Dirty French – the restaurant in The Ludlow Hotel that’s definitely a favorite of ours here at TNP, is from two of our favorite New York restaurateurs – Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi. With the holidays coming up, we sat down with the two for easy Italian recipes, New York must-visit restaurants and what’s on their Netflix right now…
From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?
Rich Torrisi: Homemade kale and beet juice in the morning, then dim sum with lots of dumplings and high-end sushi for dinner.
Mario Carbone: Oatmeal in the morning – keep it healthy – then the rest of my ideal day would be spent with Rich doing those things.
What made you decide to open your first non-Italian concept, Dirty French?
RT: I have a French background and we wanted to mix it up and do something different.
What were your favorite childhood recipes?
RT: Chicken Francese
MC: My Mom’s meatballs
A trend in food/restaurants you’re loving, and a trend in food/restaurants you’re hating…
Both: We’re not into overwritten, confusing menus. We’re loving chefs who are cooking the food of their actual heritage.
Restaurants in NYC you love besides your own…
How does NYC inspire what you do?
Both: It’s the heartbeat of our company.
What ingredient is overrated? Which makes everything better?
MC: Overrated: Fiddlehead ferns. Makes everything better: Calabrian chili oil.
RT: Overrated: Summer truffles. Makes everything better: Chives.
What’s on your playlist right now?
RT: David Bowie, Prince, and Billy Idol.
MC: Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Sam Cooke, and Shangri-La’s.
What’s on your Netflix right now?
MC: House of Cards
RT: Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
A go-to easy Italian recipe in three steps…
1. Cook the spaghetti.
2. Render bacon.
3. Toss together with black pepper, 1 egg, scallions and grated parmesan cheese.
A menu item favorite from each of your restaurants…
Carbone: Scampi alla Scampi
Parm: Eggplant Parm Platter with salad
Torrisi: Rich won’t let me answer that one.
ZZ’s: Beef Carpaccio
Dirty French: Lamb Boulangere
Carbone: Angel Hair AOP
Parm: Fried Calamari
Torrisi: Grilled Arancini
ZZ’s: Clam Ceviche
Dirty French: Duck a L’Orange
Would you ever consider competitive food TV? Why or why not?
MC: No; we don’t compete with food.
RT: It’s a company rule.
What food shows do you love and which do you hate?
MC: I love the original Mario Batali show, with the pull-down map. And I think all food TV is good for the industry.
RT: I love everything Bourdain and anything schticky.
Favorite places to travel for food and why…
MC: Hong Kong (because China Tang is there), Mexico City and Tuscany.
RT: France, Japan and Italy. For me, these are all places where food is one of the most important and revered aspects of the nation’s culture.
A chef you haven’t collaborated with yet that you’d like to…
MC: Victor Arguinzoniz
RT: Marco Pierre White
In the same vein as ‘what is the new black’ in fashion, what’s ‘the new potato’ in the food world?
Both: Fine Dining that is actually fun.
*Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi, photographed at Dirty French in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann.