Opening party photo by Drew Altizer.
I had a chance to check out the new ~TWENTY FIVE LUSK~ at a pre-opening party last week. For a second there it felt like 1996, with all the football types and fillies prancing about (indubitably there because Joe and Jennifer Montana were co-hosts). The sprawling SoMa/South Beach restaurant dates back to 1917 (it was a smokehouse and meat processing facility), and features multiple levels, including a spacious downstairs basement/lounge area with suspended fireplaces and smaller rooms (perfect for birthday gatherings), and upstairs is a 120-seat dining room full of booths, along with semi-private dining rooms. Designer/architect Cass Calder Smith included lots of natural timber and exposed brick that play against the gleaming surfaces and glassed-in kitchen. (You can read many more details in the hardhat column about the space here.)
The contemporary American menu of “approachable fine dining” from chef Matthew Dolan (formerly of Garibaldi’s and Emeril’s in New Orleans) includes appetizers like seared ivory salmon, soft-poached quail egg, smoked potato, and Niçoise olive vinaigrette; cauliflower crème brûlée, sunchoke escabeche, and truffled wild arugula; and grilled quail, ginger carrot purée, caramelized onion, and black pepper-quail demi-glace. Mains include seared diver scallops, cauliflower purée, roasted matsutake mushrooms, and lobster cream; verbena-steamed Pacific halibut, sea beans, tomato, eggplant, and lemon-lobster vinaigrette; and braised short ribs, roasted sweet potatoes, wilted escarole, and syrah demi-glace. Starters range from $10-$15, and mains $20-$27. His partner in the venture is general manager/managing partner Chad Bourdon. Dinner Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm; bar and lounge: Sun-Thu 5pm-11pm, and Fri-Sat 5pm-12am (weekend brunch is coming soon).