Joey Campanaro’s three New York restaurants — the Little Owl, Market Table, and now Kenmare, the Paul Sevigny and Nur Khan–owned Nolita hotspot that opened last month — run west to east across lower Manhattan. "I get some thinking time in, you know?" says Campanaro of his daily walk from one place to the next. "I’m at each restaurant each day. I start at Little Owl, work my way down to Market Table, and end up at Kenmare." He tends to feed himself from his restaurant kitchens. "We make this gravy with chicken livers and serve it with french fries," he says of Kenmare. "I usually just get out a spoon and eat that like soup." Find out what Campanaro had to eat this week (besides gravy soup) in the latest New York Diet.
Friday, March 26
I started off with a cacciatorini sausage — it’s a dry sausage that my cousin makes. I just slice it and eat it. That was breakfast.
Lunch was six fried meatballs on Italian bread with sea salt and sambal chili paste. I was at the Little Owl.
Dinner Friday night was late night at a club around the corner from Kenmare, Veloce Club. It’s one of Fred Twomey’s restaurants. I walked in there and just ordered every panini on the menu — I took all the cooks from Kenmare there after dinner service. They stay open late, have great paninis, wonderful service, and they let me play my iPod and just take over the joint. I didn’t like the music they were playing, and it was all my cooks — me and eight people — and I was just like, "Let’s put Led Zeppelin on." It was a great time. they make a prosciutto panini with mushrooms, a taleggio panini, a speck panini with apples, and one with, I think, roasted peppers and provolone. I was drinking Stella Artois, but then the bartender brought out this Austrian grappa that was, like, 90 proof — it was really strong, some kind of schnapps thing. It was the perfect digestif. We finished that off.
Saturday, March 27
I started at Market Table and it was really quick. I grabbed one pancake, a piece of bacon — you wrap the pancake around it, kind of like a burrito — and I was eating that while I was walking to Little Owl. I got to Little Owl and had a bacon cheeseburger, and then I didn’t eat anything until late that night because Kenmare was rockin’ busy. At the end of the night, I had the shrimp-and-lobster spaghetti with fra diavolo sauce. I told the guy to make it and went and hung out with the dishwashers. I ate the spaghetti, but I gave those guys the shrimp and lobster.
Sunday, March 28
Sunday was a very decadent morning. I got a call from Jonathan Waxman, he told me to meet him at Minetta Tavern. Sunday brunch at Minetta was decadent. I had, I forget what they call it, it’s oysters with pork sausage [Crépinettes Et Huîtres] — that was amazing. They have a great bread basket there with those little chocolate Bundt cakes in it. And then we had the prime rib with the Yorkshire pudding, and I had a bunch of Bloody Marys — they serve them with poached shrimp. Then I went home and passed out.
When I woke up I ordered Chinese food from Sammy’s on Sixth Avenue and hung out with my wife, Paula. We had pork lo mein, spicy wonton soup, mini egg rolls, and barbecued ribs. I woke up just in time to watch The Pacific and How to Make It in America. Then I went right back to sleep.
Monday, March 29
Breakfast was cold leftover pork lo mein.
I got to Kenmare and the general manager had a pulled-pork sandwich, and I ate half while he wasn’t looking. We were making smoked chicken for this chicken dish. A lot of chicken gets stuck on the sheet pan, so I took a piece of bread and scraped up all the chicken scraps and ate that.
For dinner, after dinner service, I ordered the chicken that’s on the menu — it’s chicken breast that’s served with Parmesan butter beans, smoked chicken confit, and grilled escarole. I drank a bottle of Blaufrankisch, an Austrian red wine.
Tuesday, March 30
I closed Little Owl for lunch to have a staff meeting, and Gustavo — the guy that works in the kitchen, he runs the place when I’m not there — he decided to make food for everybody. He made spaghetti with grilled chicken. After that I went to Market Table and I ate a little bit of the mise en place from all the cooks — beautiful spring ingreds right now, English peas, fava beans, mushrooms, beets, pea shoots, cooked pancetta. What I was looking for was these duck cracklings for the duck soup that Mikey Price used to make. I used to eat those all the time but they’re fuckin’ deadly. I was looking for them but I didn’t find them, because he took them off the menu.
Dinner that night was ramp risotto with truffle and veal sauce at Kenmare.
Wednesday, March 31
I had lunch with Sarah Gore at Little Owl; I had lobster soup and she had sunflower salad, and I ate some of her salad. We just had a quick catch-up meeting — I do consulting for NBC, so we were talking about a project we want to do. After that it was three Tums and a coffee at the Village Tart, and then I got back to Kenmare. Our general manager had brought back a slice of pizza and he left the dirty plate up in the office, but it had all this tomato sauce and cold dried mozzarella stuck to it. So I scraped that off and ate it with some of the paper still stuck to it. A little gross, but what are you gonna do.
My buddy Al Abayan came in — I’ve been cooking for him for like ten years; he started as a customer and we’ve become really great friends. It was his first dinner at Kenmare, so he brought in a bottle of fifteen-year Macallan. When I was finished for the night, I had that same shrimp-lobster spaghetti, and the steak, which is with asparagus risotto.
When I got home from work, I had some of My Grandma’s of New England coffee cake. It’s all that company makes, coffee cake, and it’s the best coffee cake I’ve ever had. My wife and I had a piece with a glass of milk, and I went to sleep.