He’s in a New York state of mind. When it comes to dining, there’s no greater place than New York City.
“You can get any type of cuisine at any time. From dim sum early on a Saturday morning to chicken over rice from a halal stand late at night, we have it all,” chef Marc Forgione, the mastermind behind countless eateries in the Big Apple, exclusively tells Us Weekly.
“The restaurant I’m a partner at, Khe-Yo, was actually the first Laotian restaurant to open up in NYC,” he adds. “I have people tell me all the time how much they love it, and there’s nothing else like it in the city.”
Forgione recently sat down at his newly revived Italian hotspot, One Fifth, in Greenwich Village to chat with chef Judy Joo about food, family and his favorite treats.
Judy Joo: You opened One Fifth last summer in a building with nearly 100 years of history. How did that inspire the decor and menu?
Forgione: Decor-wise, we gave the space a face-lift but kept a lot of the key elements the same, like the marble bar, high tops in the bar, the art deco floor. For the menu, we took inspiration from being so close to Union Square Greenmarket. So it’s Italian but with a local, seasonal focus.
Joo: You started your career at 16, joining your dad, Larry Forgione, at his restaurant An American Place. Do you enjoy teaming up with family?
Marc Forgione: I’m actually working with my dad now at One Fifth! He spent years developing the pinsa dough recipe we have, and now he’s our consulting chef.
Joo: In 2010, at age 31, you won The Next Iron Chef and became the youngest champ in the show’s history. What was that like?
Forgione: I went on hoping it would help get more people to eat at my restaurant! That was a way to introduce what we did back then.
Joo: It was a different time! What do you think the most overrated food trend is right now?
Forgione: Copying dishes based on Instagram.
Joo: Back to NYC, there’s nothing better than enjoying a good meal and catching a Broadway show. What’s your favorite concession stand snack?
Joo: What about your favorite ice cream flavor?
Forgione: Hazelnut. The first time I tasted it, I was backpacking through Europe. I think my eyes literally rolled into the back of my head.
Ingredients for scampi butter with Calabrian chili paste:
- 1lb unsalted butter
- 9 garlic cloves, rough chop
- 1 cup parsley leaf, picked and rough chopped
- 1 ½ tbsp Calabrian chili paste
- 1 lemon, zest only
Ingredients for dish:
- 16 oz spaghetti (“We use homemade spaghetti using house smoked flour, but at home we recommend just using a really high-quality dried spaghetti,” Forgione says.)
- 8 Manilla clams
- 4 razor clams
- 8 littleneck clams
- scampi butter with Calabrian chili paste
- ½ cup white wine
- chopped parsley, lemon wedges and red pepper flakes, for garnish
Instructions for scampi butter with Calabrian chili paste:
1. Combine everything in a food processor and blend until everything is mixed and bright green.
Instructions for dish:
1. Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions
2. Place clams in a sauté pan with 4 tbsp scampi butter, white wine and ¼ cup water. Cover and cook till clams open.
3. Take out littleneck clams, remove meat and chop. Add clam meat back to pan.
4. Once pasta is cooked add to pan and toss in the pan for 1 minute in the pan to marry flavors.
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5. Divide among four pasta bowls and garnish with chopped parsley, a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of red pepper flakes.