Chez Noir, Carmel’s highly anticipated new fine-dining restaurant, opens on Friday

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One of this fall’s most anticipated restaurants opens this week with the Friday, October 7 opening of Chez Noir in the coastal town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. The restaurant comes from husband and wife co-owners Chef Jonny Black and Monique Black, who both bring experience working in Michelin-starred restaurants to the project. Jonny previously cooked at restaurants such as Per Se, Atelier Crenn and Quince, where Monique also worked front of house. Now the couple are putting down their roots in the Monterey Bay Peninsula, opening their fine dining restaurant in the same artisan home their family will call home.

Earlier this summer, Jonny said he was looking forward to applying his French culinary knowledge to the wealth of local ingredients available in the area around Chez Noir. “I like classic food, I like classic French food, but I also want people to come in and it’s not too stuffy,” Black said. “The great thing about finally opening your own restaurant is that there are no rules.”

Joseph Tisserand

Joseph Tisserand

The menu, which will change frequently, features local ingredients such as squid pulled from the Monterey Bay, caviar from the California Caviar Company, sea urchin from Santa Barbara, Rancho Gordo beans and Koda Farms rice. Diners looking to sample the California coast should have ample opportunity, chilled oysters served with rangpur lime and passion fruit and a small platter of seasonal shellfish.

A selection of snacks, inspired by the Spanish pintxo tradition, includes duck liver toast and an abalone sausage stuffed chicken wing. The menu will still feature a house-baked bread dish, followed by heavier plates such as spaghetti alla chiatarra, Monterrey abalone with cauliflower and a large grilled steak. Desserts will include Bohemian Creamery Boho Belle cheese with honey and fruit caramel or rum baba with Minazzoli farm peaches and whipped cream.

The wines, which will be selected by General Manager and Beverage Director Nate Cohen, will focus on “natural wines and small producers who farm ethically with minimal intervention,” according to a press release. Expect selections from France and Italy alongside domestic regions from Southern California to Washington. There is also an extensive selection of producer champagnes on hand. Cocktails, meanwhile, will rely on French spirits and liqueurs like pastis, vintage chartreuse, house-made absinthe and vermouth.

It will be an intimate restaurant with 36 seats in the dining room, eight at the bar and 22 in a courtyard anchored by a magnolia and a fire pit. Designed by San Francisco-based studio ROY, the restaurant also incorporates elements personal to the couple, including subtle references to “This Must be the Place”, Jonny and Monique’s first dance song from their wedding, and custom illustrations by Monique’s sister, Nicole Bourgea Gleason.

Chez Noir (5th Avenue, between Dolores and San Carlos Streets, Carmel) opens Friday, October 5 and will serve dinner Tuesday through Thursday from 5 to 8:30 p.m. and 4 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Reservations are available at tack.

Joseph Tisserand

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