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Q&A with Aldea's George Mendes

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: George Mendes, owner and chef of Aldea.

mendes.jpgSo, how’s the restaurant? GM: Just toiling away. Got a fall menu, lunch is new. Getting ready for the new season.

Big changes? GM: We’re heading into some braises and stews. Investigating Portuguese and Spanish recipes. The whole idea is to take rustic, classic recipes and put my twist on them. It’s been a great time.

Lunch has been good? GM: The neighborhood definitely merits lunch. It’s a growth period. We need to hit the neighborhood and find out what the niche is.

Anything on that food cart? GM: It’s definitely in the working stages. It might be an extension of Aldea just outside—we don’t know yet. But it’s a new realm. Can’t just be sardines. It has to be what Aldea is all about.

Have you had any nights out? GM: I went to the Michel Bras dinner at Momofuku – The Four Fucking Dinners. The more exciting thing is that we are bringing Mike Lata from Fig.

Is this an acquisition or more of a guest chef sort of deal? GM: It’s a visit?He is taking over the Aldea kitchen this winter, probably in December.

Any other names yet? GM: I’ve been talking to some people, but I can’t really share the names at this point. I definitely want to invite David Kinch from Manresa. He’ll get a call from me very, very soon. It’s a tight knit community and it’s an opportunity to collaborate with friends. We worked at Arpège in Paris. To stay in touch with people who have the same schooling is important for me. Other than that, Aldea is fucking banging. I’m loving it. Being a restaurant owner is a whole new animal for me.

All NYCWFF 2009 Coverage [~E~]


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