New South American restaurant LeChon will soon be serving the wood-fired cuisine of Chile and Argentina at the Smith Block Building on Naito Parkway, near the site of the forthcoming James Beard Public Market.
Flames from the restaurant’s custom-made outdoor grills will reportedly kiss 90% of the menu. Think perfectly charred flank steak, slow roasted Patagonian pork, bacon-wrapped duck breast, redfish escabeche, and traditional cazuelas (cooking pots) stuffed with seafood. Even small plates and desserts like grilled peaches with burrata, and dulce de leche creme brûlée will be finished on the open fires.
Designed by Shannon Ponciano, the space will have a fluid indoor/outdoor vibe perfect for the ever-changing weather. Two public aquarium-scale fish tanks will create an interior focal point. Indoor and outdoor bars will both serve wines from Chile and Argentina, plus South American cocktails sweetened with passionfruit, guava, or lychee. In addition to the indoor kitchen, a second, full-sized outdoor cooking galley will showcase the fiery spectacle of executive chef Jaco Smith and his crew wrestling flames in open air. Diners can gather around the fires to watch the grilling action, or take in the view of the river and bustling Esplanade across the street. You can get a general idea of the design from the early renderings, above, below and to the right.
Come August 15, LeChon will open for breakfast daily from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and dinner until 10 p.m. Happy hour will happen Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and again from 9 p.m. to close.