When you walk into the South End's newest steakhouse when it opens in a few weeks, the first thing you'll notice is the dramatic transformation of the physical space at 1375 Washington Street.
The large ornate wooden ceiling that gave a unique Asian feel to former restaurant Ginger Park is now gone, replaced instead with an exposed celing and a full wall of dark exposed brick.
"All people were asking was, 'Are you keeping the ceiling?'" co-owner Brian Piccini. "Well, we gutted the ceiling. We’ve left the steel beams all exposed, painted and lit up and that helps create a more casual modern feel to it."
Piccini, with chef Christopher Coombs, is behind the restaurant's new take on a steakhouse. The two are no stranger to the restaurant business, having opened dbar, an upscale restaurant, nightclub and lounge, at 1236 Dorchester Ave. in 2005, and in late 2010, the duo got their second venture, Deuxave, up and running at 371 Commonwealth Ave. in Back Bay.
Piccini said the restaurant will stay true to focusing on the quality of the meat, but will also provide ancillary cuts to utilize the whole cow and provide different price points for patrons.
"The South End is very forward thinking, so we wanted to do a modern take on what a steak house can be," said Piccini.
The concept of the menu is that customers will pick their cuts of meat, pick their sauce, and get a piping hot plate of fresh frites to go with it.
"We will have some exceptional cuts for people who want that really nice special piece of prime meat, but we're also going to have a wide range," he said, noting that sirloin, tenderloin and rib eye is only 15 percent or so of the whole cow. "We don't want to have that super expensive product here; I don't think that's what the South End needs."
All the steakhouse's meat products will be supplied by John Duare at Kinnealy Company. Piccini said the meat is already aging in the company's warehouse.
The restaurant's drink program will be cocktails unique to the restaurant and seasonally influenced, but the specifics of the drink and wine menu haven't been set yet, said Piccini. With a bar made of steel inlays and heavy reclaimed wood that runs the length of the entire space, it's safe to say drinks will be an important part of the experience.
The South End is particularly special to Piccini, as Tremont Street's Aquitaine was where he got his start in the restaurant business. Piccini, who was a classicly trained pianist, was laid off at Top of the Hub after the attack on Sept. 11th and found a job bartending at the French restaurant.
"I never though I'd own or be running my own restaurant someday, much less three," he said. "I'm having a blast."
The restaurant will have a "soft opening" in mid-February and will be open for regular business a week or so later.