Tawfik Shehata’s The Bowery to join Colborne Street restaurant strip

Tawfik Shehata’s The Bowery to join Colborne Street restaurant strip

(Image: Rick O'Brien)

We’re not convinced that a genteel little section of the St. Lawrence Market district will ever pass for The Bowery, the NYC art and culture hub with a seedy past, but Uniq Lifestyle Entertainment Group and chef Tawfik Shehata are going to give it a whirl. Maybe they’ll prove us wrong—Uniq’s portfolio of venues includes Brant House, Maro, Cheval, Cobra, Jacobs & Co. and The Ballroom. Creating something out of nothing is what these folks do.

Shehata and chef de cuisine Jason Maw are promising a punk-meets-farm menu, featuring seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, with much of the food ending up on the open kitchen’s five-foot-long custom charcoal grill. Shehata and Maw are thrilled about cooking over live coals. “It’s so great! It’s a living, breathing thing, and cooking on it isn’t mindless like throwing meat onto a propane grill,” says Shehata. “You’re always thinking about stoking it, raking the coals and working the air vents.” Expect much of the menu to come off that grill, from a 24-ounce, local, all-natural, 60-day aged rib-eye ($44) to whole grilled trout with lemon and thyme ($28).

The 96-seat, 4,500-square-foot space, divided into two rooms, was designed by Allen Chan, Matthew Davis and Anwar Mekhayech of The Design Agency (L.A.B., Brasaii). The result features Victorian honeycomb tiles, distressed wood floors, plush banquettes, splashes of orange and custom neon art by Canadian Jarrod Wilson. A hay rake chandelier designed and manufactured in Brooklyn looms above, and salvaged wooden school chairs found in New York City surround the tables. Fancier pants can perch on the Finnish Artek Rocket stools while taking in the grilling action.

Shehata and company expect to have the place open by the end of June, with an expansion in September into the basement for Bowery Below, a 60-seat live music venue and lounge.

The Bowery, 55 Colborne St., thebowery.ca.