Nomai, a new Shōjō team restaurant, opens in Hingham

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It’s a sophisticated New America spot with Asian touches, as well as an award-winning master of mai tai cocktails.


Nomai. / Courtesy picture

An urban destination for date nights and family dinners will be unveiled this weekend on the South Shore. Nomai, a new project from Brian Moy, the restaurateur behind popular Chinatown spot Shōjō, opens on Saturday January 22 in Hingham to shops on Derby Street. His new “adult and sophisticated” restaurant has its roots in Pan-Asian Shōjō food and drink, urban and hip hop, says Moy, with a little more sophistication (and a lot more seating).

Nomai, a name that nods to the crimson maple of Japan, spans 130 seats inside with a 20-seat U-shaped bar. Against a minimalist backdrop of industrial plaster walls and white oak framing, the design elements really pop in the space, which was designed by Boston-based Sousa Design Architects, from the red upholstered seating to the four 18-metre nomai trees. feet tall. inside the dining room. A 50-seat patio will debut this spring, equipped with a heating and cooling system and accordion windows that can completely enclose it.

Koji fried chicken. / Courtesy picture

There are also striking works of art, including a unique wall panel by legendary street artist Shepard Fairey. Moy also commissioned a piece from local artist Markus Sabastiano that depicts Shōjō’s monkey logo alongside abstract imagery reflecting the Moy family’s multi-generational Chinatown history as well as the Hingham community.

Elements of Chinatown and the Hingham Coast are also evident in the food, which Moy describes as “Asian New American.” Check out the opening menu below, curated by Culinary Director Jason Hua, Moy and Executive Chef Bradley Yard. It has a wide range of raw bar offerings, snacks, and appetizers, including tuna spring rolls with daikon and sprouts; wagyu beef tataki with sliced ​​mushrooms, white soy and watercress; and homemade black truffle tofu. Entree-style portions include steamed sea bass with crispy rice and bok choy; and Grandma Hua’s handmade carrot noodles with beef bourguignon.

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Moy and Hua planted the seeds of their kitchen collaboration about 20 years ago, when the two bonded over a shared love of food and hospitality as students at Boston University School of Management. . Moy recalls one night when, on his way to the library, Hua and another friend pulled up in a car next to him, telling him, “Come on, we’re going to Jumbo Seafood” in Chinatown. Over dinner, the team started talking: wouldn’t it be great to work together in a restaurant one day?

That day has finally arrived, and in the meantime, Hua has built an impressive resume in the restaurant business. After BU, he worked for award-winning Boston chef Ken Oringer, helping to develop the original concept for the now legendary Back Bay Uni. He then attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York, joined Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s family of restaurants, and worked in Europe for a time. In 2011, Hua returned to New York to open The Dutch as chef and managing partner; it rolled up New York Times critic Sam Sifton’s choice for best new restaurant in town that year.

Snow peas over a wood fire. / Courtesy picture

This all bodes very well for Boston diners. Hua helped Moy refine the Nomai concept and will return to Hingham seasonally to help with menu changes. Yard, meanwhile, performs the vision in the kitchen every night.

On the drinks side, Nomai echoes Shōjō’s famous fiery program. For one thing, it has a lively bar manager in Justin Park, who comes to Nomai through Honolulu’s popular Bar Leather Apron. Park has won several mai tai competitions, so naturally he has a version on the menu here too. You will indeed find many classic cocktail riffs as well as completely original creations with tropical and Asian influences. Among them: the Matcha Maker with Makers Mark Bourbon, creme de menthe and matcha tea powder; and the Winter Strawberry in Japan, a cup of tea filled with Japanese vodka, shocho, strawberry syrup and bergamot.

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Nomai’s bar has one of the largest selections of Japanese whiskey in the area, and there are plans to eventually offer a wide range of scotch as well. (The construction of this program has been affected by a worldwide shortage of glass bottles, says Moy.) There is also sake, beer and wine.

Nomai will begin with dinner service every evening, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. (11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays). Lunch and brunch will begin in the coming months as the restaurant is able to staff.

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“Hiring has been a roller coaster,” says Moy, who also plans to reopen his Chinatown noodle shop, Ruckus, this spring. It will also open two new Shōjō locations in 2022, first in Cambridge Central Square and then in Lowell.

In Hingham, meanwhile, Nomai has been greeted with great enthusiasm by the community, says Moy. Reservations are now open for the new restaurant, and the first nights are booked up quickly. On a cold arctic weekend, the welcome doesn’t get much warmer than this.

94 Derby St. (Derby Street Shops), Hingham, nomaihingham.com.

Filet mignon with lemongrass. / Courtesy picture

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