First off, Chesa, the new restaurant from 2016 James Beard Award semifinalist, José Chesa, is much larger than expected. Serving modern Spanish cuisine, it has a sizable foyer, a large main dining room, a long bar area with plenty of standing room, and an outdoor patio that will open when it's warm.
Chef Chesa, Cristina Baéz, and Emily Metivier, will open the doors to Chesa tonight at 5 p.m. As the photos above show, it has the Old World atmosphere of an old-school Spanish restaurant, along with some modern touches, like custom bar-lighting made from Spanish Porron wine pitchers.
The restaurant's open kitchen is its centerpiece. Seaweed-green and ocean-blue tiles mark a break with the dining areas' neutral colors—from the cement floors, to the frosted glass partition sectioning off the bar and main dining room. Here, pillowy salt cod beignets are shaped into bite-sized ovals; paellas and mussels are given a signature charcoal flavor from the Spanish-made Josper charcoal oven; and chef Chesa's "second" bravas are mandolined and fried to a mix of fluffiness and crisp.
Head bartender Tony Gurdian (Imperial) has developed the restaurant's signature cocktails, and the Chesa Gin Tonic is entirely mixed and then entirely carbonated, for a fully integrated sip. The cocktail's smooth effects could soon be legendary, especially when that patio opens this summer.
Chesa is located at 2200 NE Broadway, right alongside 180, the Spanish churros and drinking chocolate restaurant also opened by Chesa and Baéz, along with business partner, David Martin. Beginning tonight, Chesa will serve dinner Tuesday through Saturday, from 5 to 10 p.m.