Last year, restaurateurs Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer (Coppa, Little Donkey, Toro, and more) ended their long partnership, with Bissonnette leaving to pursue other plans. Now we know what they are: Bissonnette, Andy Cartin, and Babak Bina have launched restaurant group BCB3.
In March, the trio will open modern Korean restaurant Somaek, listening bar Temple Records, and subterranean sushi counter Sushi @ Temple Records at 11 Temple Place in Downtown Crossing. They plan to open still more restaurants this year.
Cartin and Bina are known for Downtown Crossing’s JM Curley, Bogie’s Place, and the Wig Shop. Bina also ran longtime Beacon Hill date spot Lala Rokh, which closed in 2018. Bissonnette and Cartin are friends dating from restaurant days in 1990s Connecticut.
“He crashed my honeymoon. That’s how close we are,” Bissonnette says, a detail that hopefully bodes well for the partnership.
Somaek will serve food inspired by Bissonnette’s Korean mother-in-law, who is credited as a consultant on the menu: soups, noodles, rice cakes, pancakes — no barbecue or fried chicken, he says. The long, narrow 20-seat sushi bar is beneath Temple Records, where Bissonnette plans to show off an extensive record library.
“My collection is super-eclectic. We’ll play anything from Japanese city pop to funk to jazz. The hardest, heaviest thing I can imagine ever playing is Black Sabbath. No DJs. Not loud or dance-y,” he says.
Bissonnette won a Best Chef Northeast James Beard Award in 2014.