Ken Oringer caused a stir late last year when he announced he would close Clio, his 19-year-old modern French restaurant in Back Bay, in order to make way for an expansion of Uni, Clio's little sibling sashimi bar.
Today, he and executive chef Tony Messina reveal the new Uni, first reported by Boston Restaurant Talk and confirmed by a press release from the restaurant. The Japanese-inspired concept now occupies the former Clio dining room at 370 Commonwealth Ave. After renovations, the formal dining area was transformed into a sleek but casual space, complete with three bars— for drinks, sushi, and sashimi — dark wood accents, and some fishy art.
The menu at Uni draws inspiration from Japanese cuisine and other southeastern Asian influences, and the restaurant sources its seafood from both Tokyo's Tsukiji market and from New England fishermen.
Messina and his sous chef, Brendan Smith, are the master executors of the new menu, along with chef Akira Sugimoto (formerly of O Ya), who will craft the nigiri and maki-style sushi that has been added to the menu. Jason Kilgore (formerly of The Hawthorne) will oversee Uni's bar program, which consists of classic and tiki-style cocktails, plus more than 20 types of sake, available by glass, bottle, or pitcher.
Uni originally debuted in the Clio lounge in 2002, and Oringer juggled the fine-dining French cuisine and the innovative sashimi bar until the final day of 2015. Oringer previously told Eater he had been looking to expand Uni for some time, and while closing Clio meant the end of an era, it was also a chance to "push boundaries."
Uni will be open seven days a week and will offer late-night dining from Thursday to Saturday.
Here's a look at the opening menu:
Here's a teaser video Oringer shared on Twitter today: