Throughout the New York City Food & Wine Festival this weekend, Eater welcomes bloggers, journalists and food world stars to our lounge at the Standard Hotel. As the peeps pass through, we're going to chat them up and spit out the dialogue here in this business, From the Eater Lounge. Right now: fried chicken sensation and Locanda Verde chef Andrew Carmellini.
What do you have going on with the festival? AC: Just did a panel with Kate Krader and Daniel Boulud and Andre Soltner: "Is Fine Dining Dead?" We didn’t really answer the question. I said it was a hybrid.
How does it feel to have Locanda Verde? AC: The whole idea originally was to do a little corner pasta place. It still kind of is, just on a big corner in TriBeca. It’s still evolving. It’s an amazing hotel, a great location. It just needed some love.
So fried chicken won't be back for a while? AC: Fried chicken is DONE.
Wait, isn't it coming back at some point? AC: Well, yeah, it's coming back probably next summer. But that's it for now. It's just one night a week to do something fun in that room. We did it before the fried chicken thing exploded.
What's the deal with the all you can eat pasta dinners? AC: No idea how it's gonna work yet. It's gonna be only in the back. No reservations. We'll come by with a big bowl of pasta as a first course. And then some sort of dessert.
What's the deal with the Cub Room/[Josh] Pickard rumor? Pickard mentioned that he wanted to work with you, but you've got certain restrictions according to your deal with DeNiro, right? AC: Locanda has been a tremendous success, so I'm working on that now. I’ve got a hotel stipulation and another one year thing.
Do you want to open a smaller place? AC: That kind of goes back to that fine dining thing. In a lot of ways it's just as hard to do 60 as it is 300. But yeah, I still want to do a more intimate kind of setting. Don't know if that will be the next one, or the one after that.
What did you think of the Bruni review? AC: I thought it was fair. I think two stars is exactly where we should be. When I was at A Voce, I thought we were sort of on the 2/3 star border, and I really wanted that three. I could have done without the whole overview of my career. Kate Krader threw this party for Bruni when he left [the NYTimes], and I told him. I mean, what I'm doing here is completely different from what I did at Cafe Boulud and A Voce. A lot of the people that come to Locanda wouldn’t have gone to those other spots. So it’s great to reach those people.
You're doing the Meatball Madness event tomorrow? AC: Yeah, if I were smart I'd do the duck meatballs for Bruni, since he's judging and has always loved them. But I'm not going to.
Do you still actually do those? AC: Those will never happen again. That died when I broke up with my partners at A Voce.
You've received your fair share of media attention over the years, but it's fair to say that this year it has sort of exploded. How does that feel? AC: I’ve been doing this for a long time. The media attention I’ve sort of had before, yes, but it's been at other people's restaurants. It doesn’t really change what you do. And this is what I do.
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