Photo from Victor's Facebook
Enough about the Rolling Stones, let's get down to food business concerning Victor's on Water opening in Excelsior next week on November 18.
The rehabbed Ming Wok/Bacon Drug has never looked so good (nor smelled so much better). It's the hot corner, right in the middle of town, and the yellow ceramic tiling on the outside gleams with a new shine, only perhaps surpassed by the warm glow from within.
Photo by Caitlin Abrams
Owners Eric Paulson and Janel Novachis went for "a New York meets Milan vibe", juxtaposing dark smoky glass and sleek grey accentes with exposed brick and giant warehouse doors. The whole space is wrapped in windows and though it feels spacious and airy, it only seats about 85, including the bar area. One big awesome advantage for the noise-haters, the entire ceiling has been created from accoustic sound sucking panels.
photo by Caitlin Abrams
Philip Becht is the Executive Chef behind the menu. Paulson and Novachis thought they wanted to open as a Northern Italian eatery, but Becht convinced them to keep an open regional mind. He thought they could have more flexibility and play without pigeonholing themselves in the North. He also made sure that the menu and kitchen would be created around sourcing local/seasonal ingredients, not surprising considering his past gigs at Modern Cafe, Tilia, and Birchwood. On the menu:
"...To us, the goal of Italian style cooking is to use what we find in our region, the upper Midwest. We will maintain a spirit of curiosity. We look forward to the discovery of what making Italian cuisine in this part of the country will mean for us. In the spring and summer this is easy, in the winter, well, we will find out together."
Photo by Caitlin Abrams
Also on the menu you'll find ravioli with winter squash, gnocchi with milk-poached chicken and charred kale, larger plates like a Berkshire porchetta and lamb T-bones, plus pizzas (hello, The Pig Pen has coppa, pancetta, porchetta, and sausage!) and vegetables including a roasted winter squash puree with dark chocolate, dates, and roasted chiles (see full menu below). This is way more exciting than the pizza joint I thought it was going to be!
But that's not all, I got a tour of the basement area that is destined to become a jazz bar (to be named later, but The Blue Note is maybe in the running). It will be a small, dark space with a backlit horseshoe bar, a piano bar, lounge seating and private dining. Construction is about to begin on that area and Paulson (who has worked in the music business) thinks they should be open this winter.
Victor's on Water refers to Water Street, not the actual bay. During the week it's dinner only, and weekends they'll open at 10 a.m. for brunch. Reservations are accepted, and probably recommended, as word around town is already buzzing about the pre-opening dinners.