Born and raised in East Boston, Tony Messina spent countless hours in his grandparent’s kitchen cooking elaborate Italian feasts as a young boy and has been a fixture on the line in Boston restaurants since he began working as a caterer and cook at fourteen. After a stint shucking oysters and mixing drinks at Legal Seafoods, Tony joined the team at Michael Schlow’s newly opened Alta Strada, where he pulled double duty as a line cook and head server learning the ins and outs of the restaurant world.
In 2009, Tony decided to formalize his culinary training and attend the Cambridge Culinary School. During this time, he staged at some of the best restaurants in Boston, including Radius, Hamersley’s Bistro, Salts, No. 9 Park and Clio. He graduated as valedictorian of his class and returned to Alta Strada as Sous Chef. The food at Alta Strada really spoke to Tony’s heritage – simple, clean Italian food using only the best ingredients.
When Tony heard that Barbara Lynch would be opening a true fine dining restaurant in Boston, he was eager to be a part of the opening and hone his appreciation of haute cuisine. In 2010, he joined the opening team of Menton as Chef de Partie. The food was concise allowing the very few ingredients on the plate to truly shine.
Long a fan of Japanese cuisine and its nuanced artistry, Tony began his search to find the best sushi restaurant in Boston. He heard time and time again that AKA Bistro was pushing the boundaries of traditional sashimi. He called Chef/Owner Chris Chung (an alumnus of Uni Sashimi Bar) and asked if he had any openings. He joined the team as Chris’ Sashimi Assistant in 2011, eventually becoming the Assistant Sashimi Chef himself. At AKA Bistro, there were no limits to what sashimi could be, drawing inspiration from France, Italy, Spain, and even America.
Tony’s next move brought him to Ken Oringer’s Uni Sashimi Bar, where he was named Sashimi Chef in September 2012. There he borrowed from cultures around the world to create dishes like hisDuet of Hamachi, which incorporates modern techniques, Japanese ingredients, and Mediterranean influence (the loin is paired with red ginger, candied jalapenos and banana glass, while the toro is matched with truffle vinaigrette and pork belly croutons).
In 2016, the intimate sashimi bar expanded into the former Clio space to become a full-scale Japanese restaurant serving inventive Asian cuisine. The menu highlights fresh seafood, with innovative sashimi and sushi offerings, and utilizes exciting flavors and ingredients in street food-inspired dishes. With the expansion of UNI, Tony took on the role of Executive Chef and Partner alongside Owner Ken Oringer. In 2018, Tony was honored by Boston magazine as the city’s “Best Outstanding Chef” in their annual Best of Boston issue. In May 2019, the James Beard Foundation named him "Best Chef: Northeast" at the annual James Beard Awards ceremony. Tony was a semifinalist in 2017 and a nominee in 2018 in the same category.
I had the great pleasure of working at and with the very talented members of the Uni team under Chef Messina and we are beyond grateful to have this opportunity to welcome him into our kitchen here at Mr. Kim's on Tuesday, October 1st to showcase his tremendous talents!
Mr. Kim's x Oxbow Brewing Company!
PAGING ALL CRAFT BEER LOVERS! we cordially invite you to join us at 107 State St at Mr. Kim's Upstairs on Sunday, September 22nd for some special can & bottled craft beer made by our friends at Oxbow Blending & Bottling in Portland, Maine combined with the culinary flavors of Mr. Kim's.
perfect pairing for after the game & the perfect spot to hang out with good company.
a little bit about our guests:
Oxbow is a small farmhouse brewery located in rural Newcastle, Maine. The brewery is nestled in an enchanted forest amongst rolling farmlands and winding tidal rivers, of which the ebb and flow provide a constant reminder that the coast is near. The name Oxbow is inspired by the bends in these rivers, the Dyer in particular, which features stunning horseshoe-shaped oxbows where the river covers tremendous ground to travel what could otherwise be a very short linear distance. We employ a similar approach when crafting our beers, taking months or years to create a beverage that is commonly produced in a matter of days.
OXBOW BLENDING & BOTTLING
Fifty miles southwest of the brewery, right in the middle of Portland, Maine’s largest city, lies Oxbow Blending & Bottling. This urban outpost provides much-needed space for beer production, housing 200+ oak barrels and dozens of stainless steel tanks. All of the vessels in this space are filled with mixed-fermentation or “sour” beers that require extended aging and conditioning times. Approximately 25% of this 10,000 square foot warehouse is dedicated to our bar, event space, and Gallery 49 art gallery. The bar features an extensive selection of Oxbow and guest brewery drafts and bottles, as well as an eclectic selection of wine and Amaro. The venue is utilized for a plethora of art shows and community events, from the local tackle shop, hosting a fly tying night, to live hip-hop nights featuring underground and old school artists such as Pharaoh Monch and Onyx. Outside of Oxbow Blending & Bottling is a small beer garden that is shared with our friends from Duckfat restaurant and is the source of some of the best food in the city. This James Beard award-winning restaurant team has a focus on European-inspired foods that pair wonderfully with our dry, rustic beer offerings.
don't miss out, these guys are one of the top premier craft maine beer producers.
we can't wait & look forward to having you!
Special Guest DJ: The Wig
King Street Sounds | Brooklyn, NY
we are pleased to welcome back an original RED DOOR DJ favorite, The Wig, to the turntables here at Mr. Kim's upstairs.
save the date.
Saturday, September 21st
8pm - Midnight
Mr. Kim's Upstairs
a little bit about our special guest:
THE WIG is an internationally touring New York City based DJ/Producer who made the leap into the dance music world after honing his skills in classical percussion and performance since 2005. The WIG skillfully crafts his tracks and live sets to create a unique experience for the dance club and is known for his creative compositions, technical efficiency, and infectious energy. The WIG has performed at some of the world’s best dance floors with his music being heard in over 30 countries. Drawing upon new technologies such as the DrumKAT MIDI device and live percussion, The WIG allows his performances to be a unique mix of LIVE and prerecorded music easily making any crowd WIG-out.
Our friends at Lure Bar & Kitchen in downtown Portsmouth have graciously allowed us into their home at 100 Market Street on Sunday, April 28th. as we continue progress at our home in 107 State Street, we welcome you to another culinary preview of what's to come at Mr Kim's. We begin the festivities at 12pm.
Excited and look forward to having you there!
All good things must come to an end….well, not really. I’d like to take a minute to extend a huge thank you to chef Will Myska and team Ore Nell’s for their gracious hospitality during these last 3 months. This Monday, April 15th marks the last official pop-up on the “island” in Kittery with your chance at a sneak preview of what is to come in my new home at 107 State St. in Portsmouth. Thank you for all your support. I am grateful for the continued excitement from the Seacoast community and look forward to seeing you soon!
rajas poblanas, avocado, cotija
celeriac kimchi, cucumber, king's hawaiian roll
HOKKAIDO POTATO MOCHI
japchae vegetable, apricot, doenjang butter
THE ‘COWBOY HAT LADY’ PORK & EGG
steamed rice, braised pork, pickled greens, soft egg
MAYBE YOU SAVED ROOM?
cinnamon granita, marshmallow fluff, chocolate crumb
No reservations. Just eat.
Menu and pricing subject to change.