Ribelle Will Shutter After Service Tonight
Tim Maslow’s boundary-pushing Washington Square restaurant has been sold.
Ribelle accomplished quite a bit in just three short years: The Washington Square restaurant earned a rare, four-star review from the Boston Globe, a Best of Boston General Excellence accolade for chef Tim Maslow, a Best New Chef nod from Food & Wine. But it’s all over tonight.
Maslow appeared “happy and relieved” last night when he told the Globe Ribelle would close. Previously, the chef was candid about the pressures a four-star review can put on a neighborhood restaurant. He told Boston in 2014:
At first, my father, myself, and Theresa Paopao [beverage director and general manager] looked at it as something amazing; maybe something we didn’t deserve, but something that was totally necessary for us to continue doing what we wanted to do. I thought, ‘Finally, somebody trusts us.’ But what we’re finding as we move forward is that those four stars come with a stigma. People expect more than we ever intended on offering. I think Devra’s review was very straight-forward about who we are. I think it was all honest. But when people see four-stars at surface value, you’re being left in a very hard situation. More often than not, it’s a situation we can’t win. We make most of our customers happy, but there are quite a few that are expecting Per Se or Menton; somewhere that is not us. Our menus are attached to cutout cardboard from wine boxes. We play semi-loud music. There’s communal seating. We don’t have white tablecloths or four waiters per table. I think that puts us in a bit of a predicament, at least until people give us a second shot and understand that we’ve been given this rating strictly based on what we do. If you’re the best at what you do, even if you’re a hamburger restaurant, you should be able to get four stars.
Earlier this year, Maslow was arrested at the Canadian border on drug charges, which were later dropped. Right after his arrest, he instated a classic French bistro menu at Ribelle—swordfish pan bagnat, beef tartare, dry-aged strip loin—taking steps to rebrand the restaurant as 1665 Beacon.
Tonight is the final opportunity to visit the talented chef’s first ownership venture, but Maslow will continue to consult at Strip-T’s, the edgy Watertown diner and sandwich shop run by his father, Paul Maslow.
Next, the Momofuku Ssam alum is bringing his bold style and mastery of flavor to the kitchen at the Southeast Asian wonderland, Tiger Mama, the Globe reports.
Ribelle, 1665 Beacon St., Washington Square, Brookline, 617-232-2322, ribellebkline.com.