Yesterday we spoke with Carlos Suarez of Bobo and Rosemary’s about rooftop gardens and his enthusiasm for the West Village. Today we continue the conversation, chatting about what makes New York ideal for a restaurateur, where he eats out, and what he likes to cook at home. We also learn of his aversion to fried pig eyes.
What draws you to New York City as a whole and the restaurant scene here, as opposed to other cities?
There is amazing diversity here. I grew up a bit in London and it’s certainly very cosmopolitan there, but it doesn’t have the same energy. It doesn’t have the concentration of people and intensity that New York has. To balance that intensity and urban excitement with something pastoral like the garden upstairs is something really unique to New York.
What are some of your favorite places to eat out in New York City?
Buvette, Tertulia. I went to Takashi recently, which is amazing. All of these are right here in the neighborhood.
And what is the best meal that you’ve had out recently?
A friend of mine bought some steaks and a leg of lamb at Dickson’s. We were in the countryside and he grilled them. That was just out of control.
You mentioned that one of the inspirations for Bobo was the idea of cultivating an atmosphere similar to having friends over for a meal. What do you serve when you have friends over for a meal?
Risotto. Pasta. Roasts. I love cooking outdoors. Grilling.
Will there be any outdoor cooking here?
Not here. But maybe one day we’ll roast a pig in the Jefferson Market Garden. (Long pause) But if you write that maybe people will freak out and start picketing. Donna from Il Buco used to have an annual pig roast on Bond Street and the neighbors shut it down. Speaking of which, one of the best restaurants I’ve been to recently is Il Buco Alimentari and Justin (Smillie, chef at Alimentari) is right at the top of my list. It’s ridiculous–I’ve had one day off in a few months and that’s where I had dinner. I’ve eaten there more often than probably any restaurant in the past year.
On a more random note, any foods you absolutely will not eat?
I thought I overheard my chef say that he was going to make fried pig eyes. He didn’t say that at all–but we started talking about fried pig eyes. I think he’s eaten them and that is something I would never eat.