Boston, MA 02215
In 1997, Clio took up residence in the Eliot Hotel, turning a basic neighborhood watering hole (the Eliot Lounge) into an elegant Parisian-style supper club that quickly earned a national reputation.
Chef Ken Oringer’s unique contemporary French-American cooking, done with a more-than-occasional Asian twist, continues to captivate – as does the restaurant’s leopard-spotted carpet, a favorite focal point for reviewers. Expect décor that is chic and service that is indulgent. As Boston Magazine put it “Whatever your state of mind when you go in, you’ll feel pampered when you leave.”
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New Jersey native Ken Oringer's career began inauspiciously; washing dishes in a local restaurant as a teen. He caught the kitchen bug, however, and went on to study restaurant management at Bryant College in Rhode Island and then received a degree from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, where he was voted Most Likely to Succeed by his classmates.
After graduation, Oringer's first position was at David Burke's River Café in New York, followed by a pastry chef position at Providence's legendary Al Forno, and sous cheffing under Jean Georges Vongerichten at the Marquis de Lafayette in Boston. Next, he briefly operated Terra Trattoria in Greenwich, Connecticut, which won three stars from The NY Times.
In 1992, Oringer moved to San Francisco and became chef de cuisine at Silks in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. There, his distinctive, Asian-accented style and flair with cutting-edge ingredients began to get noticed. Conde' Nast Traveler magazine listed Silks as "one of the top 20 restaurants in America." Raves followed in Gourmet.
In 1995, Oringer returned to Boston, and won praise for his work at Tosca in suburban Hingham. Within a year, the restaurant was dubbed "Best on the South Shore," and Ken was profiled on CNN. In 1997, he and a partner opened Clio in Boston's Eliot Hotel, with a contemporary French/American menu that married skilled technique with an artful, Asian-inspired approach.
The restaurant's phenomenal success catapulted Oringer's reputation into the stratosphere, and the accolades never stopped. Clio has been a Gourmet magazine Top Table, and has been lauded in most national magazines and daily metropolitan newspapers. Oringer has also appeared on several Food Network shows, as guest, cook and winning contestant. After nominations in 1998 and 1999, he won The James Beard Foundation's Best Chef - Northeast Award in 2001.
Intellectually restless and an enthusiastic traveler, Oringer eventually sought new outlets for his culinary curiosity. In 2002, he opened Uni, an intimate sashimi bar in Back Bay. In 2005, he opened Toro, a Barcelona-inspired tapas bar in Boston's trendy South End. In 2007, he opened La Verdad, an authentic Mexican concept located adjacent to Fenway Park, and lent his name and knowledge to KO Prime, a modern steakhouse in Kimpton's Nine Zero Hotel on Beacon Hill.
Diversification aside, Ken is known to be a hands-on kind of chef who can often be found manning the stove at Clio, procuring farm-raised beef at local farms, mixing margaritas at La Verdad, or creating surprises for the patrons at Uni.