Tawfik Shehata dishes on The Bowery, Colborne Street’s upcoming resto-bar
Ask Tawfik Shehata to categorize the menu at Colborne Street’s soon-to-open The Bowery, and the executive chef’s answer defies geography. Sure, there’s some Mediterranean inspiration, as well as nods to Italy and France, but this isn’t fusion. “It’s just good food,” he says. Set to officially open in the next two weeks, The Bowery has taken over the space formerly occupied by Six Steps.
Having overseen the design of The Bowery’s kitchen, Shehata is quick to draw attention to the 10-square foot, custom-built charcoal grill. Far more expensive and labour-intensive than a gas grill, the reward is enhanced flavour, he says. It’s a perfect setting to showcase the 24-ounce ribeye ($40), doused in a lemon and shallot vinaigrette, or the whole branzino ($34), de-boned and stuffed with lemon and thyme before landing on the grill (“it’s one of the greatest things ever,” Shehata says).
The menu was designed primarily by chef de cuisine Jason Maw, formerly of Starfish, but Shehata’s hallmark dedication to local and seasonal ingredients abounds (as it stands, the menu is rife with asparagus, green garlic and rhubarb).
A pizza oven will churn out focaccia-style pizzas, while the menu itself — currently offering the likes of ricotta gnocchi, grilled octopus or Lake Huron pickerel — will change every week or so. Everything is done in-house, of course, including the butchering.
The Bowery, partially owned by the Uniq team (of Maro, The Ballroom, Brant House and other such venues) underwent a soft opening last night, but it’s a work in progress. Presently at around 96 seats, the interior — done by The Design Agency — features hardwood floors, leather banquettes, exposed brick, lavish light fixtures and a marble bar top facing the open kitchen. By September, a downstairs area with 60 more seats should be complete, potentially acting as a venue for live music.
As for Shehata, he’ll be splitting his time between The Bowery and The Ballroom.
The Bowery, 55 Colborne Street