The Red Cat, Chelsea, The Harrison, Tribeca, Jimmy Bradley, Restaurateur, Owner, Chef, The Red Cat Cookbook, J&S Food Hall, Steven Eckler, Bill McDonald

The Red Cat Cookbook

Purchase from: Amazon


When Jimmy Bradley opened up The Red Cat in 1999, the corner of West 23rd and Tenth Avenue seemed a far way to travel for Tempura Green Beans. But people made the pilgrimage. There wasn’t much else around the neighborhood, so dinner was the destination. Ten years later, people still make The Red Cat their destination. The small, American-styled bistro is packed with people of all ages, dressed in everything from a suit to jeans and a t-shirt. And somehow the eclectic nature of the crowd mixes well.  In the aftermath of 9/11, when people sought comfort, they turned to The Red Cat. It was the restaurant version of a warm hug. Hearty, yet clean food in an unpretentious and unassuming atmosphere.

Jimmy Bradley’s second venture, The Harrison, almost never happened. The Tribeca restaurant was slated to open up the second week in September 2001. Just blocks from Ground Zero, with many of the streets still road-blocked, Jimmy and then business partner, Danny Abrams, made the risky move to open up and welcome diners in early October 2001. It paid off. The press applauded their brave decision and the public supported them.


Q. Tell me about J & S Food Hall.

A. It’s a partnership with Steven Eckler, the managing partner of The Red Cat. Bill McDonald (chef at The Red Cat) will be the chef.

It’s going to be clean and contemporary, with some magic threads of  The Red Cat. The cuisine is similar, it’s a riff on contemporary American. Our food has always been rooted in locavore, we just have never made a big deal about it. It will be very contemporary, lots of glass and cement with custom-made furniture. No Red Cat flea market stuff.

Our architects are Fernlund + Logan. They do commercial and residential places, but this is their first restaurant.

Q. What’s the menu going to be?

A. Whatever the **** I feel like making!

Q. The Tempura Green Beans have become a “signature dish” for Red Cat, people crave them.

A. They’re good to have on the menu. They’ve been on since the beginning. They also transcend the seasons. The Zucchini Salad and the Baked Fontina have also stayed on the menu. If you have something specific, it creates return patronage. At The Harrison, I would say it’s the Parmesan Fritters.

Q. What dish or food do you find yourself craving?

A. Fresh Tajarin with butter and truffles (fresh egg noodles from Piedmonte, with a thin noodle shape). I don’t eat truffles in the United States. I save it for my Italy pig-out. Also, Ravioli Veal Agnolotti. They don’t **** around there. Little stuffed pasta, no sauce, they steam it, put in a basket and you eat them with your fingers.

Q. What city, country or region is most exciting to you to travel to for eating and drinking?

A. Italy’s still a favorite. I visit three times a year, since I have family there. In the summer I go for the planting, either to Liguria, Tuscany or Campania- Amalfi. It’s a family holiday and we don’t cook, we go out to restaurants all the time.

In the fall, I go for the wine harvest in Piedmont and to make wine with my cousin Pio Boffa at Pio Cesere.

In the spring, I go back to Piedmont.

I also like going to Annecy, France.  I love going to the farmer’s market there. They’re not stuck on being locavores. They bring fish and tons of produce from all over France. They’re still all local farmers, but from all over the country. Spectacular vegetables, snails, oysters, chicken, butter, and meats. I love the Beaufort Cheese.

Q. Who does Italian well in NYC?

A. Hands down, the best is Pino Luongo -- I love Centolire.

Also, Mario Batali -- I like Del Posto and Babbo.

Michael White and Scott Conant.

Da Umberto is good, but expensive.

I go to Barbuto often.

[See details.]

Q. Which purveyors do you think are providing quality and unusual ingredients these days?

A. Pat LaFrieda -- he has been able to grow his family business and stay current with what the market wants. He also has good relationships with farmers.

Q. Which chefs do you think are pushing the boundaries creatively?

A. Jose Garces. He has four places in Philadelphia. It’s some of the best food I’ve had lately.  The menus are well written, not too overly wordy or playful. The food is well executed, sharp and on point.

Lately, I’ve been trying a few new places. I was really happy with a dinner I had at A Voce. Missy Robbins is there now. Bang up meal.

[See details.]

Q. You could almost be called “The Jimmy Bradley Academy. ”  Many chefs and bartenders who have worked with you went on to open successful restaurants; The Little Owl, Market Table, Perilla, Joseph Leonard... what do you think you are passing down to these guys?

A. Common sense. They had talent, which attracted me to them and visa versa. I always give them a lot of autonomy. You got where you wanted to get, now turn around and give it back.

Q. What’s the least “chefy” thing you like to eat?

A. A slice of pizza.

Q. Where do you go for pizza?

A. Lombardi’s, Franny’s, Don Giovanni.

[See details.]

Q. What’s your least favorite food trend?

A. Fusion. I like clean, unadulterated flavors versus stratification of ethnic flavorings.

Also, mixologists with mustaches. The whole facial hair and little glasses. There is no such thing as a “bar-chef!” I hate ‘em. It’s so one dimensional and way too self important.

Q. Anything else you would like to add?

A. Eat out downtown.


Details of Jimmy Bradley’s recommendations on where to eat around the world.


- Squash Salad with Soft Lettuce and Parmesan




New American


227 10 Avenue

New York, NY 10011

T: 212.242.1122 (make a reservation)



Tue - Sat: 12pm - 2:30pm

Mon - Thu: 5pm - 11pm

Fri - Sat: 5pm - 12pm

Sun: 5pm - 10pm


New American


355 Greenwich Street

New York, NY 10013

T: 212.274.9310 (make a reservation)



Mon - Thu: 5:30pm - 10:30pm

Fri - Sat: 5:30pm - 11pm

Sun: 5pm - 10pm


Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.


Q & A



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