For those wondering what the next chapter will be for the talented Cyrus Keefer, the former Fork & Wrench chef reports that he will soon be opening his own spot, an upscale French- and Asian-inspired restaurant in Hampden.
Keefer is calling the new space Pique, the technique used to flavor béchamel sauce. The word also inspired him, he says, because "the word means to arouse and excite."
"The French technique is what every kid learned in culinary school," says Keefer. "And that's what you need to have under your belt to make new music. This will not be a safe place for me—it will be a place to let it all out."
Following the latest trend toward small spaces, the new boutique bistro will have fewer than 30 seats and will be BYOB for now.
"My training is French, but I also have a passion for Japanese cooking and Asian flavors," explains Keefer, whose chef C.V. includes a stint at the highly hailed Mise en Place in Tampa, FL. "This will be a French food with a nod to Asia."
Fans of Keefer's inventive cooking will find his creativity playing out on the plates at Pique, as well. Look for an octopus dish utilizing curry and smoked potatoes, a Mediterranean-style duck dish with olives and ginger, as well as dumplings and dim sum.
Keefer's escargot from Fork & Wrench will find its way on this menu, too. "I'm going to honor that and a few other dishes I didn't want to let go of," he says.
After leaving Fork & Wrench in September, Keefer's original plans were to do a casual concept Asian-style poultry place called "Allbird." He still plans on testing the concept by doing a pop-up in Pique's space after 9:30 on Thursday and Friday nights.
Ultimately, he decided not to move ahead with the Allbird concept because, he says, "I didn't think the concept was right for a small spot. What I hope to achieve is that it will be a place we can grow into. We'll do it under the same roof for now and see what happens with the late-night crowd."
For anyone interested in a preview of Pique's menu, Keefer plans on showing his stuff at a $65/per person, six-course pop-up at Sotto Sopra on Jan. 22 as part of a Kickstarter campaign to raise restaurant funds.
Pique is slated to open in March 2015.