ZakPelacio, Chef, Fatty Crab, Fatty Cue, West Village, Upper West Side, Williamsburg, Barbeque, BBQ, Southeast Asian, Chef Recommendation,


Fatty Crab & Fatty ‘Cue - New York City

Q & A with Chef Zak Pelaccio

Q. How is the menu at Fatty 'Cue different from your other restaurants?

A. Fatty ‘Cue is a new concept and an entirely new restaurant. The two things it draws from Fatty Crab and Cabrito [now closed] are the ethos and/or philosophy (casual, rock and roll, high quality local ingredients) and some of the palate, although the palate at ‘Cue is far less “Malay-centric”.

Q. What are your favorite dishes from your restaurants?

A. Usually those that I have not eaten in a while. And whole fish with chili sauce…til I die.

Q. Your Fatty 'Cue partner is pit master Robbie Richter (formerly of Hill Country in Chelsea), what are some of his tricks of the trade?

A. There are no tricks. He is the real deal. Time, dedication and a passion for the meat… that’s what makes a pit master. A few tricks up your sleeves don’t hurt either ;).


Q. Having restaurants in both Manhattan and Brooklyn, do you think there is a different vibe or expectation of customers between the two? 

A. My expectations have adjusted. Now, each morning when I dread going into Manhattan I get to smile and know I can hang out in Brooklyn… at least for part of my day!

As far as customers… that’s a tough call because there is no restaurant like ‘Cue in Manhattan to which we can compare the Brooklyn ‘Cue… in fact, there is no restaurant like ‘Cue anywhere else in the world. I don’t think people know exactly what to make of it. It’s not BBQ as folks know BBQ, it’s not Asian…it’s a true hybrid… real American. It’ll take a while for the public to digest that.

Q. You’ve long sung the praises of the pig, which purveyors do you think deliver outstanding pork?

A. There are great farmers all over the US… I don’t know 1/100 of them. I buy a ton of pork through Patrick Martins of Heritage Foods USA and Bev Eggleston of Eco-Friendly Farms… some other great local sources are Flying Pig Farms, Raven and Boar, Violet Hill Farms, and the beat goes on and on and on….


Q. Do you have to temper your cooking for the American palate and in what way?

A. Yes…because most white people can’t eat the chili.

Q. Are there ingredients you wish you could use more of, but don’t for fear of the dish not selling well?

A. More precisely, there are ingredients I wish I could get… or get of a better quality… or fresher… but there are issues with importing certain raw or fresh products from tropical SEA countries… not to mention the demand for some of the esoteric stuff is so minimal that I’d just have to smuggle it in my suitcase anyway. I am looking forward to the New York-Kuala Lumpur commuter flight.


Q. What is your least favorite new culinary trend and why?

A. I don’t know what’s going on. I am very self-involved…I play a lot of baseball with my kid. I do see quite a few people photographing the food before they eat it and then blogging or tweeting (twittering?) from their dinner tables. I keep forgetting that the Romantic era is, and has been, long gone. I am, however, looking forward to the Orgasmatron.

Q. Do you have a go to knife, gadget or ingredient that you would advise a home cook to stock?

A. Ingredients:

- Fish Sauce and Chili – can’t live without.

- Then all the obvious aromatics, and a lemon, lime or some vinegar.

- A fat of which you are fond.


- A knife

- A decent pan

- A spoon


Q. Is it true you once worked at the Food Network?

A. I wrote scripts for the Food Network when it just launched. I didn’t know what the hell I wanted to do with my life. I still don’t. 


Q. How do you think the popularity of chefs on television has affected the restaurant business?

A. People have to eat… it’s the original entertainment. So why not exploit it. There’s an onslaught of information these days… we all know a little about a lot… and, on any given day we’re all experts on something we recently saw on TV or online.

I told my son, “kids are confident because they know what they know. As you get older, you may not be as bold because you’ve learned how much you don’t know.” He asked me if he could have sprinkles on his ice cream.

A thought…

Maybe people will share meals while chatting on Facebook. Send out invites, light some candles, post a picture of your table and your lap top guest for the evening. Type in: mmm, fresh morels with risotto…does it get any better?

Computer Love by Kraftwerk comes to mind.

I’m too messy to type and eat at the same time.

Q. Who else in your field is doing interesting things that you think should deserve more praise and why?

A. I think anyone who can pull himself out of bed in the morning and go work 10+ hours on his feet deserves a fucking medal, forget the praise… or at least a decent paycheck.



Q. What purveyors inspire your creativity, what product, and why?

A. Nancy MacNamara of Honey Locust Farms – all her herbs – she is so rigorously focused on growing her herbs, lettuces, etc. that, during the season, very little else matters to her. I admire that focus.

The Berry Farm in Chatham New York. These guys moved to upstate NY in the 70s and never looked back. An escapist fantasy. They grow and bring in from farmers all over the state and Mass. It’s a constant source of inspiration.

[See details.]


Q. That won’t break the bank, but has killer food?

A. Zabb Thai on Roosevelt Ave in Queens. It fell off a few years ago, but it’s back!! Melt your face spicy Northeastern Thai food. I’ve been 3 times in the last 2 weeks. I can’t get enough.

[See details.]

Q. Off the beaten track places to eat, that you’d be excited to take an adventurous eater?

A. Tandoori Hut in Jamaica, Queens… fresh, balanced Northern Indian cuisine… it’s a real find.

[See details.]


A. Ben’s and/or Sam’s in Austin… for mutton… best tasting fat there is.

[See details.]


Q. Authentic Malaysian?

A. Laut – I think Kathy Wong is doing a great job!

[See details.]


Q. Outstanding cocktails and why?

A. Shit…I haven’t gone out just for cocktails in a long time…but my guys are telling me that Dram is the jam... around the corner from Fatty ‘Cue in the old Chickenbone space.

[See details.]


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Details of chef Zak Pelaccio’s recommendations on where to eat in Queens, Manhattan, and Austin, Texas.


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- Crispy Pork Belly & Watermelon Salad



BBQ / Southeast Asian

West Village

50 Carmine Street
New York, NY 10014

T: 212.929.5050




Daily: 5pm - 12am


Sat - Sun: 11am - 3:30pm

Late Night

Thu - Sat: 12am - 2am


BBQ / Southeast Asian


91 South 6th Street

Brooklyn, NY 11211 (view map)

T: 718.599.3090



Tue - Sun: 4pm - 12am


Indonesian / Malaysian

West Village

643 Hudson Street

New York, NY 10014 (view map)

T: 212.352.3592



Mon - Wed: 12pm - 12am

Thu - Fri: 12pm - 2am

Sat: 11am - 2am

Sun: 11am - 12am


Indonesian / Malaysian

Upper West Side

2170 Broadway

New York, NY 10024 (view map)

T: 212.496.2722 (make a reservation)




Mon - Fri: 11:30am - 3:30pm; 5pm - 11pm


Thu - Sat: 5pm - 12am


Sat: 11am - 4pm


Sun: 12am to 10am



- Eat With Your Hands [buy it]

Recommended By

- Chef Gabe Thompson (dell’anima, L’Artusi, and Anfora)

- Sommelier Joe Campanale (dell’anima, L’Artusi, and Anfora)


Chef Zak Pelaccio’s recommendations on where to eat in Queens, Manhattan, and Austin, Texas.

Eat With Your Hands

Buy on


Photographs courtesy of Fatty ‘Cue & Find. Eat. Drink.

Q & A


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