Dave Punch Opening Late-Night Asian Soul Food Diner
Chef Dave Punch has announced that he’ll be opening a brand new 695-square-foot concept at 1247 Centre Street in Newton, just down the street from his restaurant, Sycamore. Punch is calling the still-unnamed “micro-restaurant” (20 seats) an “East Asian soul food diner” that will focus on a menu of ramen, noodle soups, dumplings, buns, and rice bowls.
Joining him in his East Asian endeavor is former Ten Tables colleague, Alison Hearn, who previously spent time at Myers + Chang, B&G Oysters, and Steel & Rye. Hearn and Punch will split the title of chef/owner, with current Sycamore sous chef Daniel Scott (Blue Ginger) acting as executive chef at the new restaurant.
“We’re going to limit the menu to East Asian, Korean, Japanese, and a little bit of Chinese [influence],” Punch says. “With Alison’s background, as well as Daniel’s Korean heritage, we’re going to focus on certain things: lettuce wraps, eel bowls, pork katsudon bowls, and ramen. Ramen is my favorite food! We actually started up the ramen night [at Sycamore] as an outlet for our sous chef Daniel. But instead of doing our regular pork tonkotsu broth, which to me is a little more of a special occasion ramen, we’re developing a really unctuous, rich, sticky chicken broth.”
In addition to the aforementioned items, Punch and his team will also be preparing Hawaiian-style tuna poke, lion’s head meatballs, sugar cane-skewered meat kebobs, and a handful of desserts, such as Hearn’s paan leaf rice crispy treats.
To handle the beverage side of the menu, Punch is bringing over current Sycamore bar manager Scott Shoer, who is curating an extensive craft beer list, a full range of Japanese whiskies, and a selection of draft cocktails. Punch also says a major focus of the space will be its non-alcoholic program, with Shoer developing a number of infusions and house-made sodas.
When Punch’s new space launches this summer, it’ll be open daily from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Below, a sneak peek into his debut menu:
- salt & pepper rhode island squid “roll” -buttered bun with sriacha aioli & lime wedge
- steamed buns -grilled char sui pork, korean pear kimchi
- shrimp & yellow chive dumplings -spicy crab butter
- steelhead trout springroll lettuce wraps -leaf lettuce, crunchy veggies, hot n’ sweet sauce
- green papaya salad, sour orange, toasted chili-garlic fish sauce & peanuts -special house style, fresh pounded
- lion’s head meatballs -clay pot of giant fatty pork meatballs with broth & greens, black vinegar, and spicy chili crisp
- unagi bowl -smoked eel, sushi rice, toasted sesame, lightly pickled cucumber & sansho pepper