Notion to reopen in February

Written by Melissa McCart on

racicotChef David Racicot confirms Notion will reopen in at 128 S. Highland Avenue in East Liberty in early February.

In the meantime, he has shuttered Oakmont's 314 Pasta and Prime, the Italian-centric casual restaurant in Notion's first location. Doors closed two days ago.

"That's another story," he says of his decision. "I have learned an awful lot this year."

Mr. Racicot says what he has learned will show in the new Notion, a 28-seat, white-tablecloth restaurant. 

"It's more experience-driven this time around," he says, citing bread-service and polished front of the house interactions as a parallel priority to the food. 

White tile, light walls and a glass sculpture from Pittsburgh Glass Center detail the intimate space, a departure from casual dining rooms, reclaimed wood or the industrial aesthetic that dominates restaurant design right now.

Like the original, the reborn Notion nods to modernist cuisine. Mr. Racicot says the public's familiarity with the genre has allowed his and others' cooking to evolve. 

"Back in 2005, a chef would design a dish around spherification," he says, citing the transformation of a broth or Cognac into a gelled-skin marble. "Now it's a garnish or a component. These techniques have gone from 'wow' to 'cool'."

Modernism has introduced thickener agar and sodium alginate into kitchens. It has required tools such as the rotary evaporator for distilling or anti-griddles for instant freeze.

What had been novel or strange is now employed at many restaurants, whether or not they identify as modernist. 

Whatever techniques or ingredients Mr. Racicot displays on his plates, he assures they will be refined. 

"I want Notion to be as serious as possible without it being pretentious."

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