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Top Chef Season One's Dave Martin Opens Crave on 42nd

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Dave “I’m not your bitch. Bitch.” Martin is perhaps the most memorable cheftestant from Top Chef Season One, (having inspired his own T-shirt featuring the signature catch phrase.) And recently, but far more quietly, he’s joined the ranks of his former competitor Harold Dieterle in getting behind the stoves in a new NYC restaurant venture. We caught up with Dave last night and got the what's what and who's who this new thing of his.

Eater: What have you been up to since the show ended?

DM: Well I’ve been here in New York since February. I was brought in to open another project that didn’t work out, and I’ve been busy doing a million things, among them teaching at the Culinary Loft in SoHo, etc. Then I got in touch with Marc Murphy at Landmarc and he hooked me up with my latest project.

Eater: So what’s this new place you’ve been working on?

Essentially I was brought in as Executive Chef to revamp failing restaurant TerraVento. The new menu focuses on updated American classics, rustic and simple.

Eater: So Marc Murphy hooked you up with the project?

DM: Yeah, I actually came to Marc because I wanted to work with someone I respect. I even asked him if I could be a server at Landmarc Tribeca because I’d rather do that than be a chef in a kitchen I didn’t want to work in. But then Erica the owner hooked me up with this new project and I came in about five weeks ago. I started phasing out the old menu and phasing mine in. I redid all the wines, I’m changing the décor. It’s going to be a pretty major transformation. We renamed it Crave on 42nd.

Eater: What’s the menu like?

DM: Basically it’s fun, rustic, American Bistro-style dishes. Everything is made from scratch including the cracker bread and focaccia. There’s really something for everyone. By next week we plan to have all new desserts as well. Protein is the focus in the entrees and then we’ve got fun simple sides to go with them, definitely my signature truffle mac n’ cheese, toasted coconut couscous, roasted veggies, etc. In the Spring maybe we’ll add in some ostrich or venison dishes.

Eater: What about the crew? Did you bring in anyone new?

DM: Most of the staff including the servers are the same. I grabbed two new kitchen guys from referrals. So far everything has been going great and I love everyone I’m working with.

Eater: One more question, do you ever hang out with anyone from the show?

DM: Oh yeah, I see Miguel and Cynthia and Lee Anne from time to time, and I see Andrea almost every Friday night. It’s not perfect but you do the best you can to keep in touch with everyone.

Crave on 42nd, 650 W. 42nd St. (11th and 12th Aves.); (212) 564-9588.

· Crave on 42nd, Menu [.pdf]

—Kelly Dobkin

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