The Spread was the first: hip, smart, happening. Contemporary Sono.
El Segundo, by definition, will be The Second. This time: Street. Urban. Old World Global, in the SoNo Ironworks project at the corner of Washington and North Water Streets.
“We’ll have street food from each of the 7 Continents,” said Chris Hickey as he recently gave CTbites a preview of The Spread team’s new joint set to open in early August. Hickey and co-owners Andrey Cortes, Chris Rasile, Shawn Longyear and Executive Chef Carlos Baez envision an international playground for the palate.
“We’re going to have some fun,” Chris promised, grinning.
Open the corrugated metal garage door, and the vista is a courtyard boasting a fountain, storefronts, and looming apartments. A piazza in Naples? A market in Buenos Aries. A food fair in Bangkok.
Inside the restaurant, you’re on a side street. The vibe is almost Third World. The predominant motif is that corrugated sheeting – the humble material that shelters much of the earth’s population. A wall is painted in the brilliant graffiti of Duster, New York’s notorious tagger. On the wall, a subway door and a Number 6 Train to Duster’s Bronx. Its boogie. Its street food.
Though the concept is totally unique, El Segundo is actually the inevitable Second Act to The Spread. In the past three years, Chef Carlos Baez has brought many international influences to the restaurant’s magical menu: his own Mexican food heritage; French from his work at La Panetiere in Rye; American from his stint at Napa and Co. in Stamford; even Asian from the time he masqueraded as a sushi chef. Many believe Baez may be the most innovative young chef in the region.
“We still haven’t finalized our menu,” Hickey told us. “Carlos has been working hard at it. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with from Antarctica!”
The owners expect a vibrant day scene at El Segundo. With a turnaround time of less than thirty minutes, the full-service restaurant will cater to office workers looking for a quick lunch and, with its low price points, also appeal to the thousands of families visiting the Maritime Aquarium just steps away. At night, the ambience will be dialed to more Par-tee. The lights lower. The Juke louder. The playlist more explicit. And the huge bar (that extends the length of the restaurant) hopping.
“We’re also going to create drinks from the seven continents,” Chris told us. “It’s in good hands.”
Those hands belong to Shawn Longyear, the owner who crafted the outstanding cocktail program at The Spread. And the drinks he concocts will be poured into one-size-fits-all glasses, the only ware in the restaurant that will need to be washed. All plates and utensils will be eco-friendly: bio-degradable and compostable. No soap. No water. No harm.
Hickey expects that the menu will be finalized within a week. And he promised that we would get firstbites.
Expect that highly anticipated review soon.