by Ian McNulty
The French/Vietnamese fusion restaurant Tamarind by Dominique has closed inside the Hotel Modern, and in its place the hotel on Lee Circle is creating an extended-run pop-up concept to feature a changing roster of purveyors from the area’s farm-to-table scene.
This pop-up, called Why Not?, debuts tonight, Nov. 14, and will feature different menus and partners for two-week stints running through the end of December. The chef is Mike Nirenberg, previously of the wine bar Oak, Patois and the Delachaise.
For its first incarnation, Why Not? is working with the new, whole-animal butcher shop Cleaver & Co. and serving small plates made from a single pig. Next, Why Not? will feature dishes made with foods from Hollygrove Market & Farm. Though details are still in the works, Why Not? will likely team up with a local fisherman for a third session. Meanwhile, craft cocktail maven Kimberly Patton-Bragg, who was part of the Tamarind team, will prepare drinks paired to the Why Not? menus.
“We’re opening the doors and it is a little loose, but at the end of the day it’s about coming in, having an open mind and having some great food,” says James Stuart, creative director at the Hotel Modern.
Tamarind by Dominique opened last year with namesake chef Dominique Maquet at the helm. He left the operation earlier this fall to focus on his next restaurant, Dominique’s on Magazine, which is slated to open in December.
Once the six-week span of Why Not? sessions wraps up, Stuart says, the hotel will open a new restaurant in the space, though the particulars of that future venture are still under development.
“Whatever we do, it will stay with this farm-to-table, seasonal concept,” he says.
Why Not? serves from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday.