Uncle, chef/owner Tommy Lee's Asian-inspired restaurant in LoHi, hasn't even opened yet -- although it will sometime this week -- and already people are quibbling about how close it is to Bones, which itself was considered a copy of Momofuku when Frank Bonanno opened that restaurant almost four years ago.
But don't cry uncle!
As a fan of this type of food, I am looking forward to giving Uncle a try. I love Momofuku and my curiosity is piqued knowing I might be able to get similar food without having to travel to NYC. As far as it being a rip off of Momofuku; in the Spring 2012 issue of Lucky Peach, in the fantastic Chef Rant section, Chang doesn't seem to mind getting ripped off as long as credit is given where credit is due. Tommy Lee has made no bones (pardon the pun) about where his inspiration has come from for Uncle. I think Chang would probably approve. Chang also gives vast credit to the rip-offs he's had to make over his career in the Momofuku cookbook. I am looking forward to trying Uncle guilt-free, and I wish them luck.
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Is it a crime to take a cue from a successful concept? Will you be visiting Uncle? Post your thoughts below.