Chef Ken Oringer, Chef Ken Oringer, Coppa, Toro, Clio, Uni Sashimi Bar, KO Prime, La Verdad, Earth, Boston, MA, Kennebunkport, ME, Maine, Recommendations, Boston, MA, Massachusetts, Cambridge, Cocktails, Where to eat in Boston, Best Cocktails in Boston, Spanish, Japanese, Austin, TX, Texas, Barcelona, Spain, Tokyo, Japan, Markets, Restaurants, Bars, Philadelphia, PA, Pennsylvania,


Clio, Uni Sashimi Bar, Coppa, KO Prime, La Verdad, Toro - Boston, MA | Earth - Kennebunkport, ME

Q & A



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Ken Oringer’s recommendations for where to eat, drink and shop in Boston, Austin, Philadelphia, New York, Barcelona, and Japan.

Q & A with Chef Ken Oringer

Q. You’re going to be part of the upcoming benefit Chefs Cook for Japan hosted by chef Morimoto. How did you get involved?

When Morimoto said he was going to do something I said ok, count me in. It’s something that is so near and dear to me, because we own a Japanese restaurant and have had relationships with so many people from Japan, for so many years, so I want to do anything I can to help them.

Q. What will you be making?

A. I think we’re going to be doing a dish with foie gras and some unagi, kinome, which is a Japanese herb, and some rhubarb and a vinaigrette made with charred ramps.

Q. Since the disaster, have you noticed a difference in the ingredients available to you from Japan? What aren’t you getting anymore?

A. Well, for one thing, vegetables. Things like kinome, shiso buds, a lot of really interesting Japanese vegetables and herbs are really difficult to come by.

Fish-wise, it’s so seasonal. We’ve been able to get fish from southern Japan and the different other areas, so that’s worked out ok. We’re not letting it effect us one way or the other. We’re just trying to buy as much we can from our purveyors to make sure they’re not loosing their business, to be supportive, be positive and move forward.

Q. Which other purveyors are you currently using?

A. Catalina Seafoods [Offshore Products] - I get Santa Barbara sea urchins flown in live from them.

Island Creek Oyster Company - for freshly dug razor clams.

Mutual Trading Company - we get a lot of seafood from them.

True World Foods - for Japanese food, they dominate anywhere in the Northeast, they’re so good.

[See details.]

Q. Tell us about your newest place, opening up this summer:

A. I’m opening a restaurant in Kennebunkport, Maine. It’s only open during the summer and it called Earth and it’s at a resort that a friend of mine owns, called Hidden Pond. It’s going to be Maine coastal food, but food you’ll want to eat there in the summer. We have a garden on our property, our own farm. Everything is coming from within a 50 mile radius. The ocean is like a mile away.

We’ve got beef farms less than 10 miles away, we’ve got a dairy farm right across the street. It’s a gigantic, wide open restaurant with gardens in front of it and 50 foot ceilings with an inverted tree hanging down as a light fixture. There’s a wood oven and the food will be everything from really great fried chicken, sweet potato corn bread and pickled watermelon rinds and lime-pickled braised swiss chard from the garden, to black bass with Malabar spinach, jalapeno and garden herbs to local oysters with rhubarb verjus and pickled mustard seeds to skirt steak with ramp Chimichurri to  cavatelli with fava beans, peas, pecorino and house made guanciale. It’s a bit of everything.



Q. Are there specific food markets that you like for shopping/browsing?

A. In Japan, Tsukiji. I love going to Tsujiki Market to eat whatever I can at all the sushi stalls.

In Boston, just outside of Chinatown, are Ming’s Market and C Mart. They’re both phenomenal. I go at least three times a week for anything Asian.

In Burlington, there is a place called H Mart. It’s like a Koreatown Los Anegeles market. They have like 500 different types of kimchees and all kinds of fish. I love going there.

[See details.]

Q. What resources (stores/websites/Twitter people) do you like for food related information?

A. I get information from chefs on Twitter.

David Kinch is a guy who uses a lot of Japanese ingredients in his French food. So we keep in contact by Twitter. He doesn’t tweet that much and when he does, it’s always interesting. [@DavidKinch]

Chris Cosentino is very active with it and he’s always posting his new dishes and he’ll mention something like veal kidneys, and I’ll think we haven’t used veal kidneys in a while, so let’s do a dish with veal kidneys. He always puts ideas in your head. He’ll say, I just got green garlic and I’ll make a call and see if I can get some green garlic from California. [@OffalChris]

Jose Andres - I love to travel and I’ve traveled with Jose many times and I just love to see which restaurants he’s eating at in Spain, or here and there, and I’ll write down little notes and put them in my files. He’s a guy who loves to eat more than anyone in the world. [@ChefJoseAndres]

Ming Tsai - he’s relatively new to Twitter. I love his sense of humor and his enthusiasm. He travels a lot and I like to see where he’s eating, because he lives a life many chefs would love to live. [@ChefMingTsai]

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Q. Any places you love off the beaten track in Boston?

A. Sapporo Ramen - I love it. It’s just a little kiosk of a ramen shop with about 15 seats and only two things on the menu, gyoza and ramen. Really unbelievable, great street noodles.

In Chinatown, Gourmet Dumpling House. I brought Jose Andres there before he opened up in Vegas to do some research and he thought it was one of the best Chinese meals he’s ever had anywhere and I definitely agree. They have this Szechuan fish soup that is like the best Chinese dish I’ve had in this country. That place is phenomenal.

Garlic and Lemon - a cool Lebanese place. Amazing falafel and shawarma. This place is really, really good.

[See details.]

Q. Where do you like to go for Japanese food?

A. In Boston, there is O Ya, which is really tasty. Go for the tasting menu and just leave it in their hands. There is no better way to do it, a bunch of surprises and interesting combinations.

Oishii is very innovative. I like what he does with seasonal fish. He uses a lot of the more exotic Japanese fish that a lot of people don’t want to get, because they’re too expensive.

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My brother lives in Austin, Texas and I really like Tyson Cole at Uchi. He’s very creative.

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New York

I like any place by Morimoto.

Niko - the sashimi was great, but I loved the king crab dish, it was really nice. They had a salad with seaweed and pumpkin seeds and some vegetables, which was really nice. Really nice contemporary touch to Japanese food, much more modernized and innovative than traditional, which I always appreciate that approach.

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Q. Toro is inspired by Barcelona tapas bars... which ones?

A. It’s a combination of a few. Not many have the energy of Toro, because Toro is much bigger than any of them would be in Barcelona.

But, it’s part of the feel of Quimet and Quimet, Tailler de Tapas, which has a huge menu and Sagardi, which is a pintxo place and cideria. It’s one of the few pintxo bars in Barcelona with standing room only and it’s really cool.

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Q. What are the watering holes/cocktail lounges that you like in Boston?

A. Well, we have a great bar program at Clio. We have about 80 drinks. Our mixologist is a woodworker by trade, so he uses all his woodworking tools on things like ice. He’ll hollow out giant ice cubes and use these tools to fill the inside with a bull’s eye of black lime puree. He’ll have things floating inside of ice cubes that are liquid and don’t freeze.

Craigie on Main has a cool bar program.

Green Street Grill is fun for cocktails.

Silvertone - the old standby in Boston. It’s downtown and it’s kind of a divey place, but one of the first to do really cool things with cocktails. About 15 years ago, Ming Tsai and I used to always go, back when we both first moved here.

[See details.]


Details of Ken Oringer’s recommendations for where to eat, drink and shop in Boston, Austin, Philadelphia, New York, Barcelona, and Japan.


- Salad of Roasted Beets, Rhubarb and Blood Oranges



Back Bay

Asian/ French

The Eliot Hotel

370 Commonwealth Avenue

Boston, MA 02215 (view map)

T: 617.536.7200 (make a reservation)



Mon - Fri: 6:30am - 10:45am

Sat: 7:00am - 10:45am

Sun: 7:00am - 12:00pm

Mon - Thu: 5:30pm - 10:00pm

Fri - Sat: 5:30pm - 10:30pm


Back Bay

Asian/ French

The Eliot Hotel

370 Commonwealth Avenue

Boston, MA 02215 (view map)

T: 617.536.7200



Mon - Thu: 5:30pm - 10pm

Fri - Sat: 5:30pm - 10:30pm

Sun: 5:30pm - 10pm


South End


253 Shawmut Avenue

Boston, MA 02118 (view map)

T: 617.391.0902



Mon - Fri: 12pm - 4pm

Daily: 5:30pm - 12:45am


Downtown Crossing


90 Tremont Street

Boston , MA 02108 (view map)

T: 617.772.0202 (make a reservation)



Mon - Fri: 6:30am - 11am

Tue - Fri: 6pm - 10pm

Sat - Sun: 8am - 12pm

Sat: 5:30pm - 10pm


Kenmore Square / Fenway

Mexican / Taqueria / Tacos

14 Lansdowne Street

Boston, MA 02215 (view map)

T: 617.421.9595 (make a reservation)



Mon - Thu: 11am - 1am

Fri - Sat: 11am - 2am

Sun: 11am - 1am


South End


1704 Washington Street

Boston, MA 02118 (view map)

T: 617.536.4300



Mon - Thu: 12pm - 2pm; 5:30pm - 10:15pm

Fri: 12pm - 2pm; 5:30pm - 11:45pm

Sat: 5pm - 11pm

Sun: 10:30am - 2:30pm; 5pm- 10:15pm




Hidden Pond Inn

354 Goose Rocks Road

Kennebunkport, ME 04046 (view map)

T: 207.967.9050



Daily: 5:30pm -