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Back in August, Mike Isabella told Y&H that he believes the next frontier for dining is collaboration restaurants, where chefs aren’t just cooking with each other at events but actually opening businesses together. “There are chefs that I would like to partner up with down the road…I think it’d be cool to pair up with some type of chef that does Asian food,” he said.
And so he has. Isabella announced today that he is teaming up with chef Jonah Kim to open a noodle bar and small plates restaurant in Ballston called Yona. Kim was formerly chef at now-closed Baltimore izakaya Pabu and co-hosts Mandu‘s monthly guest chef series Anju.
The restaurant will be located in the same building as Isabella’s other forthcoming Ballston eateries, Greek Kapnos Taverna and Mexican Pepita, at 4000 Wilson Blvd. Yona will serve traditional and not-so-traditional ramen plus small plates that blend Kim’s Korean heritage and Japanese culinary training. Dinner offerings will include steamed duck buns, crispy Brussels sprouts with fermented chili mayo, and double-fried Korean-style chicken wings. Lunch will center more around quick-serve dishes like donburi rice bowls and ramen. While Isabella is a partner in the restaurant, he will leave menu development to Kim.
Taha Ismail, who oversees the drink menus at all of Isabella’s restaurants, will put together a selection of beer, sake, and cocktails.
Photo by Greg Powers