Former Au Pied de Cochon chef de cuisine Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly is set to open his own bistro along with his wife Molly Superfine-Rivera on the Little Italy-Mile Ex border.
Brunet-Benkritly isn’t pinning his first restaurant’s offerings down to any singular cuisine — rather, he tells Eater that the restaurant, set to be named Marconi, will be “very simple, market-based and seasonal, really fun stuff,” and with a loose Japanese theme.
“It’s going to be the vibe of a bistro without being a traditional French bistro,” Brunet-Benkritly explains.
Brunet-Benkritly was absent from Montreal’s restaurant scene for around five years, running kitchens for prominent restaurateur Gabe Stulman at two spots, Bar Sardine and Fedora. He left in 2015 to return to his native Montreal, and has been working solidly towards opening Marconi since then.
Since he doesn’t plan to be involved in any other projects, Brunet-Benkritly will be in the Marconi kitchen. He tells Eater it’s too early to give any previews of the menu but promises “delicious food. Really fun stuff, a lot of great food to share and some raw food in terms of sashimis and tartares.”
This is Brunet-Benkritly’s first time owning a restaurant, and he’s taking it an opportunity to refine skills he already honed in New York and earlier.
“It’s an evolution, every time you start a new project you try to reinvent yourself and narrow your style down and get a little closer to the bullseye”
Superfine-Rivera — the second of three owners, along with a silent partner — will also be on site regularly, behind the bar. Given her past mixing experiences at Long Island City’s M. Wells Steakhouse, Brunet-Benkritly suggests that an adventurous bar program is in order. “She loves sherry, she’s going to bring something different to the city that’s really starting to shake cocktail wise.” Cocktails will be joined by a dynamic wine list mixing natural and old world wines.
Marconi will be in an old storefront on the corner of Mozart and Clark, and while Brunet-Benkritly says the space needed fairly solid renovations, but he doesn’t want to take things too far and create a hyper-modern space.
“We’re looking to get a bit ‘tavern’, not ‘pubby’, but there’s a lot of wood...it’s going to have that old wood type feeling to go with the old tiles, and the old wooden floors.”
Marconi is expected to open in around one month.