays. (Coming up next week, January 11 through 13, is a whole pig celebration, for example, while February 8 through 10 will highlight seafood, from sashimi to chowders.) Then, the restaurant will close on February 15 until mid-March for the renovations.
The Journeyman team is also behind renowned cocktail destination Backbar, located down a hallway in the same space, as well as the newer Ames St. Deli and Study, adjacent venues in Kendall Square.
UPDATE, 3/2/16: Journeyman didn't close on February 15 as planned; now renovations are slated to begin in mid-to-late March. In the meantime, the Monday-Wednesday casual pop-ups will continue. Tonight, Kudayarova and Lim are in the kitchen ("expect foie gras and vegetables," says a rep.) Next week (March 7-9), there will be Quebec-inspired food, and the focus will shift to pasta for March 14-16.
UPDATE, 4/26/16: As planned, Journeyman and new sibling Heat are both now open.