Is Govind Armstrong Worried Enough About New York?

Are you sure you want to leave those sunny shores, Govind?Photo courtesy of Table 8

When top out-of-town chefs move to New York, its always a crapshoot. Some, like Fort Worths Tim Love, come in conspicuously and wash out; others, like Atlantas Sotohiro Kosugi, now at Soto, come in under the radar but quickly grab our attention. L.A.s Govind Armstrong doesnt expect much of a problem: The ultra-laid-back chef made South Beach his own and expects New York to treat him equally well. A lot of New Yorkers come down here to Miami, and Ive been coming up there forever, so I have a lot of friends to support me, he tells us. Im not trying to reinvent the way New Yorkers eat. But I cant not grow, you know?

How has Govind canvassed the city he hopes to conquer? I went to Fatty Crab I had a sous-vide chicken thigh that was pretty phenomenal. Also some awesome charred-squid salad. Armstrong says he does frequent drop-ins at the Spotted Pig, Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison, Pastis, and Kittichai, but lots of affluent out-of-towners stop in those places. If Armstrong is going to make a go of his light, understated California-style cooking, we think he ought to emulate some of the edgier places around town. Take a page out of Fatty Crab or Ssms book, Govind. Get aggressive! New York will love your salt-crusted porterhouse, but most of your organic, locally sourced California food, lovely as it is, will not set you apart from your rivals.