Restaurateur Mike Shaw welcomed a new member to a family of Southie restaurants with the addition of Fat Baby, an Asian-inspired concept that moved in around the corner from Loco, Capo and Lincoln earlier this month. The location features a far more intimate setting than fans of the group’s other ventures are accustomed to, and it was that distinct shape of the space that led general manager Rachel Titcomb to dub the restaurant their “fat baby.”
“It kind of stuck,” says Shaw, who co-owns the new spot with Michael Conlon and Eric Aulenback. “I think we half-heartedly explored other names, but we were pretty much sold once we heard it.”
While it was happenstance that led to the name, the idea behind the sushi spot came nearly two years ago when Shaw took a trip to Asia, hopping from Hong Kong to Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City.
“On our last night in Ho Chi Minh, we had this amazing, super-traditional Vietnamese meal with these really colorful plates, cold beer and awesome music,” Shaw says. “I remember taking a picture of the table and saying to my friend, ‘If this doesn’t exist in Southie in a couple years, we’re probably not doing our jobs.’ ”
Fat Baby’s kitchen brings together Loco chef Matt Drummond, sushi chef Kegan Stritchko and chef de cuisine Danielle Dorcil for a menu that puts a twist on traditional Asian fare. The snack section features light bites like pork katsu skewers and chicken bahn mi bao, a selection of three rotating noodle dishes, specialty sashimi such as the zuke marguro with soy marinated tuna, miso gazpacho, kaffir lime oil, candied apricots and dried cherries, and an array of traditional and specialty maki, while the drink menu boasts options like sake sangria and the Tenley Parrish, a mixture of rum, triple sec, passion fruit puree, cranberry and coconut.
The dining area seats about 100 and sports copper bar tops and graffiti-style geishas across the walls, a feel that Shaw believes will carve out a niche in the neighborhood empire. But he also makes sure to pay homage to his other venture, adorning the bathroom walls with hundreds of baby photos of staff and friends from Loco as well as Fat Baby.
“I think that one of the things that will set Fat Baby apart from the other restaurants in our family is that it is the most intimate room,” Shaw says. “It’s got a humble funkiness to it that’s hard to find.”
Fat Baby 118 Dorchester St., Boston (617-766-3450) fatbabysouthboston.com