Here’s the Menu at Fat Hen, Opening Tonight in Somerville
Michael Bergin and Daniel Bojorquez have been roommates before, but the circumstances are quite a bit different this time. Bergin’s new venture, Fat Hen, opens tonight, in a former café space inside Bojorquez’s Somerville restaurant, La Brasa.
The two chefs are both alumni of Sel de La Terre and L’Espalier. When Bergin was planning a return to Boston from New York City, he reached out to Bojorquez to help him find a new opportunity.
“We’re longtime friends, we used to be roommates back in the day. He’s really like family,” Bojorquez says. At the time, what is now Fat Hen was used as a market and café, under the La Brasa umbrella. But Bojorquez didn’t think it was being used to its fullest extent. With Bergin at the helm, he saw potential for it to become its own, personalized venture.
“It really complements La Brasa, which is very relaxed, a neighborhood sort of concept. When it comes to Fat Hen, the idea behind that is to do something more polished, a little more sophisticated,” Bojorquez says.
In New York, Bergin honed in on his love of Italian cuisine, working at places like Batali & Bastinich Hospitality Group’s Del Posto, and the modern Italian A Voce. House-made spaghetti, tortellini, and other pastas are the focal point of his menu at Fat Hen, but the concise menu has starters—crescenza cheese-stuffed morel mushrooms, cold-smoked Boston mackerel—and larger entrées for flexible dining options. In the coming weeks, Bergin will add to both the antipasti and the secondi menu sections, but check out tonight’s opening menu below.
Bergin curated Fat Hen’s 20-ish-bottle wine list, which focuses on offbeat, organic varieties as well as traditional bottles, with the help of small-scale purveyors like Olmstead Wine Co. and Mucci Imports. Matthew Schrage, a hospitality consultant and cocktail pro, created a menu of pre-bottled cocktails, including Italian classics, that fits the needs of the small restaurant. Fat Hen doesn’t have its own bar, and as Eater Boston explains, baristas and bartenders pass drinks through a small window in the sliding, cherrywood doorway that separates the restaurant from La Brasa.
“It’s a very unique space,” Bojorquez says. “We’re under the same roof, but it has its own vibe and character.”
And what’s in a name at this refined Italian eatery? Fat Hen is actually La Brasa’s LLC, a title suggested by Frank McClelland. McClelland, chef/owner of L’Espalier, the late Sel de la Terre empire, and the newly opened Riversbend in Essex, is a mentor to both Bojorquez and Bergin, and he was an original partner at La Brasa. One day, Bojorquez and McClelland were working on the latter’s farm, and McClelland suggested the business name “because we were like chickens running around. It was a very funny picture,” Bojorquez recalls. When he and Bergin were tossing around ideas for the new concept, that one stuck.
“It shows opulence, and it has a lot of do with Italian cookery,” Bergin says. You can’t have pasta without eggs.
Fat Hen is open Wednesday-Sunday from 6-10 p.m. (11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays).
Fat Hen, 126 Broadway, Somerville, 617-764-1612, fathenboston.com.