When Chef Paul Hargrove worked at Hearth in Manhattan’s East Village, he would drag a wheelbarrow down to the Union Square Farmer’s Market every Wednesday and Saturday, load up on fresh produce and wheel it back to the restaurant. “It sparked an interest in local ingredients,” he says. Today at East Side Showroom, Hargrove has worked to develop a new, tightly-edited menu featuring local products and farm-to-table cuisine, all set in the Showroom’s intimate, vintage-inspired atmosphere. “The place, to me, looks like a French gastropub,” he observes, “and that’s where I try to bridge the food together with the décor of the restaurant.”
The words “forager” and “chef” aren’t normally heard in the same sentence. The first tends to remind us of cavemen, while we imagine the latter in sparkling white toques and coats. However, the pairing is perhaps not so unusual: foragers find the best ingredients, while chefs cook with them. This relationship between forager and chef is a unique one that Trace, the highly-anticipated new restaurant at the W hotel, celebrates: On-staff forager Valerie Broussard seeks the freshest meat, fish, dairy, and produce, all responsibly sourced from Texan farmers, produced by local and regional artisans, or even foraged from Texas and the surrounding region. Chef Paul Hargrove, who has worked in positions at such noted restaurants as Café Boulud and Daniel in New York, subsequently develops his “conscious cuisine” with the best the season has to offer.