Big Night Entertainment Group has recently opened several Boston venues — Red Lantern, Gem — that straddle the line between restaurant and lounge. If there’s been any doubt about their motivation, it’s answered now with their latest. They’ve called it Empire, and that’s what they are building, one property at a time.
Like Red Lantern, Empire takes the continent of Asia as inspiration for its menu. There are elaborate sushi rolls that might contain blackened snapper, shiso, bird chili, pickled okra, and smoked paprika, or tempura cod, malt vinegar mayo, and potato “crispies.” There are lobster-scallion pancakes and crab rangoons, steamed buns and potstickers, pho and udon, curry barbecue salmon with miso and steak with a rub influenced by Korea. Rest assured, there are riffs on the scorpion bowl, saketinis, lychee martinis, and more.
The place opened in June, at Fan Pier on the waterfront. The decor is inspired by the China of yore and contemporary Asia, with several seating areas — a salon with couches; a bar and lounge decorated with wood moongates; the “Great Wall Gallery,” where photos and artwork are on display; and several dining rooms. The space is anchored by an open kitchen with a noodle station, wok bar, and sushi bar. There is outdoor seating, as well.
Welcome to Empire, the latest step in Big Night Entertainment Group’s march toward local domination. Devra First