August 11, by Nathaly Pesantez
The owners of Mu Ramen, the Japanese ramen restaurant in Long Island City popular with food critics and New Yorkers alike, are set to open a new restaurant in the neighborhood this fall that will specialize in an entirely different cuisine—New American.
The Ravenswood Tavern, as the locale at 46-42 Vernon Boulevard (just blocks away from Mu Ramen) will be called, is situated at the former site of Alobar, the three-time winner of the Michelin Bib Gourmand that was shut down by the tax department in June. Eater was first to report the news of the opening.
Joshua Smookler, who owns the upcoming restaurant and the ramen establishment with his wife Heidy, said the idea for the Ravenswood Tavern’s cuisine came from two places—his personal affinity for steaks and pasta, and the glaring lack of steak spots in Long Island City.
“I’ve been experimenting with steak and meats for about four years,” Joshua said. Some of it has been documented, as is the case when Joshua prepared a prime rib for the Eater, aging it for 200 days and cooking it in a vat of dry-aged beef fat.
At the Ravenswood Tavern, Joshua will bring the same spirit of experimentation to the dishes, which he says are all based on well-known, household-name items.
“There are no mysteries about the items on the menu,” Joshua said. “The food will be recognizable, but will be experienced in completely new ways.”
A shrimp cocktail, for example, usually served cold, will be served warm at the restaurant. Other items well known to the American palate, like Caesar salad, oysters, and penne a la vodka, will be prepared with the aim of surprising patrons at their newly interpreted taste.
Some pasta will also be made in-house, which Joshua and his wife are currently researching and studying. In fact, Joshua spoke to the LIC Post as he was conducting “pasta research” in Rome, Italy.
But the dishes won’t be considered alone, Joshua said, as the locale itself will attempt to create an immersive experience for diners. The interior will have exposed brick, which will lend a rustic, warm feel to the restaurant.
“It’s almost nostalgic,” Joshua said. “Like old New York but with an update. Almost like a speakeasy.”
Although the restaurant has windows, Joshua will be completely covering them so visitors can truly feel like they are “getting-away-from-it-all”.
Appetizers will range from $14.00 to $22.00, while entrees will fall between $28.00 and $36.00, but can tally higher for items like côte de boeuf, priced at around $85.00.
The Ravenswood Tavern is aiming for a middle to end of fall opening. It will open only for dinner first, and will open for lunch and brunch after the first month as well.
Along with their successful ramen restaurant, operating since 2013 when it started at Bricktown Bagels, Joshua and Heidy have worked at highly-acclaimed restaurants, with Joshua at Per Se and Heidy at Buddakan.