BELFAST, Maine — One of Belfast’s best-known buildings, the Gothic, will boast a refurbished facade and a new dining concept when Chef Matthew Kenney opens Arata later in the space this month.
The Searsport native and raw food celebrity chef’s newest project is described as a plant-based “experimental culinary incubator,” with a focus on flavors from the Far East. It will replace The Gothic, the restaurant Kenney opened with a media flurry in the brick Victorian building in June 2013. The Gothic, which was named the 2013 Restaurant of the Year by the website Eater Maine, quietly closed for good last November.
The new seasonal restaurant will feature such fare as smoked king oyster buns, Arata ramen with pulled mushrooms, grilled bok choy, kimchi pancakes with Bibb lettuce and sesame oil cake. It is located close to Kenney’s PlantLab, which serves as the chef’s experimental and learning space.
“I’m thrilled that the next project aimed at crafting the future of food is taking place in my home state of Maine,” Kenney said in a press release. “I’m excited to share a delicious, healthy menu with the Maine community, and continue to prove that plant-based cuisine truly knows no bounds.”
The brick building that will be home to Arata also has made headlines for other reasons recently. In March, a Massachusetts man crashed into the building at high speed, later dying of his injuries. The floor-to-ceiling plate glass window behind the bar at the Gothic was shattered, and contractors are working to repair the damaged wall.
Arata, Japanese for “fresh and new,” according to Kenney, is scheduled to open on Friday, May 27.