Warm tomatoes over ice at Acru. Photo: Jonah Rosenberg

Chef Daniel Garwood has been working on the tomatoes he’ll serve at his first restaurant, Acru, for a while. They will be, as he puts it, “quite a layered dish.” The ground level is some Montauk tuna, which, granted, is not tomato. The next layer is grilled-tomato jelly. Up from there, after the seaweed and kimchee granita seasoned with anise hyssop, goes the star of the dish: more tomatoes. “They’ll be slowly grilled over shagbark hickory and then coated in a reduction made from the shagbark,” Garwood says. “It’s almost like a tomato raisin.” They’re served warm from the pan, over the ice, “so you get the different textures: really warm, juicy, succulent tomatoes with something really cooling on the palate.”

When it opens in July, Acru will be a 45-seat Greenwich Village neo-bistro, of sorts, with a $95 tasting menu and à la carte ordering at the bar. The food will highlight ideas from Garwood’s native Australia — he grew up in Tasmania — and techniques he honed while working in Denmark, Sweden, Italy, and South Korea. His last job was at Atomix, an essential destination for the city’s deep-pocketed gastro tourists, and owners Junghyun (who goes by JP) and Ellia Park are partners here, too. For the couple, it marks the first outpost of their growing empire — which includes Atoboy, Naro, and Seoul Salon — that is not overtly Korean, though that influence comes through across the rest of the menu.

Sea bass is paired with a pea jjang; a meat course — maybe Appalachian lamb or Sasso chicken — might include an ingredient Garwood is calling “seamite,” an oceanic take on Vegemite made with seaweed; a goat-cheese tart features makgeolli-marinated leeks; and purple-rice mousse features into an oxidized-green-almond-ice that is (stay with us here) based off a technique Garwood learned in northwestern Italy, where grappa is made with green almond. “Green almond is really acidic, so it’s really good to use as your base when you’re making high spirits,” he says. He’s blending that with a technique he explains is derived from cheong, a Korean technique in which fruit is left to sit in sugar for an extended period of time. “I kind of mixed the two ideas together, and thought, All right, well, this is going to be something really unique.”

Still, it’s Australia’s culinary history that will be front and center. A series of petits fours (“dessert banchan,” Garwood calls them) incorporates a riff on the country’s Golden Gaytime ice-cream bars, and for the tasting’s first course, Garwood is developing what he calls a sanga tart. It’s an ode to the sausage sizzles held in backyards and, famously, at the hardware chain Bunnings, a sausage over white bread with grilled onions. Here, of course, it’s been tweaked: Garwood takes white bread and bakes it into a tart. The sausage is boudin and, in addition to the grilled onions, it’s finished with more onions — which have been pickled — and caviar. “Most families have this on the weekend,” Garwood says of the inspiration, “so we’ve got to do something like that.”

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