Sean Brock opens innovative dining experience
By Janet Kurtz
Photography by John Troxel
Chef and storyteller Sean Brock brings each of his restaurants to life through subtly conveying of the importance of a dish or of an heirloom ingredient. Brock, known as an innovator and visionary, skyrocketed to success by creating thoughtful and well-curated restaurant concepts. Throughout his career, he has kept his heart firmly planted in the rolling hills and gentle mountains of his Appalachian homeland. Each of his concepts is uniquely designed and researched, then uses the freshest ingredients of the season and of the region. His newest restaurant, June, which opened in mid-July on Meridian Street above his restaurant Audrey, will complement this suite of gastronomic endeavors.
June is a journey that brings the traveler to an understanding of Brock’s culinary connection to Appalachia. Guests are treated to a five-act play for the senses as they travel through 20-plus dishes of a menu that details descriptions and concepts of canapes, water, land, dessert and petit fours. These courses include intricate, artful plates that are playful on the palate. The summer menu’s first course includes dishes such as Foie Gras, Finger Lime, Hoshigaki and Barley and Grilled Lobster with Lovage & Benne.
“The food is most certainly inspired by art in general, but especially by the art of Mary Mooney. Looking at her paintings calms my nervous system instantly. We often look to art for aesthetics,” Brock said. Additionally, the preparation of each dish is inspired by June’s adjacent Research & Development Lab, which is built with flavor extraction and concentration in mind.
The restaurant’s interior is dotted with light wood tables inspired by George Nakashima — an architect, woodworker and one of the fathers of the American Craft movement. The airy combination of light wood tables, clean lines and impressive windows invites guests to experience a merging of cultures that are near to Brock’s heart. “The biggest inspiration for June is my two favorite places — Appalachia and Japan. The interior design is heavily influenced by the great George Nakashima. The architecture is a blend of Appalachian tobacco barns and modern Japanese architecture.” Craft played a prominent role in the development of the menu as well as the design of the restaurant, including a custom-built stove — designed by Chris Demant and inspired by Brock’s 1957 Leica camera.
June is at 809 Meridian St. and is open Wednesdays through Saturdays. The tasting menu is $250 per person, $100 for a zero-proof pairing and $185 for a beverage/cocktail pairing. Reservation openings are released monthly through Resy.