Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi

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…

MC: Cafe Mogador, Marea, The Spotted Pig

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…

Spaghetti Carbonara:

1. Cook the spaghetti.

2. Render bacon.

3. Toss together with black pepper, 1 egg, scallions and grated parmesan cheese.

major food group founders

A menu item favorite from each of your restaurants…

MC:

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

RT:

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.