Blue Ribbon Brasserie will open in Kenmore Square this fall


The iconic New York institution will open in the former Eastern Standard space.

Blue Ribbon Brasserie
The beef marrow and oxtail marmalade from Blue Ribbon Brasserie. Photo by Steve Hill

A much awaited dining concept will be joining two sister restaurants on the doorstep of the Hotel Commonwealth in Kenmore Square.

Blue Ribbon Brasserie, a bustling institution that originated in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood in 1992, will be expanding to Boston this fall. The establishment is inspired by French restaurants but plays with the idea of the American brasserie, serving eclectic dishes. It will be opening in the space that formerly belonged to Garrett Harker’s Eastern Standard, joining the sister eateries Pescador and Blue Ribbon Sushi, also located street level at the Hotel Commonwealth. Co-founder Bruce Bromberg, who owns the Blue Ribbon Brasserie with his brother Eric Bromberg, said that he has always had a connection to Boston.

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“Growing up in the New York area, and having a brother who went to school in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and [having all gone to] summer camps in Maine… Boston’s always been part of our world,” Bromberg said. “When the opportunity came along to [join] in the revival of such an awesome and integral neighborhood in the center of Boston, it just seemed like a no-brainer for us.”

The restaurant will carry the spirit of the original SoHo location, which still sustains the energy of a celebratory hangout spot, Bromberg said. The concept is derived from the Brombergs’ experiences growing up.

“The food and menu really [are] derived from Eric’s and my childhood memories,” he said. “It is eclectic, and it comes from a lot of different places… There’s everything from matzo ball soup, to a pu-pu platter, to foie gras, to rack of lamb, to a burger. It was this idea that we got when we were students in Paris and [saw] this amazing, brasserie-style restaurant… but it’s also strongly derived from our culinary memories.”

On the menu, guests will find beef marrow and oxtail marmalade, one of their most famous dishes. They will also discover fried chicken, cheese fondue, catfish with potatoes and collard greens, shrimp Provencal, and escargots à la Bourguignonne. Cocktails include the Naked in the Desert, featuring Sotol and green chartreuse, as well as the John Daly, made of cold brew tea vodka, sweet tea, and lemonade. According to Bromberg, the menu is a reflection of “the progression over the last 30 years and how it will fit and exist in the New England area.”

The Boston location will be larger than the New York destination, featuring 265 seats. Guests will be able to dine within a sparkling, glass solarium that holds 48 seats. The main dining room will feature soft colors, leather banquets, and various nooks. An oyster bar and beverage bar will be featured, while mirrors and hanging lights suspended from the ceiling illuminate the space. A private dining room will seat 16 guests. The restaurant will display original artwork from Jen Ferguson.

While Blue Ribbon Brasserie will be moving into the former Eastern Standard space — with Pescador in the old Island Creek Oyster Bar spot and Blue Ribbon Sushi in The Hawthorne’s location — Bromberg said that he sees the restaurant as offering something different from the previous tenant. The concept draws from the founders’ own experiences and has always felt unique, he added. The original New York location is known to be open until 2 a.m., and the Boston spot will most likely cater to Boston’s nightlife scene, though probably closing at an earlier hour.

Blue Ribbon Brasserie is part of Blue Ribbon Restaurants, which operates 21 other eateries around the country. Bromberg said that he is thrilled to see the three sibling restaurants come together in Kenmore Square this fall.

“We are extremely excited,” he said. “In a way, the brasserie feels like the big brother, the seasoned sibling coming in, to bring it all together and solidify Blue Ribbon’s stamp on that neighborhood. It’s a super exciting time for us, to showcase what we’ve been doing for the last 30 years and what we’re going to be doing for the next.”