Helen Schwab

Charlotte chef going out on his own with new place

Chef Michael Shortino
Chef Michael Shortino COURTNEY ESTES

Chef Michael Shortino, who opened BAKU with a stellar effort, plans to open his own place in May in South End.

Named Futo Buta, it will offer housemade ramen noodles, along with steamed buns, Japanese-style fried chicken and an array of sakes and local beers, at 222 E. Bland St. (That’s in the Post South End complex, on the light rail line.)

The name translates to “fat pig,” we’re told, and “the cuisine will be authentic, but not traditional,” says Shortino. Ramen will be center stage (for those unfamiliar with it, don’t think of grocery-aisle ramen: Think lush flavors, toothsome noodles and all sorts of combinations), but gyoza and sushi will be on hand, too. Signature dishes will include a Lowcountry pork belly steamed bun, tsukemen ramen (a style of ramen in which the noodles are served separately and you dip them into broth) and housemade kimchi.

Shortino aims to work to local purveyors, though assures us the sake will come from Japan. The place will seat about 40 inside and 40 on a patio, and plans call for it to be open for both lunch and dinner. Shortino came to Charlotte about a year and a half ago for BAKU, and had previously opened ROKA, a similar concept in Scottsdale, Ariz.

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