Part one of my interview with Boqueria chef Marc Vidal ran yesterday. Here in part two, the Spanish native divulges favorite ingredients, cooking tips, and a few of his favorite NYC restaurants.
What’s your favorite dish on your menu right now?
On the regular menu, I like the paella a lot.
What’s the most underrated restaurant in New York City?
Manzanilla, Boqueria’s sister restaurant. When it started, the team was trying to learn the city, and they didn’t get a great review. Now they’re getting it, and the food that’s coming out from the kitchen is really nice.
At what local restaurant or bar are you a regular?
I’ve been to Estela twice since it opened, and I’m going again next week. I like to explore, though. I try to find something new every week.
At what New York restaurant do you celebrate a special night out?
Restaurants in Brooklyn. I went to Maison Premiere the other day to have some oysters, and I had a lot of wine. It was fun. It has a great cocktail list. The feeling of the place is amazing.
What’s the most underrated ingredient?
Canned food. In Spain, we have an amazing culture of canned food, and there are some things cost $120 for four ounces. Things like razor clams, mussels, and tuna belly. .
Favorite food-related item to give as a gift?
A good cured meat from Spain.
What are your favorite local purveyors?
Pat LaFrieda. Pierless for fish. Fossil Farms for suckling pig. We buy a lot at the Union Square green market, and we go through different vendors there.
What’s the most underrated kitchen tool?
In our cuisine, we use the mortar and pestle for almost every recipe.
Favorite item in your pantry or walk-in?
Garlic. Saffron. Spanish olive oil. Sherry vinegar. These items are always there. Always.
What one tip would you offer an amateur cook looking to improve his or her cooking?
Improve your knife skills. And taste everything. Taste every single thing. That’s advice for my line cooks, too. Taste all the time.