During an interview I conducted late last year with Ris Lacoste, the fixture for a decade at 1789, the chef revealed some of the inspiration behind her new place, RIS, in the West End:

Bob Kinkead, my dearest friend and mentor, said, ‘Ris, you look for an underserved neighborhood, you know.’ He would always say, ‘Open a diner.’ I always wanted to open a diner…My working title of the project was Lacoste Fine Diner, and that’s what helped me create my concept. It just said what it was. You know: fine diner…

RIS is indeed a fascinating blend of chef-driven, seasonal New American dishes and chef-driven All American comfort food, the stuff that can be enjoyed year-’round. At RIS, you can order a $36 veal chop with gremolata sauce or a $10 cheeseburger with onion jam.

If you want to know the truth, though, I favored one side of RIS over the other. You can find out in this week’s Young & Hungry column.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery