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From the Eater Lounge: Carlos Suarez

Throughout the Food & Wine Festival this weekend Eater welcomed bloggers, journalists and food world personalities to our lounge, The Eater Lounge, at MILK Studios. As the peeps pass through, we chatted them up and spit out the dialogue here in this business. Today we have some remainders from the Eater Lounge.

2008_10_carlossuarez.jpgBobo has been through many many changes. What are the biggest differences between Bobo today and Bobo three months ago? Well, we've got a new menu downstairs. It's more casual than upstairs, and we take walk-ins. Plus, we've finally tented the garden, so that'll be an area available all winter. Plus, obviously, the chef is new. Patrick Connolly! James Beard winner; he's absolutely great.

Why does Bobo keep changing? Some of this stuff has been in the works for a while, just took time. The den menu, for example, has been in the works since January. Getting it ready has been one of the difficulties we faced [before Chef Connolly came on].

Patrick's experience at Radius really helped us here. There, it was kind of a split kitchen—there was both a fine dining and more casual component, which is more or less what we're trying to do at Bobo.

Plus, in Connolly you've got a guy who really knows how to make a burger, what with the Radius burger winning the 2008 Burger Bash in South Beach.. Yes. The development/thinking on the Bobo burger is all about simplicity, though. Its five key ingredients: a potato roll, gruyere cheese, crispy fried leeks above the meat, house-pickled leeks underneath, and the meat. There's a spice to the meat—it just has a slightly different flavor profile. Plus, we're doing a finer grind on the beef than you usually see. We did 20 dif variations—added pork, pancetta, guanciale, toyed with an egg, different rolls—and this was the one most well received. It's straightforward, not trying to add unnecessary expenses. All familiar flavors.

Everybody is talking about burgers and the economy this weekend. So, what about the economy? Are you seeing any effects? The den, and its lower price point, couldn't have come at a more opportune time. Through that we've created more accessible menu. I think that'll help us alleviate some of the effects that a fine dining restaurant is bound to feel.

Any plans for Bobo 2? Nah, we've got plenty to work on at Bobo. Patrick has been with us since just August 4th. We're two months in, there's still plenty to do.


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