In advance of the October 4 premiere of The Next Iron Chef on the Food Network (9 pm), Eater is staging an elimination tournament with the chefs to determine the best food city. Two chefs a day tell us why their city is tops—and your vote determines which city moves on. Today, Seamus Mullen talks up NYC, and Brad Farmerie praises Pittsburgh.
[Seamus Mullen and Brad Farmerie. Images courtesy The Food Network]
Which city is home in your chef's heart? Ideally, it's the city you grew up in.
SM: New York; it’s my adopted hometown.
What's the first and most essential restaurant stop when you return to that city?
SM: Sushi. When I'm away from New York, I rarely get to have Japanese food (unless I'm in Japan, obviously). I love Soto, Sushi Zen, Yasuda, Kyo Ya.
BF: The original Primanti brothers in the strip district or Tessaro’s for a burger.
What are three other great places in the city that you recommend to friends or visitors, with a few quick words about why?
SM: For refined Italian food, it's hard to get better than Marco Canora—I love Hearth and Insieme. Red Hook ballfields in Brooklyn are a must stop for Mexican and Salvadorean food. It's not exactly in the city, but a Sunday lunch at Blue Hill Stone Barns followed by a walk through the farm is one of the best dining experiences I've had in New York.
BF: PNC Park—probably the best ballpark in the US. Most likely the Pirates will lose but you’ll have a great time anyway. The Andy Warhol museum—even if you think you don’t dig his work you’ll find a lot to love. For food: Umi—good sushi, nice environment. Bonna Terra—have only been there once but had a great meal, and Eleven—the chef has changed since I have last been there but I have heard great things the Original Hotdog Shop (aka the “O”, the “big O”, or “the dirty O”)— fast food favorite. So bad it's good.
What's the dish that represents that city the best?
SM: Pizza—born in Naples, ubiquitous in New York.
Is there a special local ingredient from that city that you still incorporate into your cooking?
SM: Long Island Fluke, Bonito and Razor Clams and Scallops. It always kills me when I'm in Europe and chefs poo-poo the States for not having great ingredients or great food. The fish from our waters is wonderful fish, the Tomatoes from Jersey in August are amazing. We have great products.
BF: A special ingredient called "hard work" is what Pittsburgh is best known for, and I try to incorporate that into every work day.