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'Restaurant Startup' Winner Opens Rarest Tonight in Washington Square West

The seasonal American restaurant and raw bar makes its debut

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When he was on CNBC’s Restaurant Startup, chef Anthony Marini’s winning vision was simple: a restaurant, called The Rarest, which focuses on raw or slightly cooked food. But now, over a year later, the concept has since evolved into so much more, and you can get a first taste of it tonight, November 1 — opening night at Rarest.

Marini’s restaurant is now filling the ground floor of AKA Washington Square at 834 Chestnut Street in the space once occupied by Palace at the Ben, when the building was still called the Ben Franklin. With his partners Thomas and Stephen Finley of Finley Catering, the CIA-grad will debut his menu (below) of "modern" and "seasonal" American eats with a "unique raw bar with crudo, ceviche, and tartare".

Alexandra Cherniavsky is the G.M., and before Rarest, she was found manning Avance’s cellars as wine director, and after it closed, general managing Jose Garces’s venerable Amada in Old City. She’s put together quite a collection that she calls both "interesting to novices and interesting to experts." The 80+ bottle list spans the globe, with a slight focus on bubbles—something she thinks would match Marini’s cooking. On tap: five craft beers and a Vieux Carré cocktail. Kevin Lopez will head up the ingredient-driven cocktail program. Since we’re well into fall, Lopez is building drinks around pumpkin seeds, beets, and carrots; check that menu below as well.

Kitchen hours are typical: 5-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, till 11 p.m on weekends, and bar hours go two hours later. Lunch is already being considered for the future.

Like AKA’s other concepts ( and included), The Rarest’s inside is sleek and stylish, full of concrete, wood, brown leather and modern art (many of which was inspired by Marini’s personal life, or created by Marini himself). Take a look around, and see it for yourself in person starting at 5 p.m. tonight.

Dinner menu

Wine, Cocktails and Beer