Over the past few years at at the helm of ABC Kitchen and ABC Cocina’s kitchens, chef Dan Kluger made a name for himself as a kind of poster boy for seasonal, vegetable-driven cuisine that can whip foodies into a frenzy. (If you’ve tried his kabocha squash toast, you’ll completely understand why.)
Now, Kluger is finally stepping out of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s shadow with this first solo restaurant—expected to open in late fall and as-yet unnamed—on Eighth Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, in New York City’s Greenwich Village.
“This is what I’ve been working towards for years,” Kluger says. “I get to do everything that I’ve always wanted to be able to do, from the kitchen to the chairs, lights, plates, uniforms, even the paint colors. Of course, this also means I have to live with my choices, so they better be good.” (We have a feeling that won’t be a problem.)
One of those choices will be to have a kitchen that’s as sustainable as possible. While he won’t have a massive rooftop garden at his disposal like at ABC, Kluger says he’s partnering with local farmers who will dedicate large parts of their crops to filling his restaurant’s needs (therefore giving the farmers security). And you can expect lots of vegetable dishes, including many cooked via a wood-burning grill and oven, a method that will be a cornerstone on the menu.
“I’m also a big believer in sharing what you eat, so I try to cook things that are easily enjoyed by all the guests at a table, not just the person who ordered it,” he says.
And while he won’t reveal specific menu items yet, the overall food philosophy you’ll find reflected, he says, is as simple as it gets. “It has to be seasonal, full of flavor, and exciting to eat.” —Lisa Elaine Held
For more information, visit www.dankluger.com
(Photo: Dan Kluger)