Young and Hungry

Toki Underground’s Erik Yang Previews His New Place at Living Social HQ

This just in: chefs Erik Bruner-Yang of Toki Underground and Ari Gejdenson of Acqua Al 2 are opening a new restaurant in D.C. called SŪNA. Described as serving "modern progressive cuisine" based on regional and seasonal ingredients and helmed by former Komi cook Johnny Spero, the combined three-chef effort is slated to later this year. "Ari and I have known each other for a long time," Bruner-Yang tells Y&H. "And we were in a position to help someone that we think is really talented. Kind of like our partners did for us, now we're doing for Spero."

Bruner-Yang says the style of cooking will be "based on the techniques that Spero has learned at all the restaurants that he's worked at." After a year at Komi, the guy traveled to stage at some venerable kitchens, including Noma and Alinea.* Lately, he's been splitting his time between Toki and Townhouse in Chilhowie, Va.

Bruner-Yang isn't dishing up a specific location just yet. "We have a space we're working on," he says. "We're just keeping it low-key for now."

In late March, the culinary trio will be offering a preview of the menu during a four-night pop-up event similar to Mike Isabella's recent Bandolero sneak peak at the Living Social headquarters in Penn Quarter. The series of eight-course dinners, priced at $120 per person, is slated for Mar. 21 through Mar. 25.

Check out the menu and full announcement below:

Experience the first taste of SŪNA at the Living Social 918 F Street Space debuting March 21st through March 25th. This will be the preview of the unique culinary collaboration between three young chefs Erik Yang, Ari Gejdenson, Johnny Spero featuring art installations by Corehaus, Redeem, and Kelly Towles to enhance the dining atmosphere.

Winter of 2012, restaurateurs and chefs Ari Gejdenson (AcquaAl 2) and Erik Yang (Toki Underground) will open a new restaurant in Washington D.C. helmed by Chef Johnny Spero  (Komi and Townhouse) under the name of SŪNA. The food will offer Spero’s unique perspective on modern progressive cuisine reflecting both his professional and personal experiences. SŪNA’s menu will be based on sustainability, a conscious effort in regards to sourcing, supporting local farms, sustainability, and what is available regionally and by season.

After spending a year at Komi, Spero has traveled to stage at many high pedigree kitchens including NOMA and Alinea to return to work at Townhouse in Chilhowie Virginia, and Toki Underground in Washington DC.

This will be an opportunity to not only dine but also participate in a rare culinary pop-up with an experience created by three very different and talented chef perspectives.

MENU
8 courses, 4 pairings for $120
Menu subject to change due to ingredient availability
Kampachi tartare- Pickled radish- Preserved lemon- Rice gel
Crab- Grapefruit- Buttermilk- Lovage
Chawanmushi- Scallop- Morel- Truffle
Smoked Duck- Salsify
Short Rib- Banana-Nasturtium
Sweet Potato- Caramel-Togarashi
Black Sesame- Hibiscus-Coconut Water-Basil
Mignardises – Banana nutella macaroon- Pate de Fruit- Truffles
*Correction: An earlier version of this post erroneously indicated that Spero had worked at Noma and Alinea. According to the official announcement, he has staged at Alinea and Noma. The item has been updated to reflect that distinction. The author regrets the error.
Photos courtesy of SŪNA
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