Bye Bye, Boston Public

1212594422Though the city’s not lacking in the overpriced-beef department, it’s always sad to see a restaurant go. As the Globe unceremoniously reported on Friday, chef Pino Maffeo’s steak-centric Boston Public (formerly Boston Public Meat, formerly Restaurant L), went all Toscanini’s on us, abruptly closing its doors and citing financial difficulties.

Chowhound posters presume back-tax issues, but we can’t say we’re entirely surprised by the restaurant’s shuttering. I, for one, have never eaten there, and I’m hard-pressed to find friends who have. Certainly its location inside one of the city’s priciest, cooler-than-thou retailers, Louis Boston, had a dampening effect. A shop filled with Marni shifts and Balenciaga handbags, while awesome, doesn’t exactly suggest impromptu dinners and Tuesday-night cocktails—the kind of casual eating Bostonians seem to prefer these days.

Then again, Restaurant L seemed to do quite well in the space. Which begs the question: how well do food and fashion meld, really? The Achilles Project is built on the premise; time will tell if the synergy really works. (It helps that chef Michael Leviton’s food has been well-received.) As the Globe’s Devra First put it: “You don’t want your fashion to smell like food. And you don’t want your food to smell like fashion.”

In the meantime, what will become of the Boston Public dining space? With Louis Boston set to move out of its landmark Newbury Street building in 2010, and a successor not yet determined, it’s hard to imagine another restaurateur sliding in for a two-year stint. Anyone with insider info, or suggestions of what they’d love to see in its place? Leave comments below.

Me, I’d love the short-term uncertainty to spark an “ephemeral restaurant” trend—like Hotel Everland, which moves from city to city around the globe, they’d set up a super-simple boite for a year, serve crazy experimental cuisine, then move somewhere else. How much cooler-than-thou is that?