Pop-Up Pick: one of New York’s hottest chefs is cooking his new menu at Drake One Fifty
It’s not often that Toronto eaters get first dibs on exciting New York chefs, so let’s go ahead and gloat about this: next Tuesday, July 8, Justin Smillie, the former executive chef of Il Buco Alimentari in Manhattan (and former chef de cuisine under Jonathan Waxman at Barbuto) is giving Toronto diners a leg up on their New York counterparts. He’ll be coming to Drake One Fifty to trial-run the debut menu for his upcoming New York restaurant with Stephen Starr, the U.S. restaurateur behind well-regarded spots like Morimoto and Buddakan. At Il Buca Alimentari, Smillie’s homey Italian food earned ecstatic reviews from critics, including the New York Times’s Pete Wells, who gave the restaurant three enthusiastic stars and waxed poetically about Smillie’s chickpeas, among other things. (“Tasting one was like encountering a goldfinch if the only birds you’d ever seen were pigeons.”) Smillie’s Toronto menu is still a secret, but his new restaurant will reportedly be a “Mediterranean-style” spot.