NYC’s Seaport Food Lab Welcomes Alon Shaya for a Two-Week Residency
The cool thing about the Seaport Food Lab is that people kind of get to experience what we as restaurant reviewers and editors walk into all the time: an experience designed by the chef, the chance to be adventurous, and the opportunity to put blind faith in a chef to send out what he feels is his best work for us to receive with, hopefully, open mouths and eager eyes.
The Food Lab, brought to us by the Lure Group (think Clinton Hall and Slate), opened back on June 19, and it’s a hot ticket—we just got in this past weekend — but fortunately, it will run through October 2017. Located at 203 Front Street in the heart of New York City’s Seaport District — which until recently was known as the South Street Seaport — the eclectic dining space, colored heavily in my spirit color (that peaceful seafoam blue), features a number of “chef’s tables for twelve.”
The rotating concept features chefs from across the U.S. who come in for two-week residencies. The roster includes Paul Kahan, Hugh Acheson, Alon Shaya, Jessica Koslow, Dale Talde, and Wylie Dufresne.
We got to experience the menu of Alon Shaya, who has graced The Daily Meal’s pages countless times and was named one of our Top Chefs of 2015, and whose restaurant, Shaya, won Restaurant of the Year that year, too.
Middle Eastern cuisine was done proud at a feast heavy on the perfectly executed shakshouka, the herbal tomato sauce that cradled eggs and red snapper, and the seasonal fruits that held their own when paired with feta cheese or short rib tagine. The homemade pita goes with many of the dishes, so it’s kept fresh, warm, and available until you can pita no more (the #CarbHangover is real).
Comments from the diners around us ranged from “This is the smoothest hummus I’ve ever eaten” to “Oh my gosh, there’s dessert?” and in between it all Shaya made a humble speech, then approached literally every diner individually to ask how they were enjoying themselves.
Stay tuned: Shaya is releasing a cookbook that’s part adventure memoir, part recipe stunner, documenting his journey cooking in both some of the world’s most prestigious kitchens and in others with no running water.
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