Restaurateurs Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer’s JK Food Group — which includes South End mainstays Toro and Coppa and Central Square hit Little Donkey — is about to get a pair of new spots. Coastal Italian restaurant Faccia Brutta and its downstairs neighbor Bar Pallino, a natural wine bar with Italian-inspired snacks, open on Tuesday, May 24, on Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay.
The menu for Faccia Brutta — Italian for “ugly face” — draws inspiration from various coastal Italian destinations, such as Sicily, Sardinia, and Liguria. Check out the full opening menu below, which includes a hefty selection of crudos and lots of pasta, including some less familiar shapes like pansotti (a filled Ligurian pasta) and trottole (tight curls). A house-made gluten-free pasta can be substituted into any of the pasta dishes.
There are also a few meat and seafood entrees, like a grilled half lobster and chicken Milanese; small plates, such as a wink to Toro’s popular pan con tomate, served here with an Italian twist (prosciutto); and mozzarella sticks with caviar, because this is 2022 and everyone deserves some extra-fancy comfort food. There’s plenty of dessert, too, including Sicilian gelato sandwiches and baci di dama, almond cookies with Nutella.
Brian Rae, most recently at Coppa, is executive chef; before joining JK Food Group, he worked at restaurants such as the now-defunct Rialto, the Harvard Square Italian gem.
Drinks are not an afterthought at Faccia Brutta or, of course, Bar Pallino; the JK Food Group’s longtime beverage director Jodie Battles is partner in the new venues. At Faccia Brutta, diners will find cocktails such as Negronis and spritzes, amari, gins, and wines from coastal Italy and beyond. Bar Pallino — inspired by modern Parisian wine bars like Septime La Cave — dives deeper into wine with over 70 selections, particularly focusing on organic, natural, and biodynamic options. The bar also has amari, vermouths, mezcals, and more.
Faccia Brutta includes a garden-style patio, which will be open right from the start and seats 40.
Here’s a look at the opening menu:
Faccia Brutta and Bar Pallino (278 Newbury St., Boston) open May 24, with Faccia Brutta open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday and Bar Pallino open nightly until midnight. Faccia Brutta is accepting reservations via Resy.