An Inside Look at John Fraser's NarcissaBy Michael Endelman | January 27, 2014 By Michael Endelman | January 27, 2014
After four unsuccessful incarnations and several celebrity chef inhabitants, the ground floor restaurant at The Standard East Village Hotel (formerly The Cooper Square hotel) finally has the beautiful, promising restaurant it deserves. Celebrity chefs Govind Armstrong and Scott Connant gave it their best, but with new owner André Balazs at the helm (he took over the hotel two years ago), the space has been gut-renovated and turned into Narcissa, the first new project from chef John Fraser (Dovetail) since his pioneering pop-up What Happens When shut down in 2011.
Named after a cow on Balazs' upstate estate/farm Locusts on Hudson, Narcissa will also truck down produce from the hoteliers property - and that's what really sold Fraser on the project. "It's every chef's dream to be able to control your produce - not just the quality, but the size and the flavor, when you work directly with a farm, you can do that," he says. "It's like going from just loving clothes to being able to design clothes."
Taking a break on the opening night of the restaurant, Fraser walked us through some of his dishes, food that shows off his "California side - more relaxed, less precise and more vegetable focused," than what he's done before. Read on for more.