Several new restaurants have begun taking reservations recently, among them tayst, the partnership between Dan Morrissey (a veteran of F. Scott’s, Park Cafe and Midtown Cafe) and chef Jeremy Barlow (The Trace, Midtown, Atlantis). The dinner-only restaurant, located at the corner of 21st Avenue South and Bernard Avenue, opened the first week of February. Diners enter through the small bar, manned by Steve Boyer, who boasts an impressive knowledge of wines and is eager to share it. A narrow corridor undulates into a contemporarily decorated, grotto-like dining room. The debut menu is of a wintry bentbraised short ribs with foie gras, pork osso bucco, root vegetable cobblerand dishes will change seasonally. The helpful practice of suggesting a wine by the glass for each dish remains year-round. tayst restaurant and wine bar is at 2100 21st Ave. S. 383-1953. Bar opens 4 p.m. Tues.-Sat., with dinner served from 5 until 10 p.m. Tues.-Thurs., until 11 p.m. Fri.-Sat.
Six years after its initial announcement, the long-awaited Chu finally opened on Feb. 3, completing the trio of dining and entertainment venues on 20th Avenue South that also includes Bound’ry and South Street. Chu is a partnership among Jay Pennington, Dan Goosetree and father and son Jimmy and Bryan Lewis; rumor has it that anywhere from $1 million to a gazillion dollars was spent on the two-level space, which features two bars and many arresting design features. With a hefty offering of wines by the glass or bottle, boutique and imported beers, unique martinis, specialty drinks and, most exciting, a long list of sakes, no one will go thirsty. Executive chef is longtime Bound’ry head toque Theresa Everett, with an assist from Michael Cribb. Their Asian-focused menu owes much to consulting chef Wai Ping Tong, with the offerings including dumplings, noodles, steamed fish and wok-cooked dishes. To the delight of local diners who have been craving dim sum, Pennington plans to add the Chinese-style brunch by spring. Chu is at 909 20th Ave. S. Dinner is served 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Tues.-Sat., with the restaurant morphing into a lounge with music sometime after 10 p.m.
Billiard enthusiasts are racking them up at The Blue Bar and Rack Room, the latest option for midtown diners and partiers. Chef Josh Weekley, known for his expertise with fresh fish, has created a decidedly downscale menu, though it hardly lacks good taste. Wood-grilled okra, steamed mussels, wood-fired spicy shrimp and grits-crusted oysters are among the starters; entrées include slow-roasted half-chicken, seafood pasta and wood-fired rib eye with crawfish mashed potatoes. For his latest venture, Weekley has teamed up with neighborhood barflies Kelly Jones, Kevin Gannon and Jim Simpson (of Broadway Brewhouse, Mojo Grill and Red Door). The Blue Room and Rack Bar is at 1911 Broadway. 327-8001.
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