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Q & A



Contemporary American

134 Reade Street

New York, NY 10013

T: 212.941.9401 (make a reservation)



Mon - Sat: 5pm - 11pm

Sun: 11:30am - 3pm; 5pm - 9pm




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Recommended By

- Chef Amanda Freitag

- Andrew & Anna Hellman of Teroforma


Marc Forgione’s recommendations for mezcals, food purveyors and where to eat, drink and shop in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Puerto Rico.

Restaurant Marc Forgione - Tribeca - New York, NY

Photographs courtesy of Marc Forgione

Q & A with Chef Marc Forgione

Q. Tell us about Restaurant Marc Forgione:

A. We’re a New American restaurant, very sexy as far as ambiance. I hate the term casual fine dining. We’re fine dining in a casual atmosphere, which I think are two completely different things. We don’t lower our standards of service and/or food, but at the same time we don’t have table cloths and you don’t have to wear a suit and tie to come in and eat.

Q. What’s the one dish that always stays on your menu?

A. We actually have a couple of them. We started a pull-out section of the menu, because I like to change the menu as much as possible, but because of these dishes I wasn’t able to. There are five dishes that never change and that is our Hiramasa Tartare, that we serve with Sechuan Buttons; our BBQ Baked Olde Salt Oysters; the Chili Lobster; Halibut en Croute, that we serve with something we call ‘Sauce Proposal’ and our Chicken Under a Brick.

[See recipe.]

Q. What is it about those dishes? Is it that you like to make them or they’re just popular?

A. They all started because I love to make them and then they just ended up becoming popular. Half of my clientele are return guests and if I try and take any of those off, they’ll get very upset with me.

Q. Tell us about the new restaurant that you’re planning on opening:

A. It’s a new concept, it’s more of a collaboration, it’s not me. A good friend of mine, who was my sous chef at BLT, and I want to open up a Laotian restaurant. He is Laotian and I’ve lived with him and tasted his food and been to his parent’s house. To compare it to anything, it’s like Thai. It’s in that realm.

Tips / Advice

Q. You grew up in the restaurant world, what are some tips you learned from your father [chef Larry Forgione] that you live by today?


1. Ingredients first.

Create a dish from an ingredient, don’t make dish and then add an ingredient. If you see a beautiful carrot for example, maybe that will inspire you to make a dish around the carrot and not the other way around.

2. Taste your food.

I know it’s simple and basic, but a lot of people don’t taste their food, they look at it.

3. Don’t be lazy.

Laziness is probably the worse possible thing in this business. If you just spent an hour chopping carrots and you look at them after they’re done and you realize they aren’t right, throw them out and start again. Or take the time to do them right the first time.

4. Be on time to work.

5. Make sure your station is clean before you leave.

It all goes back to not being lazy.

It all comes from the same place -- don’t be lazy, concentrate and take pride in what you do. You follow all those things and things just kinda fall into place in this business.

Q. What would you say is your favorite secret weapon in the kitchen?

A. Microplane -- it’s a great way to finish off anything with a couple of turns of a lemon, a lime, an orange, even garlic on a microplane. There are so many things you can use it for. It has changed a lot of my cooking, since it came out. Just gives you more of an opportunity to use different flavors.

Q. Biggest guilty pleasure food?

A. Cured meats -- I have an addiction to cured meats. I always have a link of dried chorizo, sopressata picante and speck. I gained about fifteen pounds when I was doing Next Iron Chef. So to lose weight, I cut out cured meats and it worked.

Q. Who has been your hardest competitor to date on Iron Chef?

A. Marco Canora -- going head to head with him for ten weeks on Next Iron Chef was crazy. He’s a great chef.

Q. If you had a wish list to compete with anyone in the world, who would you pick?

A. Marco Pierre White -- he is one of my idols and I think he is probably one of the greatest chefs to ever live. I’ve never worked for him or met him, but you want to go against the best, right? To test yourself.



Q. What are the markets you love to shop?

A. I’m very lucky, on Wednesdays and Saturdays it’s the Tribeca Greenmarket.

Union Square Green Market is also great.

Q. What purveyors are you currently using?

A. Pat LaFrieda for my meat.

Browne Trading Company for my fish. You don’t have to worry about the quality of what is coming. I’ll call them up and say I want to do a scallop special this week, can I have some beautiful scallops? I know if he says yes, that I don’t have to check them or worry about them. I know that they are coming and the quality will be there.

Chef’s Garden for petite, cutesy stuff. Like pencil purple asparagus, micro-dandelion greens, beautiful baby butter radishes and stuff like that.

Satur Farms, Manhattan Fruit Exchange, and I have a friend named Dominic who goes to the market to pick stuff up for me.

[See details.]


Q. Where are you eating lately?

A. Despana -- I eat my breakfast at Despana almost once a week. I get a tortilla Serrano. It’s am amazing place. We had a fish wrapped in Serrano ham on the menu here for awhile and I live over there, so I used to stop in there twice a week just to get the Serrano ham for the dish. Now that the dish isn’t on the menu, I still stop over there just to get my breakfast tortilla.

Banh Mi Saigon -- I’m addicted to the number one spicy banh mi. I could eat one everyday for the rest of my life. Every time I go in there I think I’m going to try something different and then I smell it and get the craving for the number one.

[See details.]

Q. How about off  the beaten track places?

A. I only get one or two days off a week, so I try to eat in different places.

I love going to Peasant as much as possible. I love Frank’s cooking, it’s smoky, it’s soulful, and you don’t have to worry about it. You know when you order those sardines out of that oven, that it’s going to be delicious.  The baby octopus with the chilies - I just love it!

Ushiwakamaru-- it’s my favorite for sushi and not everyone knows about that place.

[See details.]

Q. Any restaurants from your travels?



If you can afford it, one of the best meals I’ve had hands down was at Paul Bartolotta’s in the Wynn. It’s just fresh seafood from a chef who is passionate about fresh seafood. Just amazing.

[See details.]


The Lazy Oz -- the food is good, it’s got a cool vibe, good service, and a nice atmosphere.

[See details.]


Q. You used to live in Puerto Rico. Anywhere there?
A. Bebo’s -- don’t get it confused, there are two, one if more commercial and the other is not a tourist place. The one I like is on the side of the road and you walk up and they have pig’s head, stuffed gallbladder and mofongo and you point at the stuff, they throw it on your plate and you sit there and have a good time.

[See details.]


Q. Do you have a favorite local watering hole/cocktail spot and what do you like about it?

A. All the cocktail places in Tribeca -  Ward III, Smith and Mills, Weather Up - we kinda put them on a rotation.

Also Terroir, down in Tribeca, I love going for wine and food. It’s a great place to go to unwind.

[See details.]

Q. Any spirits that you’re currently excited about?

A. We just got introduced to this fantastic new mezcal, Pierde Almas. I love mezcal. I know it’s not for everybody. This one has two different flavors and one has a little bit of anise, believe it or not, and I take a couple of sips of it after eating, instead of grappa. The other one, they finish it after they are done roasting the agave, they put a turkey on top of the chimney, for luck, for the last ten hours. It’s really weird stuff.

[See details.]

Q. What do you love about mezcal in general?

A. I think Mezcal is one of the most unique flavors. It’s smoky, it’s strong, it’s smooth. There is nothing else that tastes like mezcal.

We also carry Del Maguey. I love Ron Cooper’s stuff.

[See details.]


Details of Marc Forgione’s recommendations for mezcals, food purveyors and where to eat, drink and shop in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Puerto Rico.


- Chili Lobster with Texas Toast