There are a lot of things to like about Andrew Carmellini, the chef at A Voce. He has a fancy résumé, but loves peasant cooking; he’s married to a woman who wrote her dissertation on food in Victorian novels; and, recently, he spoke at a press conference about the Red Hook Ball Fields. Latin American food vendors have been operating along the perimeter of a soccer field in Red Hook Park for more than 30 years, and the spot has became a major eating destination on weekends. The city recently announced that it will open the location up to bidders, which could mean the end of the braised goat tacos Carmellini loves so much. “This is the kind of soulful cooking that keeps me intrigued,” he said. But for his own last last meal, it’s back to the ‘burbs.
Are you ready? It’s your last meal— you can go anywhere, have anyone cook for you . . . Well, I think I would have to go with comfort over traveling or anything like that. I’ve done a lot of that, and it’s really great—but for a last meal, I’d have to go back to Ohio.
Where did you grow up? Cleveland—in one of the suburbs, so we had a backyard. I would just want a tomato salad from the garden and a prime, dry-aged steak on the grill, and of course my mom’s lemon meringue pie. Definitely got to have the lemon meringue. I thought of summer, being outside . . . I would invite a bunch of friends and just hang out.
What cut of beef would you have? It would have to be côte de boeuf.
And the tomato salad? Just olive oil, salt and pepper, and basil. All from the garden.
Is your mother Italian? No, she’s Polish. I’m Polish and Italian.
And she was always the cook? Yeah, totally.
What would you drink? If I were gonna go with wine, I think I’d go big. Maybe a 1971 Ridge Monte Bello—stick with something American, you know, keep it real. I’d want to keep the whole thing really simple and delicious.