America loves an underdog, which is possibly one reason for our undying support of pop-up restaurants: tiny operations with strong wills to succeed. Back in 2012, Michelin star recipient and Milan native Walter el Nagar (former chef at Il Grano and La Botte) made a ton of noise with his modernist Italian pop-up Barbershop Ristorante, which first appeared at Suzanne Goin’s AOC. el Nagar began dishing out progressive Italian fare such as uni and almond-flavored annin tofu, red beet pasta with porcini mushrooms, and caviar with pureed sunchokes. This was high-concept stuff, not just pasta laced with truffle oil.
Now, it has been annouced that el Nagar has teamed up with Adam Fleischman in order to expand his operation under a new name, Barbería. Several brick and mortar spaces are on their way, and the first location is set to open in Downtown. In the meantime, el Nagar and Fleischman are organizing one last hurrah for the Barbershop Ristorante pop-up series where diners will be given a preview for what lies ahead. Named Project Transition, six meals will take place over the course of two weeks, starting Wednesday, 9/10 through Friday, 9/19. $75 per person, reservations only. The dinner will be served “omakase style” at an art space located on the West side of town.
“Overall the food is going to be avant-garde Italian, lots of seafood and local produce, of course,” says el Nagar about his prefix menu. The Barberia preview has a limited number of seats each night. Click here for more details.
Barbershop Ristorante Project Transition, 5220 W. Jefferson Blvd, Mid-City