It’s a new era for Kenmore Square: Blue Ribbon Sushi opens in the old Hawthorne space at Hotel Commonwealth (500 Commonwealth Ave.) on Thursday, June 23.
It’s the first of three new restaurants from New York City-based Blue Ribbon Restaurants, overseen by chef-owners Bruce and Eric Bromberg. The first Blue Ribbon Sushi opened in Soho in 1995, drawing raves from former New York Times critic Ruth Reichl.
“If you have ever felt like a clumsy foreigner and worried about doing the wrong thing in a sushi bar, this is the place for you,” she wrote.
In an earlier Globe interview, Eric Bromberg described the sushi menu as “traditional homestyle cooking from Japan. What we’ve done with that, really, is to try to stay as true to traditional sushi and Japanese dishes as we can — basically sushi in its cleanest form.” Blue Ribbon began as a collaboration with longtime sushi chef and partner Toshi Ueki, who died in 2018.
Eventually, all three restaurants (including a brasserie and a coastal seafood spot) will occupy an iconic space: the longtime home of Eastern Standard, Island Creek Oyster Bar, and the Hawthorne. Those restaurants closed in 2021, after a protracted landlord-tenant dispute. Restaurateur Garrett Harker has several restaurants in the works down the block on Beacon Street.
Blue Ribbon Sushi has 120 seats, with a 14-seat sushi counter where guests can try Japanese whiskey, beer, and sake. Visit for dinner Tuesday through Sunday from 5 p.m., with lunch to follow.