The guys behind New York’s new food phenom – Charlie Bird – have taken the city by storm. From owners Chef Ryan Hardy and Sommelier Robert Bohr, Charlie Bird is a nod to all things New York – and have we mentioned how awesome the food is? We chatted with these guys on everything culinary, not to mention tricks of the trade, the best menu items, and a quick chicken recipe that you should make tonight…
CHEF RYAN HARDY
From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?
Great espresso and a cornetti in the morning, a giant plate of langoustine crudo and amazing prosciutto for lunch at a sunny spot, followed by a bowl of Spaghetti alle Vongole for dinner. And maybe a late night pizza!
What are your three favorite menu items at Charlie Bird?
Live scallop crudo and oysters, veal pastrami at lunch and chicken at dinner. Delish.
What’s your go-to recipe for eating in? Can you take us through it?
I move fast all the time and need to stay light on my feet, so I love grains and vegetables. I make a lot of plates of vegetables – and I almost always have cooked beans on hand because they are so versatile. I cook stuff like Roasted Radicchio with Walnuts, Pumpkin Agrodolce and a quick Borlotti Soup with escarole.
If you could advise on the perfect smoothie combination, what would be the ingredients?
I don’t make smoothies, but I love green juice! I don’t drink it for anything other than the refreshment of enjoying it. I love anything with chlorophyll.
Your perfect way to make roast chicken…
Once again – I move fast, and who has time for a chicken to roast? So I devised this method to always get the skin crispy, the meat moist and accomplish it in the least amount of time. De-bone the chicken, and cook it spatchcock style, skin down in a pan. Spoon butter and herbs over top until the skin is super crispy, the butter is brown and the bird is cooked – about twenty minutes. Serve with great wine and three great friends.
Your perfect dinner made in under twenty minutes…
Porcini Omelet at 3am, preferably after a night of fun.
The perfect afternoon snack to make and how to make it…
Espresso and toast with sheep’s milk ricotta and honey. It’s all about sourcing the best ingredients.
What are your favorite cities for food? Where do you go in each?
In the same vein as ‘what is the new black’ in fashion, what is ‘the new potato’ (the new thing) in food?
For me? I’m all about fresh, light, seafood based food. I think there is a huge movement away from modernist meals and towards using modern techniques to make classic approaches tastier and more consistent. That said, vegetables are the new black in my book – and I’m the furthest thing from a vegetarian. They are super versatile, add texture and help push flavor. Fortunately, farmers have caught on too and are providing us with better than ever varieties of good green stuff.
If you could choose three iconic dishes you’d advise people to serve at their dream dinner party, what would they be? Why?
Well, it’s their dream, so I don’t exactly know, but I would say go all in. Buy the best ingredients you can afford, and go seasonal. It’s so cliché, but buying whatever is in the markets will yield the best results. All that out of the way, the top three that I cook are, homemade pizza, which takes skill and a hopefully a great outdoor wood-oven – preferably in Puglia! Secondly, roasted suckling pig – nothing impresses more than whole roasted meat. Third – gelato and pignoli. My wife and I travel the world in search of the best gelato – you never go wrong with a stroll after a great meal and a gelato.
See Robert Bohr’s interview on the next page…