Pretty big news for downtown dining: Michael Mina's eight-year-old brasserie RN74, famous for its long and expense-account-shattering wine list, is going to be calling it quits later this year and "transitioning" into a barbecue restaurant. The Business Times has the scoop, and the place will be called International Smoke i.e. a brick-and-mortar incarnation of the pop-up that Mina did with Mrs. Steph Curry herself, Ayesha Curry, last year in his revolving Test Kitchen space in the Marina.
The restaurant sits at the base of the sinking Millennium Tower, but that debacle does not seem to be at the heart of Mina's decision to shutter RN74. He gave a statement saying that he wants to "reinvigorate the building with new energy and excitement, especially given [International Smoke's] success at MINA Test Kitchen."
The concept is international barbecue driven by seasonal ingredients, and reportedly there will be a $45 prix-fixe, family-style menu similar to the one offered at the pop-up.
And Mina is betting big on Curry and her barbecue: this will be the second location of International Smoke, with a first already open in Honolulu, and a third set to open in Los Angeles later this year.
Mina said in an email to the Business Times, "Ayesha and I have worked on this project for quite some time and are excited to share a lighter side of barbecue, featuring global flavors and cooking techniques with signature MINA Group hospitality that you've come to know." The chef and restaurant mogul has not disclosed when the transition will be taking place, or how long the place may go dark for a renovation.
RN74, with its signature market wine list on one wall in the form of an old-fashioned train schedule ticker, has had some ups and downs over its eight years its sinking building notwithstanding as Michael Bauer noted in a positive update review in 2014.
And its chef, Adam Sobel, who oversaw what Bauer characterized as a rebound three years ago, already moved on to "incubate" a couple of new projects in the MINA Test Kitchen as well. It's rumored that the Mina Group's next project, in fact, is reported to be a brick-and-mortar incarnation of Sobel's Middle-Terranea pop-up that was there last year. Though there hasn't been movement on that since Eater got that scoop in early 2016, the restaurant had been slated to move into ground-floor space at Salesforce's "East" building at 350 Mission Street, down the street from their new tower.